Features

As a republican, I used to look forward to Charles III. Now I’m scared

The Prince of Wales has shown himself too vain to accept the limits of constitutional monarchy

31 January 2015

9:00 AM

31 January 2015

9:00 AM

When republicans meet, we console ourselves with the thought that our apparently doomed cause will revive. The hereditary principle guarantees that eventually a dangerous fool will accede to a position he could never have attained by merit, we chortle. With Charles III, we have just the fool we need.

I don’t laugh any more. Britain faces massive difficulties. It can do without an unnecessary crisis brought by a superstitious and vindictive princeling who is too vain to accept the limits of constitutional monarchy.

If you want a true measure of the man, buy Edzard Ernst’s memoir A Scientist in Wonderland, which the Imprint Academic press have just released. It would be worth reading if the professor had never been the victim of a royal vendetta. Ernst describes growing up in post-war Bavaria, and realising that men who had committed unthinkable crimes were all around him. When his stepfather persisted too long in criticising the laziness of the young generation, Ernst burst out: ‘Isn’t it lucky that we are not as well-organised and efficient as you? We will never manage the logistics of gassing six million Jews.’

He worked in a German homeopathic hospital, and found its directors believed the pseudoscience could accomplish nothing beyond placebo effects. They knew that Samuel Hahnemann’s theory that ‘like cures like’ made no sense. Onions make you cry, but that does not mean onions can cure hay fever just because it also makes you cry, particularly when a homeopath dilutes a trace of onion so thoroughly not one oniony molecule remains in the ‘medicine’.

Ernst came to Britain, fleeing the hierarchical stuffiness of the West German medical system of the 1970s. By then it was already clear that he had no time for quackery in its medical, social and political guises. If they ever met, Prince Charles was bound to hate him.


In 1992, Ernst decided on a career change that mystified his colleagues. He had published more than a thousand papers, and received 14 medical prizes. Instead of taking a prestigious academic post, he applied for an obscure professorship at Exeter University so that he could investigate the safety and effectiveness of alternative medicines.

His decision was not so surprising. Ernst’s specialism was the rehabilitation of patients. He noticed that his colleagues would send their charges off for spinal manipulation, acupuncture and massage therapy when they had no evidence to justify the treatments. You only have to look in a chemist to see why he was interested. Alternative therapy is a huge business, worth $1.6 billion in Britain and $100 billion worldwide. But glance at its products, and you will never see independent assessments of a treatment’s efficacy or dangers.

Ernst and his team of researchers displayed great ingenuity in designing random-ised clinical trials, which were imitated in research centres around the world. They found that chiropractic manipulation of the spine was dangerous in itself — we should ban it. Meanwhile homeopathic remedies, spiritual or distance healing and acupuncture had no medical benefits beyond placebo effects.

From the start, Ernst experienced the hostility of therapists, who responded to criticism with the ferocity of Scientologists. He concluded that they thrived in a wider British culture that ‘was curiously indifferent to the concept of truth’.

Inevitably, Prince Charles raged the loudest. Few supporters of monarchy understand that the Prince’s views are almost medieval in their obscurity. His published writings show that in the dispute between Galileo and the papacy, our future sovereign is on the side of the papacy and against the scientific method, and remains on the papacy’s side four centuries after the event and long after the church has conceded defeat.

After Prince Charles promoted a diet that recommended curing cancer with coffee enemas, Professor Michael Baum told him: ‘The power of my authority comes with a knowledge built on 40 years of study and 25 years of active involvement in cancer. Your power and authority rest on an accident of birth. I do beg you to exercise your power with extreme caution when advising patients with life-threatening diseases to embrace unproven therapies.’

No chance of that, as Ernst found out. He warned that the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health was promoting treatments without assessing their effectiveness. He told the Prince’s Duchy Originals business that it was passing off bogus herbal remedies as reputable treatments. When the Prince persuaded an economist without medical training to produce a report urging the NHS to save billions by adopting quack remedies, the Times obtained an early draft. Ernst told its reporter that the Prince was peddling misleading information and ‘overstepping his constitutional role’.

The Prince’s private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, disgraced himself and the traditions of free debate in this country by demanding that Exeter University discipline Ernst. After a 13-month investigation, Exeter found no evidence to justify Peat’s charges, but royal displeasure was enough to cow its servile administrators. Ernst had made Exeter an internationally acclaimed centre of medical research. No matter. First they limited his contacts with the press, and then they stopped raising funds for his centre. Ernst left, and without funding his team disbanded. Exeter University returned to the comfort of being a mediocre home for failed Oxbridge candidates, and Britain lost its only centre for evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the ‘cures’ that cranks and hucksters push at the public. All because of a prince who lacks a well-rounded adult’s ability to learn his own limitations as well as the limitations of monarchical power.

As the reign of Charles III approaches, it is the duty of monarchists to tackle him. The hereditary principle is their system. Prince Charles is their problem. At the very least, they should insist on Parliament defining where a royal can intervene in politics and public life. If they had any sense — and I doubt that all of them do — they would insist on the crown skipping a generation. They must surely have seen enough by now. They must surely know that a King Charles III will be nothing but trouble.

Nick Cohen is a columnist for the Observer and the author, most recently, of You Can’t Read This Book.

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Show comments
  • Sean Grainger

    A long time ago I stood next to Charlie and chums in the Gipfel Nord cable car. Short trip but enough for him to reveal he is thick as two short planks. (Despite his execrable skiing style they were going off to do Direttissima.) Not being bright is okay in a monarch as long as he keeps his bloody trap shut.

    • rtj1211

      He clearly got down somehow or other. ‘Technique that works is good technique’ is something that that appalling slicer of a golf ball, Lee Trevino, used to murmur from time to time….

  • What about him calling Putin a nazi!! Is it any wonder Diana looked elsewhere for kicks

    • PouringForth

      Well Putin is a nazi. What’s your point?

      • Really? And what exactly makes him a nazi?

        • Ed

          Gassing a lot of Chechens?

          • Have you got evidence of Russian extermination of Chechens in gas chambers? Never heard of that

      • Putin is not warm and cuddly but to copmpare hime with the most despicable rgeime in modern history is not just wrong but an insult to Nazi victims.

        • André Andretta

          Well, trying to annex countries by the dozen in eastern Europe is a pretty nazi-esque behaviour in my list…

      • rtj1211

        NO he is not. He has exactly the attitudes to homosexuals that Brits in the 1930s had. No-one called Baldwin, Chamberlain and Churchill nazis, did they?

        He is not the one constantly siting military bases on NATO’s borders, is he?? It is entirely the other way around.

        His country has exactly the same sorts of mafias that the USA has, its just that we’re not allowed to talk about that.

        His country kills far fewer foreigners than the US/UK axis. Far fewer.

        He has no concentration camps and he doesn’t put badges on Jews to identify them.

  • Diggery Whiggery

    Monarchist here but even I recognize that Charles is unsuitable as a constitutional monarch. I actually agree with some of his views on general conservation, but his mindless rush to join the AGW cause and politicize himself is positively suicidal.

    Abdication is the only solution I’m afraid.

    • John

      Not sure if Charlie was waiting for the nod of Diggery Whiggery

      • Diggery Whiggery

        Surely not.

    • dalai guevara

      Dear Monarchists,

      you really need to make up your minds. The time has now come. Your future King has delivered yet another speech of wide-reaching consequence. It is published below, please do take your time to take note.

      http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/news-and-diary/11389/speech

      Now, you can all choose to ignore the man, again, pretend you did not read this, pretend he did not matter, pretend he and his family had no influence on either politics or business, pretend you could kid us, all whilst secretly cosying up to him and his brothers to finalise the deals on the next lucrative contract. It’s kind of really delusionary Greek, all that. You think you had a chance to negotiate your way out of your position of selective reasoning?

      Either you are (future) King’s men or you are not. Have some moral principles, for Pete’s sake.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        What are you gibbering about? I’m not pretending any of those things. I just know that on balance I prefer an imperfect constitutional monarchy to a far from perfect republic. Republicanism is not the answer and never has been. All republics fail eventually and always have. Don’t believe me, then ask the French, they’re on their fifth stab at it and many want to sweep it away and try again.

        • litesp33d

          “I prefer an imperfect constitutional monarchy to a far from perfect republic”

          This surely is a strawman argument. Just because humans are trying to get Republic to work and failing you prefer to be ruled by someone who turned up because one of his dads sperm was less deformed than the rest. Failure is the route to success!. Interbreeding is the route to insanity.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            No, a straw man argument is taking someone’s position and misrepresenting it in order to make it easier to discredit.

            “I prefer an imperfect constitutional monarchy to a far from perfect republic”

            That’s called expressing an opinion. France was the most optimistic example I could think of. Most other republics have fallen under the boot of totalitarianism at one time or another. France is one of the better examples from your point of view I would think, yet even the French call their system “une monarchie republicaine”

            As for insanity:

            “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”, who said that?

            Constitutional monarchy works because it recognizes the benefits of democracy but admits the drawbacks and tries to navigate a path between them. As long as the monarch remains politically neutral in public, it works very well. The reason I have a problem with Charles is that he hasn’t understood this and so he must be kicked sideways.

            Replacing a monarch with an elected head of state is no panacea. A political president as the symbol of the state is necessarily divisive, while a more ceremonial president like in Germany offends and inspires no-one in equal measure. It’s the worst of all worlds.

          • dalai guevara

            That is clear nonsense. Either your Head of State represents you or he/she does not.

            What catalogue of values do you apply when determining who represents you? That is precisely the question, nothing else.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Government should be representative but don’t confuse that with the head of state. The figurehead of the state as a whole (not the government) should be the embodiment of that state but cannot politically represent everyone unless everyone votes for the same person. The only way of getting round this is to have a politically neutral HOS, representing everyone figuratively but not politically. The German model has an apolitical/ceremonial president and talk to any German to discover how anonymous and irrelevant they find him. They like it that way due to their history, but I don’t.

            Applying a “catalogue of values” to determine who represents you is to choose the politics of that representation and to do so is by definition divisive. Government based on politics chosen democratically is a good thing, as it is after all “the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

            The head of state is not and should not be considered in the same terms.

          • dalai guevara

            Very few commentators will describe Joachim Gauck as ‘irrelevant’. If you had criticised the process of appointing the German HoS then you might have had a point but you didn’t.

            What you did say is that a Monarch as a HoS only represents the system, i.e. himself as a representative of the Constitutional Monarchy. This is of course a circular argument without cause.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Quote please.

            As for the German president, I was talking about the position not the personality. You seem to have trouble with separating those two concepts. A problem common in republicans.

          • dalai guevara

            “The figurehead of the state as a whole (not the government) should be the embodiment of that state”

          • Grace Ironwood

            Really, it doesn’t matter if she’s chosen by lottery, She’s there to fulfill a constitutional role, hedged about with the law, parliament and cabinet so she has no power to govern.

            The British Royal Family functions as unifying head of state for all citizens of the state at a level beyond the factions contesting for political power. Monarchy pertains to the Nation, not the Goverment.

            That’s why Charles would scandalise the office: he cannot embody the state if he acts on the level of politics.

          • dalai guevara

            Charles III is a revolutionary.
            His position on AGW is not a political position, it is a *religious* position as the right wing Denialingpologists keep telling us. Your words!

            — Climate change is a religion —

          • Grace Ironwood

            Wrong gal, dalai, I’ve never uttered those words.

          • Damian Hurts

            No one ever uttered those words.
            It’s a figment of your imagination!

