Monday, June 30, 2014

So much for the "neutral" monarchy

The myth of the neutral monarchy has been looking increasingly threadbare of late. And over the weekend, it got another nail in its coffin:

Prince Charles lobbied Tony Blair's government to expand grammar schools, also exerting pressure over issues including GM food and alternative medicines, according to interviews with ex-ministers collected for a BBC documentary on the prince's political activism.

The prince openly tried to change the mind of the then education secretary, David Blunkett, on grammar schools, Blunkett told The Royal Activist, a Radio 4 programme broadcast on Sunday.

"I would explain that our policy was not to expand grammar schools, and he didn't like that," said Blunkett, who held the post from 1997 to 2001. "He was very keen that we should go back to a different era where youngsters had what he would have seen as the opportunity to escape from their background, whereas I wanted to change their background."

"The monarch stays out of politics" is the central bargain of Westminster democracy. If the monarchy isn't interested in keeping to it, then its time we did away with the institution and consigned it to the dustbin of history where it belongs.