On a visit to Germany, Prince Charles has been presented with an award for his work in sustainable development. As we noted here on 5 April, and in an earlier column (25/3) mentioning reaction to his recent South American visit, Prince Charles is a respected international statesman who plays a leading role in environmental matters, bringing different faiths together, and in practical aid for the disadvantaged.
It was interesting that in their evidence to the Senate hearings on the Plebiscite for an Australian Republic Bill (29/9) two republicans appearing in the last session discounted completely the official republican dream that their cause will become popular when the Prince ascends the throne.
Some republicans still think a politicians' republic is going to fall into their laps. If they don't or can't tell the people what they want no one will take them seriously.
In this context remember that the Prince, as with other members of the Royal Family, is the target of a lazy abuse of journalistic privilege by sections of the British press. I call this “ caricature journalism.”
This involves drawing a caricature of the target and then making a succession of items of “ shock” news fit into that usually by exaggeration or even invention. It involves ignoring totally the achievements of the person. This is then relayed around the world, and taken up by local media including the broadcast news. The correction, if it is published at all, is usually low key.
Of course this inflicts damage, which is the intention of these scoundrels.
…the German visit….
In any event the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall were at the conclusion of a visit to Germany where once again the Prince has demonstrated his concerns in all of these areas.
After being received at the Bellevue Palace by Horst Kohler, President of the Federal Republic of Germany the Prince and The Duchess went to Katzback Stadium to watch two football matches, including the Imams vs Clergy match instituted by a British born vicar who started the matches in the wake of the London July 7th terror attacks in 2005.
"Having Prince Charles here will really put us on the map," he said."It's a great honour to have him here."
After other engagements about youth engagement and the Princes Trust, the Prince and the Duchess attended a reception and dinner at the German Historical Museum, where Prince Charles accepted the German Sustainability Award 2008.
In choosing the Prince, the jury of internationally renowned experts had placed particular emphasis on environment and climate-related commitment and sought to identify high-profile role models.
In his keynote speech which began and ended in German, The Prince said: "I particularly wanted to be here with you in person because, if I may say so, Germany is a remarkable country, not least because of the important environmental leadership that you have shown over the last thirty years.
"In many ways I cannot help wondering if I should not be giving you this award." He went on to say that climate change was "undoubtedly the greatest challenge of our age".
The Prince added:
"It seems to me that the German example demonstrates admirably how there need not be a choice between on the one hand protecting our planet's life support systems and, on the other, creating jobs and securing the kind of innovative, balanced economic development that reflects the urgent need to live off income rather than nature's rapidly depleting capital."
….the Prince and climate change…
As we have said in this column whenever the issue arises, climate change theory is outside of the remit of ACM.
But we could not help noticing this ad hominem attack on the Prince in The Australian's Cut and Paste column (1/5):
“Brendan O'Neill, in National Review online, on plans by Prince Charles to write a book on climate change (writes) :
“ The thought of being lectured about living more meekly by a taxpayer-subsidised prince who has never done a proper day's work in his life – and who is flying around Europe on a private jet with a master suite and plush bathroom that will spew a whopping 53 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over the course of his five-day, $US116,000 ($158,000) charter – is of course eye-swivellingly irritating.”
Mr O’Neill should check the facts on his first two assertions which come from the shoddy work of certain British caricature journalists.
First, most of the Prince’s income is from his own resources, the Duchy of Cornwall estate on which he voluntarily pays tax. Most of the remainder is used to support his charitable activities, for which he also personally raises about a quarter of a billion Australians dollars not once but each year.
Of course there are specific government "grants in aid" but these are to fund state activities undertaken by the Prince, not to subsidise him.
Second, the Prince is hard working – very much so.
At 60 he could be retired. But from his naval career to his many activities he has his days have been filled.
His achievements are testimony to that, and a glance at his appointment’s diary would provide more than sufficient supporting evidence.
Criticise the Prince for his views if you wish Mr. O'Neill but be fair. Don't recycle caricature journalism.