          • Llamedos2

            At the end of the day, our opinion does not matter. I personally, totally dislike both Charles and Wills and just cannot see any relevance in their role. Neither of them will make a good monarch. It is time for change.

          • Phil TGeek

            “The British Royal Family functions as unifying head of state “.

            It doesn’t.

            Look at Scotland – 45% want independence.

            Look at N. Ireland where the monarchy has been virtually excluded from public life as part of the deal to end 30 years of near civil war.

            Even the Welsh are starting to make loud noises.

          • Thomtids

            If I might interject. As a lawyer, seriously, one of my areas of academic learning concerned our Constitution. The premise of our “Constitutional Monarchy” is not in what they are entitled to do (very little!) without consent but What they prevent others from doing by occupying their position in the hierarchical structure. When Republicans begin to chunter about Presidents, most are “Executive” and imbued with real power.
            One only needs to say “Mugabe” to appreciate why centralising power is not a good idea. No Republican can criticise our present Monarch, nor her father for any undue influence.
            I do, unfortunately, agree that Prince Charles (who has yet to choose his Regnal “Style”,
            He might be a Henry IX, or Louis I……he sure as Hell will not become Charles III), has a bad record for interfering and having read the speech he has made, strikes me as a man who is going to find the restrictions of a Constitutional Role unsustainable. It is likely, though, given he allies himself with The Green Bowel Movement, that the three historical Parties will accept his occasional lapses as long as he stays on-side.
            Ultimately, it matters not whether one has a President or hereditary Monarch, the role relies upon their willingness to observe and maintain our Constitution – not something our present politicians exhibit much interest in doing.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Well said.

          • Wessex Man

            Very well said.

          • Damian Hurts

            I fail to see your point. The willingness to observe and maintain (our) Constitution, as you put it, affects every single nation state on this planet. It affects every state in Europe. There are currently 12 sovereign monarchies in Europe.

            Are you telling us all 12 have ‘betrayed’ their constitution to form another multinational body with far larger economic and social power? Of course they have!

            Exit the EU now.

          • Thomtids

            I entirely agree with your conclusion concerning the purported surrender of Regnal Freedom by executing the Treaty of Accession.
            We were discussing the comparative merits of Our Royal Family and a monarchical Head of State against an elected President.
            I wholly concur that we were misled into the Referendum by outright lies.
            Apart from which NO parliament may purport to restrict the freedom of its successors. It does not require a referendum to give notice under the Treaty, or no notice.
            We should withdraw now. OK!

          • Llamedos2

            Thomantids – far be it for me to argue with a lawyer – but I prefer a Rupublic by virtue of the fact that We, the People, can vote for the person (President) to represent us and that this person will have a contractural time in the job. If Charles or Wills gets the job we will never get them out, and they will continue to do what they do at the moment – i.e. entirely what they want to do and when !! And yes, as you say the monarchy’s function is to be a barrier to governmental excesses. But you mention ‘the Consitutiion’. Please tell me if I am wrong, but I understood that there is no ‘written constitution’ as such, but that that it the “Laws of the Land'” i.e. those Laws laid down by the Law Lords – is that still correct?

          • Thomtids

            Responding to your last point first, the “unwritten Constitution”. That is so. It is not correct that that is so because it is “Laws of the Land” ( you probably intend to use the term “Common Law” ie to be found in judgments of the Courts (nor just the “old” House of Lords

          • Llamedos2

            Thank you Thomtids. It sounds a bit of a legal minefield. I understand what you say. I wish our politicians were honest and looked more to the people, and worked for our benefit rather than their own. Ca’moron and BLiar – the worse PM’s we have had – and now Parliament seems out of control!

          • Phil TGeek

            Any argument that includes comparing an advanced western democracy to Mugabe has to be bankrupt.

          • Thomtids

            Trite. Seeing that our Mandarinate had a major influence in the appointment of Mugabe, a murderous Marxist with a taste for rich living and Palaces, and our present Prime Minister, who is wrapped in the Flag of Toryism whilst paying his annual subscriptions to the Fabian Party from his Daddy’s Account at Coutt’s & Co.
            It might be considered a bizarre situation where the PM is personally responsible for forcing through Parliament measures to create the myth of homosexual “marriage” and thus undermining several thousand years of civilisation’s approach to interpersonal relationships and the entire Judaeo-Christian teachings about Marriage, but can only do so with the voting support of the Opposition but whom exempts our Established Church from conducting the requisite Ceremonies.
            It would seem to me that there is a high degree of correlation between the the two “Rulers” and to suggest that just a little too much power has been given to Cameron for this Country’s best interests.

          • ScaryBiscuits

            Either your Head of State represents you or he does not.
            That’s like saying a political party represents you or it does not. Anybody who says that is either a clone or they are lying.

          • Tom M

            “….As long as the monarch remains politically neutral in public…” là où le bât blesse as the French would say.
            Better to have a few odd Monarchs from time to time and take some pride in the history preceding them than very dangerous elected heads of state like Bush or Belusconi.

          • dalai guevara

            strawman

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Learn what a straw man fallacy is then get back to us. Thanks.

          • dalai guevara

            — birthright beats election —
            That was your argument.
            Your own classic false flag was pointed out to you earlier, you are of course a Monarchist.
            Cheers.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            I’m talking about your reply to Tom M. What he said was simply not a straw man argument.

            “birthright beats election”

            Neither is that by the way.

            Like I say learn what a straw man fallacy is then get back to us.

          • dalai guevara

            Berlusconi is not reason not to have an elected HoS.
            It’s a clear cut strawman.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            A strawman fallacy is when someone deliberately twists someone position to make it easier to discredit it. Tom M was replying to me and agreed with me. He was expressing his opinion not twisting my argument to discredit it, neither was he twisting any general republican positions. He was expressing a preference, as was I.

            The only thing that is clearcut is that you like using the term strawman without having the faintest notion of what it means.

          • dalai guevara

            Get over yourself.

            Berlusconi is not the reason why Britain cannot elect a HoS.

            It’s a classic clear cut first class juvenile Straw Man, easily knocked down for being a fallacy as *I* have argued against it and he then replied to you to make it appear he wasn’t addressing my comment.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Wow paranoia too.

          • Wessex Man

            You are a strange little person arn’t you.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            I agree with you although Berlusconi was not the head of state.

          • Tom M

            Apologies. You are correct (how didn’t I notice that???)

          • Phil TGeek

            You seem to have a problem with facts – Belusconi was never head of state.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Rather, it is a straw man argument to be pushing the line that this society is “ruled” by the Windsors. Rather they occupy a symbolic role in the context of the constitution.

            The reason Republics go bad is, ironically, that their Presidents actually do seem to exercise real monarchical powers.This goes to the heart of some of the most scathing characterizations of Obama as “His Majesty” as well as the French with their “une monarchie republicaine”.

            The US Republic has often been copied in constitutions around the developing world with empty bills of rights and the opportunity to capture the absolute power the Presidential office in a Republic offers.

          • dalai guevara

            You just said the opposite elsewhere – you said Charles was ‘interfering in politics’. Will you make your mind up?

          • gerontius redux

            You seem incapable of following a line of reasoning. – Can you walk and chew gum at the same time dalai?

          • Helen of Troy

            He can’t walk and put one foot in front of the other at the same time!

          • Llamedos2

            Walking !! what’s that??? Oh yes, I remember …. clutch, brake – clutch, brake – clutch brake

          • Llamedos2

            Reading your arguments back and forth, and recalling moments of near dictactorship in the UK, against the dictatorship that we could have with Charles, it seems there will not be much difference. The case for the Republic is that the party and its leader can be voted OUT just as easily as IN. Whereas we are forced to endure dictatorial behaviour by our royals that will get worse and worse once the Queen goes.

          • Grace Ironwood

            Charles is not and cannot be a dictator, he’s just a fool with the potential for more embarrassment in the future. Sadly, unlike his dad, he’s not even funny.

          • Phil TGeek

            Why is it that the ignorant assume that the US political system is the only possible model for a republic?

          • Wessex Man

            Well, looking at the Prime Ministers of the UK since the Second World War and the oh so many corrupt Presidents all over the Gobe, I think I would much rarther stick to the Constitutional Monarchy system that we have now.

            Going by the her Majesty’s robust health, Prince Charles reign will not be long enough to damage the constitution no matter how much Nick Cohen or you may wish it so.

          • Phil TGeek

            Comparing Ugly Betty to elected politicians is not really feasible due to the exceedingly high degree of secrecy surrounding the monarchy.

            In other word the monarchy is not accountable for their actions whilst elected politicians are.

          • watcherofolde

            Thank God for George Washington.

        • dalai guevara

          I know ‘you’ are not pretending any of those things.
          Are you denying there was *anyone* pretending all those things?
          You are *all* pretending all those things!

          • Diggery Whiggery

            If you know I am not “pretending any of those things” how can you then state that we “are *all* pretending all those things!”,

            As for the rest, I can only speak for myself not anyone else.

            You seem confused.

          • dalai guevara

            I am not confused, I used rhetoric to make my point and clarify yours.

            You have had your chance to agree with me, you failed and therefore I must conclude that you disagree with the points I have made. You did not address any of my points, you evade them. That makes you the person not presenting an argument but a defender of the status quo (which is fine by me). Let’s not pretend any other thing, agreed ‘dear Monarchist’?

          • Diggery Whiggery

            That’s it, run, run, run.

          • Wessex Man

            Nurse! nurse! nur!

          • Ed  

            While not defending tampon boy, I am concerned that if we change things too hastily, we’ll end up with President Barack Cameron-Miliband, and it’s pretty clear that this wouldn’t be an improvement.

            That debate comes up in Canada every so often, and it’s usually snuffed out with whispers of “Nixon”, and “Bush”.

        • The Great Cornholio

          “All republics fail eventually”.

          What on Earth are you talking about? Western civilisation has only enjoyed the success that it has because Europeans created a successful republic in North America. From which ideas of democracy and egalitarianism spread back to Europe.

          It could well be argued that nothing has suppressed human progress more than monarchical rule. Countries like ours only manage to maintain a constitutional monarchy with democracy by turning the wearer of the crown into an absurd token ruler. A position that should provoke ceaseless ridicule from any thinking person.

          Oh, and France is on its third republic. Please give me evidence of one French person who wishes they had a monarch.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            No the French are on their cinquième republique fashioned by De Gaulle in his own image, the one before the war being the quatrième which was too unstable.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Fifth_Republic

            The new radical left party that’s been rising in the polls wants a sixième. I never said that the French wanted a monarch only that they call their system a “monarchie republicane”.

            As for the US, wait a while although you are right that for the moment it hasn’t failed, but it is going through a rough patch I think you’d agree. I personally think it will eventually.

            Pretty much every other republic in the world has fallen under totalitarian rule at some point or another and often several times. The only real exception is Switzerland who have a federal council of 7 members as head of state. They are elected by the federal assembly. That kind of system works for a small relatively homogenous country like Switzerland.

            “It could well be argued that nothing has suppressed human progress more than monarchical rule.”

            It could if I were talking about absolute monarchy.

            “Countries like ours only manage to maintain a constitutional monarchy with democracy by turning the wearer of the crown into an absurd token ruler.

            Which is why is works, and a constitutional monarch does not rule.

            “A position that should provoke ceaseless ridicule from any thinking person.”

            Why because you say so and you count yourself as a thinking person?

            Politicize the head of state and you politicize the state itself rather than just the government. It’s an important distinction.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Sorry meant to say that France has been a republic since the third (excluding Nazi occupation). Just because it needs restructuring doesn’t mean the idea of republicanism has failed.

