By Liam Finn
Revelations published this weekend mean it’s time to allow Charles Windsor to stand for Parliament – for the good of the country, the monarchy, and himself.
The Sunday Times has revealed that Mr Windsor has been planting moles in government departments. The newspaper reports that his office was “reluctant to disclose details” of why his employees had been working at the Cabinet Office and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) without ministers’ knowledge.
The news is just the latest example of Charles’ political meddling.
Since the 2010 election, Mr Windsor has held 53 meetings with ministers behind closed doors. An eight-year legal battle has been fought to force release of his letters to government members. A proposed development at Chelsea Barracks was stopped in 2009 after Charles wrote in private to the ruler of Qatar (whose company was in charge of the project) – anyone else would have had to object using the democratic planning system.
Charles is by no means the only member of his family to be politically-active. His brother, Andrew, has also been accused of lobbying, having been forced to step down from his trade ambassador role in 2011. His mother’s opposition to Scottish independence is well-known. The BBC apologised last autumn for having revealed Elizabeth’s involvement in the Abu Hamza row.
As things stand, the only way of avoiding a constitutional crisis is for Charles to stand for election as an MP.
One reason for its “popularity” is the myth that the Windsors are above politics, that they are not politicians. But the more revelations are published about Charles’ interference, the more that people will see that he is a politician – a career lobbyist exercising real power. In theory, we can get rid of ordinary politicians; with Charles, we have no such “privilege”.
Another reason for the monarchy’s survival is the belief that the Windsors have no power. Charles has been asked for permission over some laws. The biggest threat will come when Charles becomes King and inherits the monarch’s power to veto laws passed by Parliament. Although convention dictates that the monarch’s powers to dissolve Parliament, appoint ministers, and wage war are exercised only on “the advice” of (her) government, there is no legal obstacle to Charles acting alone. These problems wouldn’t exist if he were elected.
It would also benefit the country for Charles to stand for election.
We could choose to support his crusade against modern architecture, or his defence of alternative medicine. We could benefit from what his private office calls his “unique perspective”, superior to that of any other parliamentary candidate not born of the Windsor womb. We could see him outwit expert opponents in debates and committees with his “important insights, perspectives and knowledge built over 40 years of experience”.
Above all, Charles himself would benefit from seeking a parliamentary seat.
He would be able to speak out on any issue he wished, instead of having his “head shot off all the time” by those who object to him meddling behind the scenes. And why shouldn’t he be able to campaign on issues he cares about? Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. To deprive him of such a right is cruel. What he should be deprived of is the opportunity to interfere with governmental decisions in a way to which those who do not share Windsor DNA cannot.
So there it is. It’s in everyone’s interests for Charles Windsor to seek election to Parliament. If he’s as popular and intelligent as he’s made out to be, he’ll walk it.