August 8

Replace Republican Politicians Who Don’t Perform

Are you satisfied with the way our mainly republican politicians run our railways,our electricity providers, our water boards, our police forces and our hospitals ?

A novel suggestion in the UK is that Prince Charles should run the National Health Service!

This is because Prince Charles runs his personal property extraordinarily well. Environmentally sensitive, he pays his taxes and still manages to turn out a handsome surplus.

And he has found the time and the resources to raise -just in one year- the equivalent of nearly a quarter of a billion Australian dollars for his very worthwhile charities.

Isn’t it time MPs were more scrutinised, asked Alice Thompson in the London Daily Telegraph of 29 July, 2005:

Under the headline, PERHAPS PRINCE CHARLES SHOULD RUN THE NHS,(the National Health Service) she wrote:

“They are off on another three-month holiday, their pensions are among the best in Britain, they receive generous petrol allowances, first-class tickets to their constituencies, subsidised canteen food and second homes, free central London parking, and, in the case of the Prime Minister, wonderful holidays from Italy to the Bahamas."

"If the House of Commons were a business, they’d cut the number of MPs in half, increase the sitting hours and slash their expenses. “

But instead, she says, it’s the Prince of Wales again!

“The Public Accounts Committee has been auditing the Duchy of Cornwall."

"They are appalled that the Prince of Wales seems to have been managing his affairs so well. The revenue from the estate has almost doubled from £6.9 million in 1999, to £13.2 million in the last published accounts."

" So why do they want the Prince to step down from running the duchy? “

And as she points out, the estate is not a public company, nor the property of the politicians.

It was created by Edward III in 1337 with the specific aim of securing financial independence for his son. It’s more like a family trust.

Prince Charles receives no income from the British Civil List, he pays 40 pence in the pound tax, and he funds everything, except his official travel arrangements. And he uses some of his revenue to run his charities.

As Alice Thompson says,”… if Prince Charles were a playboy prince who had let the duchy run to rack and ruin he would have been fair game. If he suddenly starts spending his inheritance on gambling, then the Chancellor and the MPs should get involved."

"But the Chancellor has made it clear this week that he has no gripes, and the Prince of Wales is looking far more hardworking than many MPs.”

We could say the same of some of our republican politicians.

In the meantime, Andrew West has explained why he, a republican, voted No in 1999.

Mr. West is the biographer of the former NSW premier, Mr Bob Carr. His piece “Revisiting the republic” (23 March 2005) can be found on the New Matilda site.

Among the reasons he gives is this one:

“I even had a soft spot for Prince Charles, who in the 1960s, as a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, tried to join the university Labour Club (when Labour had ‘Clause Four’ on nationalisation), until the former Tory cabinet minister R. A. Butler warned against it.”

Until next time,

David Flint


Alice Thompson, Andrew West, Duchy of Cornwall, National Health Service, NHS, Prince Charles

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