            Very few monarchies are truly absolute as they always had to devolve some power to nobles. Nevertheless this is how Europe was ruled for centuries with feudalism and scarcely any progress of any kind. Had the colonies not rebelled and set up their own republic we would not have transformed our nation into a pseudo republic that works.

            Britain is going through a rough patch, every nation has rough patches and every nation will I collapse eventually. The US is not going become a totalitarian state in the foreseeable future and has never threaten to in its history. It gave us the model for a system of government that avoids this.

            What you appear to be suggesting is that for a nation to remain stable what it needs is a token head of state, who is representative of an institution that failed and we would all reject now if we had to start over. This head state is the inheritor of the title, and could be good, could be bad, but without which we would be at a loss and would gravitate towards a dictatorship desperate as we are for a monarch to rule over us even in a symbolic capacity.

            If this is your position you should be embarrassed. It is a position which should be treated with ridicule and contempt.

          • Wessex Man

            oh dear.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            “Sorry meant to say that France has been a republic since the third (excluding Nazi occupation). Just because it needs restructuring doesn’t mean the idea of republicanism has failed.”

            No the First and second republics were also republics. There are many different types.

            The first, plagued with violence, lasted a mere 12 years and finished with the directorate, then consulate then dictatorship.

            The second lasted a whole 4 years and ended in a coup and the installation of a prince-president but at least it was ratified massively by the people so tired they were of the disputes between the social democrats and liberals.

            The third went from one constitutional crisis to the next, one dissolved parliament to the next, the election of a nutcase as president and the near restoration of the monarchy and ended in the vichy government.

            The fourth lasted about 12 years and ended with a quasi coup and the installation of de Gaulle as leader supported by the French army.

            And the fifth, their “monarchy republican” is ongoing.

            In other words we’re not talking about a few tweeks here and there but constitutional failure each and every time.

            As for the US, I don’t think it will become a dictatorship, though many Americans think that Obama behaves like a dictator. The US system worked well when the federal government was small. This has long since stopped being the case, and the resilience of the union will be tested and will break IMHO eventually. You won’t agree and that’s fine, but if it does one day, think of me.

            “If this is your position you should be embarrassed. It is a position which should be treated with ridicule and contempt”

            Well as long as you’re convinced by your own opinion that’s the main thing

          • The Great Cornholio

            I know the first and second French republics were a disaster but so too was the rule of emperors and monarchs which lead to them being established in the first place. Subsequent republics may have required major surgery but they have not given up the idea of republicanism. Criticisms of the “monarchie republicaine” are that it is too autrocratic but at least they have the capacity to reform it with a democratic process.

            “US system worked well when the federal government was small”.

            Proving that a token monarch is unnecessary for small government and a stable republic which has lasted the best part of two and a half centuries.

            “Well as long as you’re convinced by your own opinion that’s the main thing.”

            Smugly dismissing my arguments as my opinion doesn’t justify your claim, if I understand you correctly, that a preposterous, flaccid relic of our undemocratic past protects against “ruthless, lying, corrupt politician(s) hungry for power as head of state”. And by implication is what is needed for the USA, France and Germany to maintain democracy.

            Can I ask what you think would happen if tomorrow we were to find that public opinion had turned unanimously towards abolition of the monarchy and the government announced that they would be putting it to action with immediate effect?

          • Diggery Whiggery

            “Criticisms of the “monarchie republicaine” are that it is too autrocratic but at least they have the capacity to reform it with a democratic process.”

            Except republics with written constitutions rarely do in time. That’s one of the reasons why unwritten constitutions are better than written ones IMHO, but that’s a whole other discussion.

            “Proving that a token monarch is unnecessary for small government and a stable republic which has lasted the best part of two and a half centuries.”

            Except for the ruinous constitutional civil war and the subjugation of the south by military means. I never said that a monarch was necessary for small government, but small government is necessary for stable political union between different peoples.

            “Smugly dismissing my arguments as my opinion doesn’t justify your claim”

            No, I merely recognised your right to your own opinion and stated that the main thing is that you believe in it as I believe in mine. Don’t be so paranoid.

            “If this is your position you should be embarrassed. It is a position which should be treated with ridicule and contempt.”

            Now that is “Smugly dismissing my arguments as my opinion doesn’t justify your claim”.

          • The Great Cornholio

            You haven’t answered my question.

            Here is how I would answer it. Very little will change. We already live in a republic just one with an absurd token ruler. Our royal family have no great influence politics. They do nothing except occasionally distracting people from the real news, and we have a non-exhaustive supply of untalented celebrities for that.

            They do however represent the archaic idea, that we have jettisoned in all other walks of British life, that right of birth should denote privileged positions. Having an official head of state who represents this nefarious, decrepit ideology is something we’d be better without.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Or we could end up like the French, desperately trying to find the right balance between benevolent dictator and mob rule. They still haven’t found it but we have IMO, or had I should say, before Blair’s constitutional vandalism.

            Or we could end up like the Americans, vehemently arguing amongst ourselves over every executive action carried out by a political and monarchial president or every incidence of judicial activism undermining the constitution, with nothing to unite us whatsoever.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Well unity is of the kind that you appear to be envisaging is a fantasy. In an open democracy their will of course be disagreements and reforms and their will times when those without power are dissatisfied by the actions of those with it they will claim that they have exercised their power undemocratically.

            You still haven’t explained how are token ruler, stripped of any official power as it is, prevents this and in criticising Blair you appear to be giving evidence that it has not. You speak very ill of our species in implying the only way we can function as a democracy is to preserve this absurd relic of our unenlightened past.

          • John_Twiss

            The USA at present has already become an oligarchy controlled and run by the mega corporations which have been declared “citizens” by the Supreme Court. Try doing a little research and discover how people like the Koch brothers control the Republican party.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Okay but how does our monarchy protect against this? And it is not as if the city doesn’t already have an unjustified influence over our government.

          • John_Twiss

            The City has more power than it should I agree, but that is because we have moved to emulate American Capitalism. While I am not entirely against Capitalism, we also have to consider the needs of those less fortunate, as well as protect the elderly. That said, I also see where both this government as well as the EU have taken steps, however small they are at present, to regulate the influence of the City on the people and those who govern. While the various educational systems of Europe seem to have been lowered over the past 2 decades, our populations are far more cynical and willing to challenge the powers than has occurred in the USA where working men blindly vote for politicians bought and paid for by the mega corporations.

            While the sovereign has the right to advise, I have no doubt that her knowledge over the years and the fact that she is not directly involved in any politics has had some effect on her prime ministers. Remember that while parliament represents the people, the executive technically represents the monarch. I recall too that Harold Wilson – a dyed in the wool socialist made the statement in his memoirs, that any politician or prime minister who had occasion to seek the Queen’s advise, would be foolish not to avail himself of it since she was by far the most astute Statesman of her time. The sovereign remaining above politics and not bound to election is able to exercise a point of view that is difficult for any elected official.

            In the USA corporations already hold the key to elections along with the churches in a country where 85% of the people actively participate in their religious institutions, most often voting in accordance with the orders/guidance of their preachers.
            Since 9/11 and the creation of Homeland Security, civil rights have been gradually eroded, many of the civil law enforcers have been militarised and one can see how that has effected the judicial system. You say that the USA is unlikely to become an oligarchy, It is already almost there.

          • The Great Cornholio

            Okay, lets say you’re right about the Queen being an astute adviser to our elected government, it still doesn’t explain how her position buffers against the excess of influence of the meg-capitalists. As you rightly point out the very limited restrictions on bankers in this country are created by our awareness of the threat that they pose if unchecked and our outrage at their taking enormous bonuses despite sending us into a recession and immiserate millions.

            Also it won’t be long before we have a King who will not be so wise as his mother. He will be the official head of state. He didn’t earn this position it was his birth right. An archaic concept we would do well to eradicate from our civilisation.

            Now, whilst there is no guarantee that an elected politician will be worthy of their position either they at least are the chosen representative of the people not simply there because of who theiparents are. To paraphrase Churchill – democracy is the worst form of government apart from all the others.

            Granted that the US has become draconian and for some time now has been too much under the influence of its capitalists

          • John_Twiss

            Both Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece tried Republican forms of governance and both failed. Venice and Genoa were Republics that also failed. The USA in its present form is hardly a worthy exemplar of Republican Democracy. France, it mighty surprise you to know has a healthy monarchist/royalist party.

        • Bill Davies

          Diggery Whiggery
          Pure unadulterated nonsense I,m afraid.
          Your “Future King” had ambitions to be a sanitory towel at one time!

          Such a pity his wishes did,nt come true.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            1. You don’t have to put my name at the beginning of your comment as when you reply, Disqus let’s me know it’s from you and the fact that it pops up in my timeline means that it’s to me. Disqus is clever like that.

            2. “Pure unadulterated nonsense I,m afraid.Your “Future King” had ambitions to be a sanitory towel at one time!”

            So the bit above where I conceded that Charles was an unsuitable future monarch didn’t sink in then.

      • McClane

        The monarchy is more important than the monarch. We’ve got rid of more than a few unsuitable kings and queens in the past. We can do so again. We can skip a generation, we can ask someone else to do the job. There are precedents for both of these.

        • Jackie Dawson

          Just get rid of them all……..

          • Jody Taylor

            What do you think this would do for the tourist dollar?

          • Phil TGeek

            Some idiot always turns up with the tourist myth.

            Visit Britain have stated that there is no evidence whatsoever that the monarchy has any significant effect on inbound tourism.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            And replace them with a yet more ruthless, dishonest, corrupt politicians hungry for power. Yeah let’s do it.

      • Jackie Dawson

        Monarch is no more…..then need to bow out with some dignity..

      • Jody Taylor

        Have some “moral principles”?

        Sorry, I thought you were talking about multi-culturalism and immigration!!!

      • balance_and_reason

        Actually, I don’t have a problem with that speech at all…have you read it? Seems pretty sensible. It really is very very very stupid to log huge area’s of tropical forest and expect there to be no resulting problems.

      • David Hopkins

        We don’t need the advice of any dumb foreigner thanks.

    • rtj1211

      And if he won’t??

      Off with his head??

      Jolly hard to abolish the monarchy and then reconstitute it in this day and age, I would have thought……

      • Diggery Whiggery

        Not really, if enough elected representatives told him to step aside, he would do so. It happened to Edward VIII without having to chop his head off. Sure his choice of wife was a problem, but not as much for his fondness for National Socialism. He tried to choose the right historical side to be on, chose badly and was dealt with. His brother and niece learnt from his mistake, his grandnephew has not.

        It will just have to be made clear that Charles needs to abdicate that’s all. It’s the institution that counts, which is something that Diana didn’t get either.

    • mikewaller

      With the greatest of respect, cobblers! [:-)]

      • Diggery Whiggery

        Please expand.

        • mikewaller

          I am a firm believer in Thomas Carlisle’s dictum: “No man is a hero to his valet”. i.e. the perfect human being has yet to be born (apologies to Christians!) You do not have to look too far to spot various examples of behaviour that would be a great deal more troubling than that of Charles. He takes his job and his country seriously and connects with millions of people the intelligentsia would dismiss as beyond the Pale. And from my personal observation, he has a pleasing common touch. There could be far worse contenders for a very difficult role.

