Monday, August 12, 2013

More royal lobbying in the UK

The fundamental bargain of the British constitutional system is simple: the royal family keeps out of politics, and Parliament lets them keep their palaces (and their heads). But Prince Charles apparently thinks it doesn't apply to him:

An analysis of palace records showing that Prince Charles has held private meetings with cabinet ministers at least 36 times since the 2010 general election was seized on by campaigners for a republic who said it showed he was "a political operator and businessman with direct access to government".

Charles has met the prime minister, David Cameron, seven times and in many cases held meetings with ministers who have responsibility for areas in which he has taken a particular interest, according to the Daily Mail.


Details of the meetings with senior political figures in the Westminster and Cardiff governments, including why they were held and what was discussed, have not been made public, in line with a convention of secrecy about communication between both the Queen and the heir to the throne and government ministers.

In a statement, Clarence House said: "The Prince of Wales has a right, indeed it is his duty, to communicate privately with the government on any matter he chooses, to bring his unique perspective and reflect the many issues people raise with him personally on his extensive engagements around the country."

Except if he was an ordinary rich person seeking policy concessions to his financial or ideological advantage - and there's no question that that is exactly what he is doing - his lobbying would have to be disclosed. Instead, it is being covered up in order to preserve the increasingly threadbare lie of the political neutrality of the monarchy.

This sort of secret lobbying simply has no place in a democracy. Neither does the covert wielding of power by an unelected, unaccountable hereditary elite. If Britain wants to truly call itself a democracy, it needs to put an end to its monarchy and strip them of any constitutional role. There should be only one source of political power in the UK: its people.