Features Australia

Guilt by association

30 November 2019

9:00 AM

30 November 2019

9:00 AM

It was inevitable that Prince Andrew’s interview would be used to support a push for a politicians’ republic.

Janet Albrechtsen (Australian, Nov. 20) led the charge. This should  make  Australians  wary; her  campaign to bring down John Howard was followed by the  Rudd-Gillard-Rudd disaster; her strong support for Malcolm Turnbull over Tony Abbott was followed by more wasted years. Unsurprisingly, Turnbull, supported by the Albanese-di Natale alliance, followed in her wake.

And while comment is free, facts are sacred. In her rage against the ‘uselesss’, ‘grating’ and ‘entirely reprehensible’ members of the royal family, she says British taxpayers can’t be expected to pay for ‘this mob’ much longer, repeating an untruth pushed even by almost all of the  ‘responsible’ media.

The fact is the royal family is self-funded, subsidising taxpayers by paying an effective flat rate tax reduced to 75 per cent. As for Prince Andrew, he is one of those few who have been prepared to lay down their life for their country. Yet  to Ms Albrechtsen he’s no more than ‘a supercilious boorish nob’ who imagines he can ‘wangle’ his way out of this ‘most dishonourable scandal’.

Prince Andrew was indeed naive to think that he could reason with a snarling media pack with the scent of blood up their nostrils. To dissuade them from applying the #MeToo principle was always impossible. This now overrides the presumption of innocence. In its place we have guilt by accusation, especially when the accused is white, male and heterosexual. Add ‘royal’ and there’ll never be any redemption.

The prince is also attacked for not virtue-signaling by expressing appropriate victim compassion, as uselessly  formulaic and as excruciatingly cringemaking as expressing respect for the traditional owners.

The prince would have been well-advised to have done no more than deny the accusations from one Virginia Roberts Guiffre. Alternatively, he could have done what the celebrated American lawyer Professor Alan Dershowitz did when Roberts Guiffre accused him: he counter-sued her.

Dershowitz was able to demonstrate brilliantly that not one of the seven instances of alleged sexual relations could ever have happened, as he reveals in his recent book Guilt by Accusation, as well as that on her own employment records and her own statements, Roberts Guiffre was close to nineteen when she says Epstein asked her to ‘entertain’ friends.

These facts have no effect on the BBC or the rest of the media pack for whom guilt by accusation is as set in stone as were the Ten Commandments Moses brought down from Mount Sinai.

The FBI and other US authorities are said to be investigating Epstein’s activities. If ever they were to seek a statement from the prince, he would be strongly advised to do this in London. The FBI has shown itself quite prepared to entrap witnesses such as General Flynn and others and to fabricate the case for obtaining court orders to wiretap Donald Trump.

The real action in the US is about extracting rivers of gold from the Epstein estate. Being purely civil claims, there is no reason why Prince Andrew should give evidence there.

Nor should anybody take any notice whatsoever of the American lawyers  involved, as the BBC and others are so unwisely doing .Those lawyers are doing what we were taught at law school to be grossly unethical, receiving a percentage, no doubt generous, of the many millions they hope to recover. And in another corruption of the civil justice model inherited from the British, American lawyers can make no-risk offers to potential clients. This is because costs are not normally awarded against losing plaintiffs.

So when they speak in the media, the lawyers are not just speaking for their clients, they are speaking for the many millions they plan to recoup from the Epstein estate.

As for the suggestion that all of this is grounds for changing our constitution, not only is this foolish, it is just not the right time.

It is not as if our mainly republican politicians are so competent they can afford yet another distraction from the urgent problems they alone and not the climate have created – their failure to harvest water, doing to agriculture what they’ve already done to fishing and manufacturing, giving us among the world’s most expensive electricity, leaving us defenceless, running down educational standards and the mismanaging of immigration.

But if the republican bandwagon were to go ahead, the mainstream media wouldn’t be able to resist jumping aboard, thus crowding out reporting on other important issues.

In any event, Australians have already said ‘no’ and did so in all states and 72 per cent of electorates. The reason was they smelt a very big rat. The ACM slogan ‘Say No to the politicians’ republic’ did not so much  change their minds; it confirmed what they were already thinking. And when Australians say ‘no’ they mean no.

They’ve been asked to vote more than once on nine subjects, on some up to five times. Most involved more power to Canberra. They never once changed their minds. Never once.

Most of these referendums won’t be run again. Politicians and activist judges have ensured that. The Constitution has been effectively changed not only  without the people’s consent but, what is outrageous and an assault on democracy, against the people’s very clearly expressed wishes.

This explains most of the problems we’re experiencing today. To reverse  this outrage and stop it happening again should be at the very top of the constitutional reform agenda, not another fake republic.

And as for Prince Andrew, he must now realise it’s pointless to try to reason with an out-of-control media pack.

And he shouldn’t go near the United States. Just ask Conrad Black on the way the US criminal justice system can be used to punish the innocent.

Prince Andrew could even sue, although I wouldn’t recommend it.

If he did, he could engage no better lawyer than Professor Dershowitz.

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