          One other point, I am incensed by our scumbag press muck-raking in this area. Our constitutional monarchy is an institution that works, but as Oakshot (?) pointed out, it does require a certain degree of “magic”. It is well understood that Murdoch, Rothermere, and the pornographer who runs the Express have a de facto pact not to put each other’s dirty washing on display. Is it too much to ask that they extent this “professional courtesy” to the minor peccadilloes of the next in line? Certainly, in terms of his capacity to do harm, he is as nothing when compared with them.

          • Diggery Whiggery

            “I am a firm believer in Thomas Carlisle’s dictum: “No man is a hero to his valet”. i.e. the perfect human being has yet to be born (apologies to Christians!)”

            I’d agree, I never said he should be perfect or that there is another candidate for the role who is. The sole reason he is unsuitable is that he politicizes himself and while there will always be people who agree with him (I actually do on some things) there will also be those who do not.

            I have no doubt that he is friendly and that his views are refreshing and that he can connect with people, but that’s not the point as far as I am concerned. Those people he connects with would turn against him in an instant if the politics he was advocating went against their specific interests. The electorate are a fickle lot.

            A constitutional monarch as a symbol of the nation, cannot politically represent everyone and so he must politically represent no-one. If not he’ll essentially turn himself into an unelected president and people would then start thinking, why not then have an elected one that we can get rid of when we’re tired of him.

            If the Queen had conducted her reign in such a manner, she wouldn’t have lasted so long and would not be as respected as she is. Just look at the scandal caused by her pretty neutral comments over the Scottish referendum.

            I am a firm supporter of constitutional monarchy as an institution, but as I said elsewhere, the crown is what is important to me and not the person beneath it. If Charles were to drop all the AGW and other political stuff now, I think he could still make a good monarch, but I don’t think he has either the will or the inclination so I think he’ll end being kicked sideways hard and fast.

          • mikewaller

            My understanding is that he has acknowledged that as King he will have to be more circumspect. That said, with the scumbag press and the Tory right gunning for the BBC, I think that “the be nice to each other” lobby is going to need all the friends it can get. But another way, I see a far bigger threat coming from the media moguls suppressing all dissent than I do from Charles airing one of two wayout ideas from time to time. At least he would not be easily bought!

          • Diggery Whiggery

            Sure but that’s another argument.

  • As you say Nick the hereditary principle will throw up some horrors. Remember Edward VIII – we have a lot to thank Mrs Simpson for ! Both Elizabeth II and her father were/are decent hard-working monarchs and as individuals good Heads of State. But that was chance and the key fact is that nobody elected them. Mrs Windsor’s children range from the genial but lightweight (Edward) through the bolshy (Anne) to the dim and dangerous (Charles) and the truly execrable (Andrew). Too much of a lottery.

    • Brimstone52

      Too much of a lottery compared to what? All heads of state gain the position through lottery, be they hereditary or elected.

      • I would hope that an elected Head of State would have demonstrated solid acheivement in some important area (far from necessarily poltics!) and the personal qualities required.

        • Lady Kayla

          Take a good look at elected heads of state around the world. Have a good look at the Prime Ministers in various places as well, the same electoral processes pushed them into positions of power. Imagine a Tony Blair/David Cameron/Ed Milliband/Nick Clegg as our President and tell me again about demonstrating solid achievement in an area other than politics or personal qualities (other than smug smarminess and the ability to find wealthy friends – almost typed that as “fiends”, still fits).

          • mikewaller

            Point well made! What Briggs, Cohen etc fail to appreciate
            (or close their mind to) are the major benefits of separating the role of head of state from head of government. I would far sooner have a King with a few far out ideas than a US President whose job, next time round, is fairly likely to have been “bought” not least by a contribution of £591 MILLION from the Koch brothers [Daily Telegraph, yesterday].

          • Damaris Tighe

            Exactly.

          • Ed

            So have an elected head of state who is ceremonial. There are plenty of examples. You’re putting forward an entirely false dichotomy.

          • mikewaller

            With the possible exception of May Robinson in Ireland, I struggle to think of anybody thrown up by a political process who has done the job half as well as the present Queen and her father. As and when we get a genuine duck egg, we may have to think again; but for the most part political heads of state who are little more than titular seem to be inconsequential ciphers who are here today and gone tomorrow. So it it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

          • Mynydd

            Get real, as you say there are benefits of separating the role of head of state from the head of government, this can be the case whether its a King/Queen or a President.

          • mikewaller

            See below

          • rtj1211

            I think Wall Street probably chips in a few hundred million too, you know.

          • Peter_Collins

            That’s hardly a ringing endorsement of monarchy, though, is it? I’d rather have the chance to vote people out than have another member of their family foisted upon us.

          • Ed

            Any of those would be better. At least they aren’t plain thick. There are also plenty of elected heads without much power – think Germany or Israel. Weak argument.

        • Brimstone52

          Can you cite any recent (say thirty years) holders of presidential office of any country who have displayed those qualities?

          Conversely, can you cite any hereditary heads of state who have failed to? (Assumptions about how someone might behave in the future don’t count.)

          • mikewaller

            Play fair, you can’t expect them to take an objective view! [:-)]

        • Front Toward Enemy

          Obama?

          • André Andretta

            Obama?! Please…

          • Front Toward Enemy

            Forgot /sarc

    • Or maybe the whole new generation of royals being wishy washy is a reflection of our modern society …think about the idea that Elizabeth II comes from more tradition and greater values the modern group are given too much freedom to become mediocre

      • rtj1211

        ON the contrary, they are encouraged to sow their wild oats young so that when parenthood comes, they are happy to settle down into their role in the Firm……

    • Terry Field

      If they did not like Wallace, just imagine King Grommit!!!!!

      • Ho Ho ! (It was Wallis, but the joke stands!)

  • zanzamander

    I am not a die hard anti-Monarchist. But it still pains me to think that none of our Royal family members has ever put a foot on Israeli soil – the only democracy and free country in the region, and yet they’ve made numerous state visits and business trips to the surrounding Islamist apartheid Arab countries, accepting gifts amounting to millions of pounds.

    Tells you everything about their judgement.

    As far as Prince Charles future reign as Charles III is concerned, you may take solace from the possibility of his reign being mercifully short. By the time our Queen kicks the bucket, sorry, passes on, Charles himself might not be too far behind. I don’t say this with any disrespect, but he is getting on a bit.

    • Damaris Tighe

      I don’t think it’s the royal family’s judgment. It’s the FO’s.

    • Alistair Kerr

      With any luck, the problem may resolve itself. The late Queen Mother’s Bowes-Lyon ancestors bequeathed her a longevity gene. Centenerians are not unusual in the Bowes-Lyon family pedigree. They tend to be women, although I know of at least one male centenerian in that family. It follows that the present Queen could easily outlive her eldest son, so that we get King William IV, who seems remarkably normal. There are plenty of precedents. As Charles must be uncomfortably aware, King Louis XIV of France outlived his son, his grandson and elder great-grandson. Louis XV was his younger great-grandson. Louis XV was succeeded by his own grandson. There are other examples among European royalty of the crown skipping a generation or two. It happened in our royal family too; George III was George II’s grandson. Frederick, Prince of Wales never reigned.

      • therealguyfaux

        In fact, HRH the Duke of Cambridge would be William the FIFTH, William IV having reigned between his brother George IV and his niece Victoria.

        • Alistair Kerr

          Dear Guy, you are almost right. Strictly speaking, he will be William IV of Scotland and William V of England. William IV is David Cameron’s ancestor, among other claims to fame.

          • therealguyfaux

            As they said about the King who followed the original Elizabeth, “James– he’s six AND one, a half dozen of t’other…”
            I’ll get my coat…

          • Dale

            He’d be William III in Scotland; William the conqueror and his son William II had both taken the throne of England and been dead for over 500 years before the union of the crowns.

          • litesp33d

            He will be William the V in both as they changed the rules so whichever number is the greater when you take the throne whether from Scotland or England is the one you get.

          • Alistair Kerr

            I think that that rule is not set in stone: it is rather that the convention has arisen that, on succession to the throne, the sovereign now chooses his or her regnal name, so Albert/Bertie Duke of York became King George VI, even though he had a younger brother who really had George as his first name. The same goes for his or her numeral. So Albert Edward, Prince of Wales chose to become Edward VII of Great Britain and Ireland, even though there had never been a King of Scots called Edward. At that time his decision was not controversial, even in Scotland. It might be now.

          • Alistair Kerr

            No: William IV. You are forgetting the mediaeval King William the Lion (William I of Scots) who reigned 1165 to 1214. So the Scots are always one William behind the English.

          • Dale

            Corrected I stand.

          • rtj1211

            I wonder whether we’ll have our children being taught all that in future, eh?? Only learned all the Kings of England from 1066 when I was in primary school…….

      • André Andretta

        Indeed, that would be the best case scenario, and judgind by Her Majesty’s good health and the Prince of Wales’ lack of enthusiasm for the advances of modern medicine it may well happen…

    • Anton Tsykin

      I think it says everything about their government’s judgement and not necessarily their own. The royal family are public servants who travel as diplomats largely at the behest of the British government.

    • agkamya

      Not true. Prince Philip, whose mother is buried in Jerusalem, has visited Jerusalem/Israel at least once. see

      http://www.jta.org/1994/10/31/archive/prince-philip-visits-israel-in-first-trip-by-british-royal

  • justejudexultionis

    This is why we must fight for the abolition of this quasi-feudal institution. The UK cannot claim to be a democracy as long as the head of state remains unelected. As Charles’s constant interference in ministerial affairs demonstrates, the monarchy represents a very real danger to the sovereignty of Parliament, and to the inalienable sovereignty of the British people.

    republic dot org dot uk — the campaign for an elected head of state in the UK

    • rtj1211

      I have to say that there is something to be said for having at least one person representing the country who doesn’t constantly have their ear to the ground wondering how to con the oiks to re-elected them in May.

      I guess you could have a Pope-style figure, elected by conclave by a bunch of Establishment bigwigs?? Justin Welby would have fitted the bill quite well if he hadn’t got uppity and become Archbishop of Canterbury you know…..god forbid that anyone selected Tony Blair……

    • Icebow

      Please report to my head gamekeeper for thrashing.

      • justejudexultionis

        I am your head gamekeeper and I am coming to thrash democracy into you.

        • Icebow

          My word, your really are a most insolent fellow.

  • Iain Paton

    It’s a worrying prospect. One of his predecessors had lots of ideas, not shared with the wider population, and he ended up short of a head with a country in civil war.

    Charles is likely to be completely out of step with national opinion, despite his environmental views. The decision to lower flags after the Saudi king’s death is the sort of thing we do not like – anyone can see it is a despotic regime and that gratuitous displays of sycophancy are contemptible. We won’t tolerate decrees and spider-written letters behind the scenes any more, even from elected politicians.

    • John

      A despotic and fantastically wealthy kingdom. People might not like the lowered flags, but as long as they have their Iphones and X Factor no one really gives a shit. And monarchs are closer to each other than the people they lord over.

    • Alexsau91

      Completely untrue. You totally misrepresent how and why Charles I was deposed. Charles did not have any radical new ideas, he intended to rule as all his predecessors had. And these were ideas were not opposed by the wider population, but by Parliament.

      He was deposed and executed after a coup d’etat (Pride’s Purge) removed all moderates from Parliament, and introduced a military dictatorship in place of the parliament or monarchy. Not – as you imply – by a popular revolution of the kind that ended the Ancien Regime of France.

      • Iain Paton

        I didn’t say “radical new ideas”.

