January 28

Spurned by the Sydney Republican Herald, Prince Charles wins farmer, environmental, union plaudits


Lazy republicans here think all they have to say is “Prince Charles” and Australians will say “Give us a republic”.

Haven’t they learned their lesson?

They were shown to be hopelessly wrong –hopelessly-over the wedding which was going to propel them into a referendum. Instead, record numbers sat up on Saturday night to watch. We know that the republican movement claims the wedding resulted in vastly increased membership. Strange then, that they never published the details.

We have for long been pointing out that at an age when most baby boomers are thinking of retirement, our Prince has been working hard to raise vast sums -about a quarter of a billion dollars just last year – for some very worthwhile causes.

The Prince is closer to the thinking of the rank and file than your usual elite. He does not like ghastly, ugly architecture, and he prefers the traditional liturgy. And he has been a pioneer in farming

The delightfully named British journalist, Cherry Ripe’s radio documentary on Prince Charles’ Duchy Home Farm will be broadcast on ABC Radio National’s Big Ideas on 29 January 2006 , Sunday at 5pm. There is a report about in The Weekend Australian, 28-29 January, 2006, “Royal Blue Turns to Green”, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,17956205%255E28737,00.html

Prince Charles actually adopted organic farming two decades ago on his organic Duchy Home Farm at Highgrove in Gloucestershire. He has put his traditional farming ideas- no fertilisers or pesticides and other chemicals, and no antibiotics- into practice in a way that is now paying for itself.

He gradually converted about 500ha of stony Cotswold land after he had settled at Highgrove. He hired a novice in these old ways of agriculture, David Wilson, to run the place. Organic techniques – the raising of crops and animals without the use of fertilisers or pesticides and other chemicals, and mostly without antibiotics – were seen then as health-related and expensive but have become viewed as a survival path for smaller farms, and a way of keeping farming families on the land.

Cherry Ripe reports that he has won the support not only of environmentalists and the health conscious, but also the farmers and the trade unions who see the increased number of workers necessary to produce these healthy crops.

So listen to ABC Radio National, tomorrow, 29 January at 5PM, Australian Eastern Summer Time. I think this is delayed in other time zones, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, and will be heard at 5PM, or 1700 hours local time. Just check your newspapers for the time of that ABC regular, “Big Ideas”.

In the meantime, you will no doubt recall that Gerard Henderson misread the Newpoll findings about the impact of the succession of the Prince on support for a republic in his weekly piece in The Sydney Morning Herald ( or is that The Sydney Republican Herald?) on 23 January 2006. He did this by increasing the finding by a mere 14%, and then happily concluded on these faux figures, that Prince Charles was the “long term problem” for those who support our existing constitution.

Then his editor , on Australia Day itself , rather than correcting Henderson’s monumental error which Newspoll had told Dr Henderson about, chose to repeat that very tired old mantra that Prince Charles is good for the republicans.

Admitting that this might be “cruel and unfair” to the Prince and the Duchess, the editor did not think of seeking to correct this, but observed with a froideur that the republican Robespierre himself might have envied :” But that is politics”

The editor then made the rallying call:” Republicans must be ready..”

Ready for what, Mr Editor? Ready to spread untrue reports about opinion polls?

The fact is, republicans will soon be dreaming about having someone on their side who is anything like our so-called “long term problem”

So with the many around the world, whose lives have been changed by his charities , or who see his pioneering work indicating precisely where we should be going, we say heartily:

” God Bless the Prince of Wales!”

Until next time,

David Flint

Link to report in The Australian


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