        Charles was a disastrous traditionalist after half a century of religious turmoil and the formation of a new kingdom. Whatever one’s views on religion, both Elizabeth I and James I had established some sort of Protestant settlement well short of civil war. Charles’s imposition of his own views undermined this settlement and the enforcement of the Common Book of Prayer in Scotland provoked a disastrous war with wider consequences. His cavalier attitude to parliament, as a mere vehicle for levying a series of inflammatory taxes to fund his war and his intolerance of dissent led to his downfall. With every reaction to events, he made the situation worse at every turn. His wrongful execution and the further intolerance of the Commonwealth plus the restoration of Charles II contradict any lazy narrative of constitutional evolution, but certainly do not exonerate his blunderings.

        I can see a good number of parallels with our current Prince of Wales – traditionalist views, religious quirks, lacking the wisdom of his predecessor, interference with parliament, all based on a misunderstanding of his constitutional limitations.

        A shame, as I suspect he is at heart a fundamentally nice person bearing an enormous burden.

  • David_Colquhoun

    Very well said.
    One thing that you didn’t mention is that the vice-chancellor of Exeter University. Steve Smith, who was so eager to tug his forelock, and so reluctant to defend his staff, was soon after rewarded by a knighthood.

    • Jackie Dawson

      So no real difference from Westminster eh…..

  • Rhys

    Republicans in this country are a very tiny minority – which, in my opinion, is most unfortunate.

    We shall never get rid of the royals. Too much social credit and patronage depends on their existence. As an example: consider the ‘honours’ system. How many people would turn down the chance of a title or reject even the lowest ranking medal that’s in the gift of the monarch?

    • Alistair Kerr

      Having lived for seven years in the French Republic, I can assure Rhys that the honours system is as alive and well there as it is in the UK. This is the case in most republics. The last time that France was a monarchy was in 1870. Yet the system is just as flawed, and as easily abused, Unworthy people seek honours and get them. Presidents and Ministers award them to their chums and supporters.

      • Rhys

        True: republics also have systems for ‘honouring’ their citizens and no doubt it’s just as much a route for social grovellors and political toadies to get the recognition they crave.
        It’s clutching at a small mercy, but least in a republic the President and Ministers who dish out the medals are not hereditary founts of patronage.

        • Alistair Kerr

          I don’t think that that makes it any more moral! The only excuse for that kind of honours system is that quite a lot of the honours really are awarded to achievers. It may act as an incentive to achievement. And it is certainly cost-effective; much less expensive than a cash award, the gift of a house or letting the deserving person off paying income tax for life. There are, incidentally, hereditary members of the Legion d’honneur. If three generations of a family receive it in a row, the order becomes hereditary.

  • ItinerantView

    Charles the Useful, studies Arabic and the Quran, has 12 unnamed ‘wise men’ of Islam to consult and states the environment can be saved with “Islamic spiritual principles”.
    He is now the self-declared defender of faith(s).
    Although apparently his studies hasn’t reached the part, where one faith demands dominion over all others.
    Must have been distracted by all those black spiders in his head.

    • rtj1211

      Seemed that the Christian faith didn’t even need to be told in the Good Book to go forth and dominate.

      Holy Roman Empire, Crusades, Consquistadors, the British Empire, all the rest of it.

      Amazing how Christians dominated the world unbidden, isn’t it??

      • ItinerantView

        “didn’t even need to be told in the Good Book”
        and the difference between Islamic conquest and ‘Christian’ Empires is in your own comment/straw man.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Well let’s see now, the reason for the Crusades was to take back the Holy Land which had been invaded by…the Religion of Peace. The Indian sub-continent was invaded by …the Mughals…the Visigoth kingdoms of Iberia (Spain) were invaded by…can you guess? Moslem armies tried several times to invade Christian Europe – the Gates of Vienna in 1683? Egypt was invaded by…oh let me see now… and the surviving original inhabitants – the Copts – forced into a submission which lasts to this day…ok, my real point is you can do these trade off whatabouteries until kingdom come. What matters is today, and there is a real and present danger out there, don’t you think?

  • mikewaller

    Intellectually, I am very much on Ernst’s side but it is all too clear that he was not great loss to the diplomatic service. Every generation seems to be highly critical of the next, but to counter a older man’s highly conventional observations along these lines by dragging in the holocaust suggests to me considerable personal animus perhaps coupled with a personality trait tending towards the autistic.

    It is also worth pointing out that whilst almost everybody seems prepared to benefit from the great scientific enterprise, millions do not buy into is basic assumptions. Cohen, Ernst and I may well think them very foolish not to do so, but they don’t and to them Charles speaks out where others are afraid to. The same is true in respect of modern architecture where, regardless of the Cohen-Ernst perspective – I think Charles’s outlook is far more appealing to the common person (myself included) than that of the architectural establishment.

    I agree that the Exeter episode is shameful, something I take personally as one of its alumni. However, someone pushing against the bounds of his constitutional role is inevitably going to overstep the mark from time to time. But given a choice between that and an inconsequential cipher afraid of saying anything, my preference is very much for the former. Where the buck really ought to stop in the Exeter case is, as Cohen partially indicates, with Exeter’s current Vice Chancellor, a man who, I was recently told, has already “abolished” chemistry. The Americans talk more about checks and balances than we do but they are equally important in our constitutional affairs. Charles’s overstepping the mark would have been inconsequential had others done their constitutional duty and robustly resist it. Sadly those who should have been expected to do so, didn’t.

    Of course Charles is not perfect; but who is? However, when I have seen him at close quarters talking to people outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, he has come across to me as charmingly self-deprecating. Certainly much to be preferred to the President’s Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron Cohen would have had us have instead.

  • jeffersonian

    “If they [Monarchists] had any sense — and I doubt that all of them do — they would insist on the crown skipping a generation.”

    Hear hear…let’s draw a constitutional veil over his father’s antics.

    ….skipping straight to William when his indomitable grandmother leaves us, is the only way.

    • Airey Belvoir

      How about Andrew for the next King, with Boris as PM? We would be propelled straight into a new libertine age, the end of conventional morality…

  • TrulyDisqusted

    I’ve always been a great supporter of Queen Elizabeth II. She has been a great asset to the UK and the Commonwealth, but I’m afraid that when her reign is over, I suspect that I might become a staunch republican.

    It’s not just Fruit Loop Charles, Prince Williams recent declaration that he would destroy some of the Royal Art Collections artefacts because are made of ivory, most of it centuries old ivory, suggests to me that he has inherited his father’s sense of “One knows best what is best for Ones subjects”.

    Yes, William is a qualified helicopter pilot, serving in a civil role, but would he have had the opportunity to qualify as a helicopter pilot if he’d been anyone other that HRH William Wales? Military trainee pilots who fail parts of their training are scrubbed. How many more attempts was William afforded because of his position rather than his ability and would you really want to be rescued by 15th rate rescue pilot?

    I am grateful for the way our Queen has served us all, but that gratitude does not extend to her mad as a box of frogs offspring…

    Long May she continue to reign over us, but then let us admit that the Monarchy of a land that no longer even has Sovereignty, is also as mad as a box of frogs and serves no purpose.

    • JamesDonnyT

      I was at school with Wills, including being in the cadet force with him. Even at age 16 he had a natural aptitude for and interest in military service, and it’s no surprise to me that he’s made a success of it. Now granted, getting into Eton in the first place was a mark of privilege, but knowing him, he’s smart enough and dedicated enough to have earned the position on merit.

    • John

      “One knows best what is best for Ones subjects”.

      Here’s a comprehensive list of monarchs who haven’t thought this:

  • misomiso

    Yes skip Charles.

    Best for everyone.

    • Jody Taylor

      I actually feel sorry for him; having spent a lifetime in waiting his day has come and gone, for a variety of reasons. Let him speak about the environment, the forests etc. because he has absolutely nothing else better to do with his time.

      Why the paranoia? It would be like having Hugh Grant on the throne if Charles was King. You know, ‘four weddings and a FUNERAL”.

  • Michael H Kenyon

    Given his family, he IS an intellectual, and all credit for his aspiring to more than shooting grice, horses, or being pals with perverts. But unable to be corrected, how can Charles improve his thinking?

  • Carter Lee

    As an American I can attest that a lot of Americans would be saddened, indeed, crushed if Britain were to abandon the Monarchy. America is a place with little
    public style or class in fact it ranges on being shallow and vacuous in its Las Vegas like public ceremonies.

    However, the royal weddings, the glories of the Brigade of Guards doing their bit on the Queen’s official birthday, all the pomp and ceremony fills a gap that is missing in our lives on the other side of the Atlantic.

    The British are unusually skilled at bringing some class to public ceremony’s that reminds one of the nations extraordinary history and traditions. Such continuity is in a way comforting.

    And so what if Charles III is a bit of an oddball? It has always impressed me that
    Englishmen have always been tolerant and protective of eccentrics unlike many of
    other societies. He would not be a true Constitutionally risk and likely would only offend the prigs and purveyors of political correctness and they need to be constantly and relentlessly offended.

    The problems with British governance today have nothing to do with the Monarchy; they have everything to do with governments that do not respect the mood and views of the mainstream public.

  • Dr. Heath

    And the sort of person likely to be elected as head of state under a republican alternative to the Windsors? I can hardly wait for my ballot paper and the choice between a f**kwit who starred in EastEnders for fifteen years, a f**kwit who was on the Tory, Labour or LibDem front bench, a f**kwit who was, perhaps, lucky enough to make it to Downing Street [and is duly loathed by most voters], a f**kwit who was Doctor Who for a couple of seasons, a f**kwit who either played football or managed a score of f**kwits in one of the teams. You’ll find someone that’s positively liked by more than about twenty-five percent of the electorate only in your dreams.

    Give the bloke a chance. As his Mum is certainly going to be on the throne well past her hundredth birthday, that leaves Charles possibly enjoying a few months at best as her successor. I doubt he’ll have much to say about climate change or the Quran in his dotage. If he says dopey things, they can’t be as dopey as the utterances of President [GOD FORBID!!!!!!] David Beckham. Be careful what you wish for, Nick. It’s regularly far worse than what you’ve got.

    • Ed

      We have given him a chance. He has already tried to interfere, repeatedly, in our democratic system of government, to impose his crackpot theories.

      Give me a f**kwit, whoever they are, who commits to remaining purely ceremonial. You’ve missed the point.

      • Dr. Heath

        Two things. You seem to have taken this of mine comment far too seriously. Secondly, I don’t see how it is any way preferable to have a moron as head of state. The Japanese, years after the end of the war, referred to their emperor as Mister Hirohito. This was because, Japanese hosts in Japan told me, they viewed him as a dimwitted, if ceremonially adept, halfwit. Tourists wouldn’t have crossed the road to see him, his family or his gaff. Natives felt much the same, despite all the ceremonies. So what’s the appeal, then, of the purely ceremonial head of state?

      • Dr. Heath

        You are absolutely right. Public life in the UK already abounds with plenty of crackpots and crackot theories without a member of the Windsor family – none of whom can vote – being allowed to muscle in on the fun. I’m waiting for a blasphemy law to be imposed on me. As it will be imposed through democratic means, I’m sure to be content with it.

  • Paddy S

    His published writings show that in the dispute between Galileo and the papacy, our future sovereign is on the side of the papacy and against the scientific method, and remains on the papacy’s side four centuries after the event and long after the church has conceded defeat.

    Had Nick not mentioned this I would be very sympathetic to his argument. The church was right on specifics in that case, Galileo could not prove his theory, his only proof to notion that world revolved around sun (the tides) to his argument was shredded by church scientists who judged his proof as nonsensical. Besides that was not reason galileo got into a real beef with the church. As for his stuff on scientific method, that had nothing to do with Galileo vs Church, and actually was a product of the first Christian scientists later on. Although Nick is a new atheist so I suppose history comes difficult to him.

  • Mynydd

    What a system we have in that we have a one year old baby that will someday be Head of State, that is when the Queen dies, when Charles dies, when William dies

  • Sean L

    “As a republican. . . ” I mean don’t you feel a bit of a dick even saying that?

    • MrsDBliss

      😀

  • Ed  

    Over there in the Republic which would, I suppose, be the model, WF Buckley once observed that he’d rather be governed by the first 200 names in the Boston phone book than Congress.

    We hate monarchy, they hate republicanism.

    We’d better be careful we don’t end up with Barack Cameron.

    • carl jacobs

      The actual quote by WFB is

      “I would rather be governed by the first 2000 people in the Manhattan phone book than the entire faculty of Harvard.”

      It’s a statement about academia, and not republicanism.

      • Ed  

        It’s a statement about both. And it’s worth thinking about, in both ways.

        • carl jacobs

          Ed

          The difference between “the first 2000 people in the Manhattan phone book” and the “entire faculty of Harvard” is the insular social elitism and assumed intellectual entitlement of the later. WFBs point was that better governance would come from a randomly chosen group of ordinary people (no matter their intelligence or background) than from the intellectual academics who would presumably seem so fit to rule by right of supposed enlightenment and intelligence. It’s about entitled academia and its isolation from the real world.

          • Ed  

            That may be true, but I still don’t know that I’m that much of a fan of the current membership of the House of either Representatives or Commons. The Canadian Commons isn’t quite so bad, though.

  • fun-time freddie

    I note that you didn’t bother to mention ‘climate change’ — manmade, of course, since the natural kind always happens and is happening now — even though Charles is more a fool on that than anything else. But perhaps you agree with him, Mr Cohen.

  • umberto

    Waste of words

  • André Andretta

    Yeah, now look here, good people, you’re just forgetting the fact that an elected head of state can be as bad as any unlected monarch. I live in Brazil and I can say that there is no way Charles can worse than our current president, the woman is ruining the country. So, for that matter, I just like to remember the words of Antoine de Rivarol, “The absolute ruler may be a Nero, but he is sometimes Titus or Marcus Aurelius; the people is often Nero, and never Marcus Aurelius.” Ok, Charles will never be a Marcus Aurelius and surely will not be an absolute ruler, but you’re not much better off with someone you elected, and you already have to worry about your MPs and your PM, so why bother abolishing the monarchy when you can just, I don’t know, annoy Charles out of the throne or something?

    • balance_and_reason

      Also, the new ruler has to be fed…this one is all ready fed.

    • justejudexultionis

      Don’t be ridiculous. The head of state can function as a figurehead, as in Germany, while the PM or Chancellor does all the real political stuff and actually governs. The German model of democratic republicanism is the one to follow.

      • john

        Yes but (1) he has to be credible to be elected and (2) he’s only around for a few years and you can vote him out – he’s not around for 60 years.

    • davidofkent

      You probably don’t understand the principle of a constitutional monarchy. In short, they are meant to keep their noses out of things which don’t concern them; i.e. everything to do with government.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Brazil used to have a Constitutional Emperor, the last being Dom Pedro II. He sounds like he was a good egg, all for abolishing slavery and liberalising his empire, but the landowners and slave owners staged a coup and got rid of him.

  • Teacher

    Prince Charles has always had a penchant for the non rational. He idolised Lawrence Van Der Post, the author of a book I had to study for ‘O’ level Literature in 1972 called ‘The Lost World of the Kalahari’. Even at the age of 15 I worked out that the author was a superstitious, credulous dreamer with little contact with rationality. (Though at that age I was harsher in my judgement of this writer.) Prince Charles’ aherence to unscientific medical methods would be of no note were he not so influential. If the Exeter University story is true, his intrusion and meddling in the career of a man who wishes to debunk snake-oil cures is disquieting and the potential for further interference in rational study when Prince Charles attains the position of reigning monarch is alarming.

    • rtj1211

      There’s nothing wrong with using non-western medicine if you choose to. Nothing wrong with promoting research to find out if they work, even if the reason is the placebo effect.

      The only thing which isn’t acceptable is demanding recompense from the NHS for treatments clearly shown to be useless.

      • Teacher

        No, there really is something wrong with alternative or non western medicine as those credulous women with cancer found in Bristol when they adhered to alternative medication and lifestyle practices while eschewing conventional cancer treatment. They died. And anyone who convinces the ignorant and foolish that belief is as good as science is partly responsible for the suffering they cause thereby.

  • freddiethegreat

    I agree on Charles III, but what makes you think a republic is an answer to this sort of idiocy? I live in an alleged republic, and the drooling – sorry, ruling class make Charlie look like the epitome of rationality.

  • litesp33d

    It beggars belief that in the 21st century that we are objecting to the prattling of someone in a position of power by birth rather than any kind of educational merit whatsoever rather than questioning that he and his ilk should have any power at all.

    • balance_and_reason

      yes, lets have Francois Hollande’s equivalent…much better

  • Putneywill

    Prince Charles is more valuable to this Country than all the low life in the House of Commons combined. That may not be saying much about Prince Charles’s value but

    he’s certainly astute as a businessman,landowner and opinion former on a global stage. To write him down as a fool is simply left wing bollocks.

    lefties could always promote global peacekeeper and all round legend Tony Blair for Lord Protector as a “credibe” alternative

    • Icebow

      He might take George VII, I’d heard, though I’d prefer Charles III.

    • john

      The ever popular – “do you want President Blair”?
      Err no! so I won’t vote for him – it’s not complicated.

  • Mark McIntyre

    Indeed, Nicky, but…
    Your final paragraph gives us Republicans hope – as no skipping be likely – we can expect some fun for a few years at least !
    After that ?…

  • Liberanos

    If you don’t want him, don’t vote for him.

  • balance_and_reason

    Just remember, the likely candidates for our elected President would be distinguished ex politicians…Thatcher, Blair, Brown……take your pick…still a republican?

    • john

      Yes! Mrs W was elected to nothing, has contributed nothing and is still here after 60+ years. Chuck is (God forbid) next.
      Of your carefully thought out list, I would support Thatcher.

      • balance_and_reason

        wrong on all counts John. A little more thought required. Try again.

        • john

          Mrs W was elected? Wow, I missed that. I’ll look forward to voting against Chuck when the time comes.

  • Frank

    You don’t seem to understand how the system works. Once Charles is the king, he will be utterly trapped by the conventions of his office. All his current boll*cks is just a means of expressing his internal rage and confusion.
    As for Sir Michael Peat, if your story is true, he should be deeply ashamed.

  • Diotima

    Aren’t all indiscretions of former Princes of Wales forgiven and forgotten once they assume the crown, on the understanding, of course, that they stop committing them?

    • john

      Maybe in the past when the Brit establishment contolled all information and media – not now when we can check the internet.

      • Diotima

        Ah yes – Internet porn. I’d forgotten about that. We love our Internet porn, lol. I agree. I’ve checked and also discovered that there are few limits to what people will jerk off to. Past pronouncements of present monarchs. Hell, yeah!

        • john

          Look up “non-sequitor”. You’ve provided a fine example.

  • Terry Field

    The speech Charles made on the environment is entirely correct. I applaud him for making it. I look forward to his reign. The ‘extremely serious’ difficulties Britain faces came about by insane and corrupt elected political prostitutes acting for today and to hell with tomorrow- as well as looking after their own corrupt interests. In distinct contrast to this fine Prince. The writer of this article is an idiot.

  • David S

    “Ernst had made Exeter an internationally acclaimed centre of medical research”
    This is utter, utter bollocks Nick. If you actually look at the research Ernst did, rather than the puffery of his mates, you will see that he did a bunch of metastudies, and almost no primary research. Metastudies are fine when it is the Cochrane collaboration doing an exhaustive overview of a collection of serious work, but reviewing a bunch of scrappy studies and confirming your original prejudices is no substitute for real research. Ernst doesn’t like most complementary medicine, and he is probably more right than wrong, but his work is pretty feeble and it is utterly laughable to describe his work in your terms. If you want to know what an internationally acclaimed centre of medical research looks like, try Oxford or Cambridge or the combined London medical colleges.
    That said, there are plenty of other reasons why Charles should not be king. The public’s acceptance of a constitutional monarchy is contingent on the monarch’s acceptance of the constraints on his behaviour. His mother and grandmother understood this, but Charles hasn’t a clue.

  • David S

    BTW Ernst didn’t say acupuncture was no better than placebo – it was one of the few therapies that he found did have beneficial effects.

  • David S

    Who fed you the idea that Exeter’s reputation was made by this man? Most mainstream medical researchers don’t give a toss whether someone has done studies on homoeopathy. Why would they? How would this make the reputation of a whole university? You are frankly nuts on this one.
    Although to be fair none of this means for a moment that Charles should have been abusing his position by trying to get Ernst sacked, or that the University should have kowtowed to him (if they really did)

  • tartanarse

    I’ve never voted for any of them.

  • Jackie Dawson

    Charles has got what he has got because of murder and fear through out the ages. Its about time the Monarchy was disbanned and left were it needs to be, back in the last few centuries..this kind of cap doffing has no place in this day and age….Before he does some real damage…..which cannot be covered up.

  • montague_stjohn

    As Prince of Wales he is still better than Edward who lured us into an ever closer alliance with France against Germany and caused in large part for us to enter into the Great War. It has been a slow decline since then.

  • john

    Hooray!
    Can it possibly be that Brits may start to look objectively at the shambles that is a “constitutional monarchy” – no such XXXXXX thing!
    The Windsors are a waste of money, a national embarrassment (Hi Randy Andy) and an insult to 63 million “subjects”. Mrs W benefitted from the country’s relief at getting out of WW II and has contributed nada over 60 years. Chuck is awful – pompous, vain, useless, expensive and he even 2 timed Di for the horror Camilla. Dump em all!

  • Gerschwin

    Dufus.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Long live the Queen.

    • justejudexultionis

      She will live long (even longer than her mother, perhaps) but not forever. This institution offends against democracy and decency and must be abolished if we are to develop proper democratic government.

  • BARROSO

    Don’t usually agree with Cohen but this is bang on. We need a republic.

    • justejudexultionis

      In that case you should join republic.org.uk — the campaign for an elected head of state in the UK.

  • John Andrews

    Exeter University totally disgraced itself.
    Charles, however, is more right than wrong in the issues he supports – which is more than you can say for the superannuated MPs we would have as Presidents if we did have a monarchy. Do you want a President Blair or a President Lawson?

  • Ambientereal

    Wow, may I remember to the Prince and the Exeter University that we are in the XXI century? In this days science is defining what is right and what is wrong. There are standard procedures for everything, including miraculous curing substances.

  • harold

    you can ignore him? thats what is what our freedom allows

  • Roy

    “too vain to accept the limits”.

    Choose what the so called limits are, there are exceptions to every rule. If it is seen the country is sliding into oblivion, the constitutional monarch will be doing his duty to gauge on what he sees as his monarchial right of precedence to speak out in a manner befitting the fate of his country.

  • mariandavid

    I do adore it when commentators accuse others of being “too vain”. And for that matter observing them with their characteristic small-mindedness treating members of a hereditary monarchy as if they were contestants in a cheap TV show, one no doubt judged by the refreshingly unbiased Mr Cohen.

  • mackinlay

    Charles III, I think not. It has been stated on a number of occasions that upon assumption of the Throne, his title would be George VII, his fourth Christian name.
    And I think that looking at King Eward VII, prior to his assumption of the Throne upon Victoria’s, you will find much similar controversy as expressed by the these readers comments. And “Teddie” was a good monarch in his short time on the throne. Yours, Mackinlay

  • terence patrick hewett

    The Queen is deeply loved for her steadfastness and Christian love: every monarch of our turbulent entity has to earn that respect and some have spectacularly fallen short of popular consensus. Republicans are looking forward to the accession of Big-Ears but I am afraid they are likely to be disappointed since Camilla is a charmer of spectacular proportions who as Cathy Lette said “Aussie women recognise her as a woman’s woman and one of our own” and after her comes Kate and believe me she has a will of iron whose very proletarian antecedents are from Southall and Leeds.

    You’ve been outmanoeuvred again Nick.

  • Silvia Aldredge

    I think both the Queen and Philip are wholly aware of how entirely unsuitable Charles is for the throne.I doubt the Queen will die before him, she knows it’s her duty to the country to outlive her idiot child.

  • john

    Can we drop all the sanctimonious B/S about monarchy’s deep love for and interest in the British people? Monarchy has only ONE concern – it’s own survival and status. In this goal, Charles is no different to Lizzie – their only rule is that the Windsor family’s interest is paramount.

  • 3x4_34

    Doesn’t anyone else get sick of the endless bile spewed over Prince Charles. I am certainly not a royalist but this constant journalist vomit emanating from journalists who like to lick populist boots, does not enhance The Spectator or in this article – advance science.
    Respecting Ernst and his 40 years of research does not excuse him from the future when his 40 years research will only interest medical historians. Science has never had authority over quack beliefs, cures, remedies and never will because like everything else Science can only be for the moment and there is no call for arrogance about it.
    Self help remedies are embedded in the world’s populations brains to such a degree that in 40 years time many billions who will not have easy access to science and its novelties, will still be practising their particular bizarraries and live to tell the tale.
    A rude journalist, a poor argument.

  • Iain Inkster

    I never understood why Charles is seen as the weak link in the monarchy. A person cannot go around pretending not to have opinions and monarchy can’t be predicated on anything like that.

    Rather it should be predicated partly on the idea that one is raised in the role, and that in the course of one’s duties one gains a well-rounded overview of the society of which you are a sort of official north. This in turn makes you the most qualified person in the kingdom to have weekly a hobnob with the Prime Minister, a sort of lifelong yoda for successive prime ministers.

    • john

      Again, your sentiments are nutty. Charles can have all the opinions he likes – however, he must influence the legislative branch of government. Of course, he does – “black spider” letters.

      “This in turn makes you the most qualified person in the kingdom to have weekly a hobnob with the Prime Minister”. So Charles would be the official national expert on everything? What a weird judgement.

  • Iain Inkster

    Constitutional monarchy only looks absurd if you look at the kingship as if it were a hereditary presidency. Seen like this, the presidency itself may look sensible and necessary, but the method of selecting the next president is a gratuitous absurdity.

    If on the other hand, you see the UK as more or less a finished product, then this contant messing around with elections etc even after the kingdom has been built up, is the thing that begins to look tedious and instead what you want is stability, continuity and so on. The monarch just becomes part of the ontologty of the state, the overall bequeather of states, ceremonial functions and titles, and there is very little to justify; it’s just the lie of the land. After all, what do you suppose is the role of the monarch that requires electedness in order to legitimise that role?

    • john

      This is a masterpiece of junk logic.

      I love the silliness in “After all, what do you suppose is the role of the monarch that requires electedness in order to legitimise that role?”

      Err Democracy! How about, 63 million citizens deserve a chance for the top job or to vote for the holder?

      • Iain Inkster

        ” Err Democracy!”

        Nope, democracy was never the function of the king.

        I ask again, what is it about the function of the king, as you perceive it, that merits elections?

        “How about, 63 million citizens deserve a chance for the top job”

        Why?

        • john

          Your view would accord well with Charles 1 or Louis 16. Hopefully the rest of us have moved ona bit.

        • john

          Iain:

          You’re living in the wrong century. Your views are more suited to an age of absolute monarchy. FYI It is we – the people – who represent the country not one unelected, overpriviliged family. Our public representatives must have our permission to exercise authority – its called voting!

          • Iain Inkster

            On the contrary, only you have brought the functions of representation and governance into this conversation, with your post.

            ‘Absolute monarchy’ denotes a governor-monarch, which we don’t have, and representation was never the function of the monarch anyway, so why bring it up?

            Fact is you’ve yet to mention a single function of the monarchy that requires that it be electoral.

            Try as I might I simply cannot justify an electoral monarchy.

            Even when it comes to secular arguments for monarchy, you simple cannot beat the hereditary principle.

            The hereditary principle is inherently meritocratic with regard to monarchy. A person is born into a milieu that does not understand the concept of money, bribery, superficial presige, status anxiety, ambition etc, and is quickly familiarised with all of Britain’s institutions and traditions, national treasurs and what not, is impeccably well connected and often spends their entire youth preparing for their role, which is not rocket science or dentistry anyway.

            Elections, on the other hand, are based on hereditary privilege, which I have always disapproved of. Any fool can have the right to vote just through inheriting the right to vote. And vote for a king? Why? What on Earth is the point in dropping someone from the fringes of society onto the throne?

            You risk an outcome where the person at the centre of the constitution, coming from a deprived background, goes around thinking that all virtue consists in the absence of ‘my particular former type of deprivation’.

            Finally monarchy is already democratic as the monarch owes his position to parliament. I don’t know what people are whining about when they get on their high horse about ’21st century’ and ‘moddun brittun’.

          • john

            Nutty!

  • Chiropractic manipulation of the *cervical* (neck) spine is dangerous — not the entire spine. I’ve read another of Ernst’s books and he does not call for chiropractic manipulation in general to be banned, although he recommends osteopathy over chiropractic.

  • RWJ

    To mornarchists……. grow up and take responsibility for your own future. We live in 2015…come and join us……and save a bit of money to boot The fairytale is over.

  • James Horton

    He will not be known as Charles III, because it has a reminder of an unhappy period in English life. He will use one of his other names, if and when he becomes king.

  • 4everaspur

    What a lot to look forward to Charles the 3rd and Camilla the second hand… God help us.

  • Perseus Slade

    A while back, I was listening to Radio 4 on the car radio. Some woman was being interviewed. She was saying how wonderful New Age Thinking was, and that the best example of it could be found in Prince Charles. This appears to me to correspond to George Orwell`s doublethink, whereby contradictions are ignored and cognitive dissonance is put out of mind. Something like female logic.

    This “defender of faiths” (says it all really) is seriously going to damage the monarchy if he becomes king. Just too bad, eh?

  • zimnaya

    Give me an imperfect constitutional monarchy than the lacklustre presidencies one sees in both the USA and France – would you really want a Hollande as your leader, Cohen? Think rather of the immense good that the Prince of Wales has done and is doing through his many charities. Think too that his warnings about the depletion of forests and jungles worldwide, and the headlong use of fossil fuels, mocked and derided when first voiced 30 years ago, are now the globe’s most urgent problem, and arguably the death knell for every ecosystem it has.
    Go and take a coffee enema – preferably at both ends. It might tame your ranting, at least for a while.

  • A very misleading article again about poor Charlie by a so called clever reporter.
    A)You cannot abdicate if your are not a King already
    B) He has a much right to express his views as anyone else
    C) We do not need a Bavarian doctor to instruct us on alternative medicines
    D) The writer of this article is also expressing opinions yet condemns Charles’s
    E) The University has to do what is best for the institution not an individual
    F) God help us if we ever allow some megalomaniac to become President.
    G) Give me a stupid yet affectionate and reasonable monarch anytime.

  • Bill Seymour

    Prince Charles is an ill educated half-wit, who never got beyond O level education. His childish enthusiasm for all things palpably foolish must be curtailed by the government, just as his brother Andrew had his horns foreshortened after his abysmal attempts at ambassadorship.
    I’m not a monarchist, but I do believe the queen has been good for our country and its economy, however I also believe that will change if the idiot prince gets the throne, especially as he will bring with him, the Rottweiler, Camilla.
    Constitutionally it may be impossible to prevent Charles from becoming king. That’s unfortunate, but his self-appointed position as a pseudo-science professor is not. His stupidity has to be taken seriously by heads of state and, instead of being patted on the back and smiled at paternally for wittering on like a naughty child, he must be put in his place and made to accept his limited power, along with his limited brain.
    With a little luck the queen will live on to reign for another twenty years or so, perhaps allowing Charles to fade into the obscurity of his beloved forests where he will hardly be seen for the trees.

  • Ipsmick

    You need only contemplate Charles Windsor’s advocacy of classical architecture and his support for the awful pastiches of the Terrys to find yourself worrying. Architecture has to be of its time, and different eras demand different buildings which themselves are not reworkings of what is already there. Soane had to invent the modern art gallery at Dulwich. In so doing he established top-lighting as a desirable (hence the Clore or Yale Center for British Art), and virtually managed to refine the classical orders into nothingness. This was modernism. Windsor promotes an architecture of stasis and hierarchy, where every tiny element knows its place and nothing can be changed. This has some terrifying implications for the way he would behave were, as, sadly, it might turn out, his mother to prove not to be immortal.

  • Cobbett

    I’m heartedly sick of the fake democracy we’re forced to endure – a total farce. An absolute Monarchy would be fine by me(just not the Windsor’s)

  • Llamedos2

    Republican here : I totally agree with your article Mr. Cohen, but I don’t want ANY KING – not Charles or Wills and Wife. It is time for a change – we must have a Republic – and soon. The Queen’s demise is the right time to achieve a Republican state. At least we will only have to pay for the President, spouse and children still at home – not about 60 relatives of all ages. None of the Queen’s grandchildren are capable of making any sort of meaningful contribution to the country. All they seem to do is party and go on holiday. Wills is supposed to work for the Air Ambulance Service, a vital part of the medical service …. when was he last at work? The wife? Has she ever done any work? NOW IS THE TIME TO STOP THIS ROT – stop it now. No more Royalty of any type.

    • Christine Thompson

      Llamedos2: You’re absolutely right! The very antiquated, anachronistic institution termed “monarchy” is a made-up concept: for there’s no such thing as being “royal”. All those people who [often proudly…] call themselves “royalists” are very gullible, brainwashed, and subservient.
      And no, just in case anyone’s wondering, I’m not a young person, am an Englishwoman in my late fifties. The abolition of the “monarchy” is long overdue.

      However, whilst I much despise the “monarchy”, Charles is NOT talking nonsense with regard to cancer [and other health] treatments.
      Countless millions of educated, PROPERLY-informed people, worldwide, know that the “orthodox” cancer “treatments” of chemo”therapy” and radio”therapy” are themselves extremely toxic, extremely carcinogenic. Why would anyone in their right mind choose to treat ill-health by subjecting their physical body to toxic, carcinogenic substances/”treatments”??

      The same countless millions of educated, PROPERLY-informed people, worldwide, are fully aware that there already exist numerous very effective, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic CURES for cancer. Which do not have the very dangerous, often life-threatening effects which the “mainstream” cancer “treatments” of chemo”therapy” and radio”therapy” do.
      Such known [with many trustworthy testimonials] cancer cures include the very highly-respected Budwig Protocol. This was formulated by Dr Johanna Budwig, a German scientist and biochemist in the mid-20th century, and many thousands of properly-informed, NON-brainwashed people, worldwide, have cured their cancers by using the Budwig Protocol.
      In fact, an American oncologist, Dr Dan C Roehm, is on record [in the Townsend Letter for Doctors, July 1990] as having stated that “… the Budwig Protocol is far and away the most successful anti-cancer diet in the world”.

      What Charles is referring to, when he mentions coffee enemas, as being part of a natural, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic treatment for cancer, is the Gerson Therapy. When this is properly utilised [it being a very complicated method of treatment], it achieves success.

      So, to repeat: whilst I am very anti-monarchist, Charles is, in fact, talking factually when he talks of non-“mainstream” treatments for cancer.
      The “orthodox” Medical Establishment will one day realise its so-called “treatments” of chemo”therapy” and radio”therapy” were wicked in the extreme.

  • helenann

    He forfeited his right to become King when he married that Camilla, she is a DIVORCÉE and under the Rules laid down one thousand years ago that decision he made disqualifies him, NO buts or maybes, that is the Law laid down for choosing a New KING, now he expects the Establishment to change the Historical Rules just for him, what ARROGANCE he has, do we want someone to be King who has committed Adultery while married to Princess Diana, who attitude towards those who have spent a whole life time in many fields he rubbishes with his unqualified remarks, No I for one think it is time HE was put in his place and told he has to stand aside for Prince William his Son.

  • mrscroc

    When is someone going to deal with this ghastly man; who Really seems to believe that the world was made just for him to play with?
    Honestly, I’m sure he could get treatment for his pathology which would at least mean it wasn’t dumped on the rest of us when he has a tantrum because someone disagrees with him.
    If he is allowed to become king and his current wife queen, then It will be every bit as bad as having a republican head of state; such chaos will they cause.
    Mind you, when your “accident of birth”, means that there are no consequences to your actions and people will rearrange things to suit your weird ideas, then it’s not surprising that this privilidged family produces unsuitable children.
    What is the saying? If it looks like a duck etc.? No difference between him and a standard dictator from what I see, apart from the fact that he can’t have people executed.
    Give it time though, the poor man in the article was made to “disappear” in terms of his career.

  • The PrangWizard of England

    Don’t get over-excited. We have a constitutional Monarchy, the monarch has no direct power. We, the people of England go rid of one monarch about 350 years ago, when he thought he was appointed by God. We had a republic for about 10 years which failed, and we’ve done ok since with all kind of monarchs. Charles will not be able to over-ride the will of parliament, so do put your prejudice and fear aside.

    • john

      The tired “they don’t have any power” cliche is nuts. Chuck is well known to berate Ministers to get his way. The royals carry enormous unearned influence and can scare elected officials into supporting their personal preferences.
      What does Mrs Windsor do every week when Dave (or his predecessors) show up to bend the knee at weekly meetings? Bet she gets her way 99% of the time.

      • The PrangWizard of England

        He does this now, and he is often put down, but he won’t be able to get away with it when he gets the Crown. He will quickly be pulled up by the system, there are plenty of people who will expect it, including myself. He has faults as we all do, but there’s no justification for spreading scare stories.

        As for a republic and consequently a president who can manipulate and be manipulated, bribed, threatened – it can’t be said that Obama is a font of wisdom and good judgement for the US. He has executive power, he issues Presidential orders, decrees; he can act as if he were a dictator; he has seriously damaged the US with his beliefs; are you suggesting that government by decree is preferable to a Monarch totally constrained by parliament and who can only advise and offer an opinion?

        The Monarch can only in theory refuse to sign off a Parliamentary Bill into law and cannot demand that some law be intitiated. There would be a constitutional crisis otherwise.

        • john

          Obama or any other US President is (a) elected and (b) has a maximum of 8 years in office. He is also monitored and checked constantly. None of this applies to the grotty Windsors.
          Your memory is short – Mrs Windsor blocked Butler and chose Douglas Home back in the 60s. No doubt there are many examples of royal interference that we plebs are not allowed to see. (Viz Tory agreement to exclude the Windsors for FoI coverage – an astonishing example of public deference.

        • john

          Absolutely untrue – “He will quickly be pulled up by the system”. He is the system and will always be given almost total latitude by deferential pols etc.

  • john

    I wasn’t aware of this particular story but it really reinforces the view that a “Constitutional Monarchy” is an embarrassment and a barrier to progress. Charles is dreadful but is he any different to other Windsors – all of whom exploit their unearned status for personal benefit. Why do the 63 million “subjects” not rebel and dump these medieval hangovers?

  • john

    A monarchy unambiguously implies an unequal society with a few favoured from birth versus the rest who are required to be deferential. This is unforgivable in a modern society.
    Every person must be born equal and nobody can be awarded status at birth (Hello “Prince George” – a one year old who has been appointed senior to every other citizen except his dad, grandad and great grandmother) – absolutely silly.

  • AntiSemitic

    Down with the Monarchy

  • David Hopkins

    Not another dumb article about Prince Charles, written by Cohen simply to promote Ernst’s new book? Give it Cohen, no one is going to buy your pal’s book no matter how much you slag off the heir apparent.

  • Angry Btiton

    we don’t want charles, he does’nt lead his life as he preaches , no divorcee should be on our throne , and she is not worthy

  • Peter Stroud

    Charles is a weirdo, everyone knows that. Talking to trees, proposing homeopathy and preaching CAGW around the world are some of his well known traits: but rejecting the scientific method is a new one to me. As a retired scientist, I find the concept of homeopathy strange, to say the least. However, I am surprised that chiropractic manipulation, or massage were dismissed by Ernst, or for that matter, some forms of acupuncture. But returning to Charles: he should be told to behave as his mother behaves. He should wind his neck in, keep quiet and speak, only when it is his duty to do so.

  • John Croston

    Just when we need a Charles Martel we get lumbered with this waste of space.

  • Emily Wales

    Is there a cure for human stupidity?
    This is the 21st century and the Prince of Wales and his wife are very much part of it
    His position or Charles III is of no relevance he is a terrific good fellow a sensitive intelligent capable man like his wife both obviously love and care for this country and for other people
    He is not perfect I take you are.
    I wouldn’t trade places with both of them for anything on earth
    You are scared? Sure
    I think Charles III should be the next PM myself let alone the future King
    he should have rights as all other human beings do.
    Go for it HRH!
    G… bless you both!

    • john

      “he is a terrific good fellow a sensitive intelligent capable man like his wife both obviously love and care for this country and for other people”‘
      Who is this – surely not that pompous asshole Charlie?

  • Emily Wales

    I think there are all over the Internet those commies fakes trying to pass for Brits in order to create chaos in this country and do away with the Royal family and have their troops all over the place but this government is doing a terrific job getting rid of them
    well done ! Plenty more work to be done thou

  • Emily Wales

    If you can keep your head when all about you   

        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   

    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

        But make allowance for their doubting too;   

    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

        Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

        And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   

        If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   

    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

        And treat those two impostors just the same;   

    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

        And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings

        And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

    And lose, and start again at your beginnings

        And never breathe a word about your loss;

    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

        To serve your turn long after they are gone,   

    And so hold on when there is nothing in you

        Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   

        Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

        If all men count with you, but none too much;

    If you can fill the unforgiving minute

        With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   

    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it!
    Go for it both of you!

  • sundays_child1

    What utter and complete balderdash!

  • Walker

    OMG another so called royal expert selling a book.

  • MC73

    Nonsense, I’m looking forward to Old Bat Ears becoming King. Of course he might be rubbish and an interfering idiot, but that will merely be a cause for amusement.

    The joy of our system is that he can’t really do any harm, while the institution itself is of great value. The pageantry, the link with our history, the tourism, the PR, the giggles are all well worth the few hundred million the monarchy costs. Far better value than almost all other branches of the state.

    If we start messing about with demands for abdication, for whatever reason, then the institution is undermined and it is the institution that counts.

    My real worry is that the next but one and his missus will be so bland as to bore the monarchy out of existence, but the proles seem to love them so it’s likely I am wrong.

  • Alienwoman

    Charles is eminently suitable. He does not belong to the established way of thinking, the way of thinking us sheep have become accustomed to, and jump when told to.
    Times are changing. The world is divided between those that want to dominate, like IS and the EU, and those that want to be allowed personal freedom of thought and belief- never popular with the establishment..
    In the end, if we are to survive, we must choose freedom

  • Tom

    An idea I had.

    Societies could create small microsocieties where the people who have children are the people who demonstrate an ability to rule a whole society (so they constantly evolve into better advisors). A microsociety could provide the parent society with three advisers, who have to agree on a course of action before suggesting it to a triad of leaders from the parent society who have to agree to accept the decision before it is enforced. If the triad of leaders don’t accept the suggestion, a further triad could decide whether to request new advisers or new leaders. New leaders could be chosen by yet another triad (or larger panel) from the parent society, and advisers could be chosen by a triad (or larger panel) from a microsociety. These triads in turn could be appointed through a selection process like a job application – the selection panel would consist of a mixed panel of people like a jury in a legal trial. The leaders selected by the panels should also be approved by a jury. The jury should consist of different people each time it is used.

    Vote this up if you like it.

    • Tom

      It occurred to me that this may be too civilised – it may prevent warriors evolving into better warriors leaving this type of civilisation vulnerable to attack – so there might have to be something less civilised going on at the same time in this type of society (or else every society on the planet could adopt this government structure – peace on earth etc).

  • Fencesitter

    I wonder what odds you’d get at Ladbrokes on his mother outliving him?

  • fluffnik

    Monarchy is utterly incompatible with democracy, even if the monarch isn’t a blatant wrong ‘un.

  • Iain Inkster

    Anybody interested in this topic should check out the Peter Hitchens blog post ‘note on Monarchy and Inheritance’ to get a truly authentic paleo POV.

  • willybach

    An excellent review of Edzard Ernst’s book – and the role of the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health – can be found on the Science Based Medicine website at
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-scientist-in-wonderland/#more-35712

  • willybach

    An excellent review of Edzard Ernst’s book – including the role played by the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health – can be found on the Science Based Medicine website at http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-scientist-in-wonderland/#more-35712

  • justsomeone

    But since Britain will be a Muslim country within our lifetime, indeed, an Islamic country, the royal family will be no more. We’re busy cutting the branch we’re sitting on and still discussing issues that simply will not matter in the future.
    There’ll either be no monarchy or else there’ll be an Islamic King of Britain.
    I wonder what flag will fly over Buckingham Palace.

  • european

    I’m more of a monarchist, it’s no UK specific thing either, but I agree that Charles is not suitable for the job and also too old. The whole coronation costs a lot of money and it would be a waste to have two of them so close to eachother. Let the Queen’s grandson get the job. He is young, popular, just has young children and does not really overstep his role. He’d be a great representation of the role of King, unlike Charles. Even without the quackery, Charles still has a bad reputation for various reasons. In the interest of the country, he should step back.

  • fumer

    I would love to see the monarchy’s influence grow. My only worry with that would be whether or not our royals are sufficiently educated. They aren’t bred to rule now are they, really? I imagine they are now groomed to simply be pleasant show poodles. But a true monarch would be a great thing. It is awful that the kings and queens have been so maligned by modernity. But they’ll rise again, it’s inevitable. I only hope to see it within my lifetime.

    For those interested in monarchism and the faults of the current systems I don’t know a better writer than Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. Look for his book, Liberty or Equality.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    We are luck to have Prince Charles, he is the National Fruitcake and should be preserved as such.

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