I do wish the Prince of Wales weren’t such a terrible prat because then I wouldn’t have to say it in print and quite ruin my chances of a knighthood. But he is a prat. A dangerous prat at that — as he reminded us yet again just the other day in a speech he gave to ‘business leaders’ at St James’s Palace about what he thinks is happening with ‘climate change’.
He said: ‘It has been profoundly depressing to witness the way the so-called climate sceptics are apparently able to intimidate all sorts of people from adopting the precautionary measures necessary to avert environmental collapse. For too long we have treated the planet like a perpetual cash machine which doles out money without there ever being any need to check the bank balance. But now finally the money is running out.’
There are so many idiocies, false assumptions, inversions of the truth and malevolent yearnings in just that one paragraph that I’m not sure where to begin. The phrase ‘so-called climate sceptics’, for example. What exactly is the Prince suggesting that the rational, decent empiricists who oppose global climate change alarmism ought to be called instead? Is ‘deniers’ perhaps the word he’s straining for? Or would he prefer something a little more robust? Untermenschen, maybe.
And these ‘all sorts of people’ who have been intimidated, surely he can’t mean those corrupt, mendacious, bullying scientists who were exposed in the Climategate emails breaching FOI laws, fantasising about beating up their opponents, conspiring to smear scientists who disagreed with them and to close down journals which published their work. Sounds like those thugs are quite capable of looking after themselves, not to mention their generous grant funding.
The ones being intimidated, surely, are the very ones opposing those ‘precautionary’ measures — on the not unreasonable grounds that the scientific evidence for the need to introduce them remains piteously thin. So oughtn’t they be the ones that the Prince of Wales sticks up for: the courageous seekers-after-truth who have sacrificed career advancement and easy funding for the greater good of science and mankind?
But perhaps the dodgiest bit of all is this assertion that there’s going to be an ‘environmental collapse’. Says who and on what evidence? If it’s catastrophic and unprecedented Anthropogenic Global Warming he’s talking about, well, the case remains entirely unproven. ‘Global warming’ stopped happening in 1998, so that effectively scuppers the argument about man-made CO2 being to blame. The widely recognised existence of the Medieval Warm Period scuppers the ‘unprecedented’ part. And the ‘catastrophic’ bit exists only in the wild imaginations of computer modellers whose ‘projections’ have about as much connection with observed reality as Prince Charles’s biofuel-powered Aston Martin does with the average family four-door saloon.
Quite a few of my friends are friends of the Prince of Wales and whenever I try pointing out what a poisonous loon he is they inevitably rise loyally to his defence, the usual line being that he is a fundamentally decent fellow who just happens to surround himself with ‘yes men’, because he’s a bit of a spoilt brat, and with sinister gurus whose advice he takes far too seriously because he’s not all that intellectually capable of independent thought.
I can believe all this. Like Æthelred the ‘Unready’ before him, Charles’s problem is that he is unraed — ill-advised. But does this nuance make any material difference to the case against him? Hardly. Whether the Prince of Wales acts idiotically under his own steam or whether he does so as the puppet of his sinister gurus is really neither here nor there. What matters is the damage the man is capable of doing.
And unfortunately because of who he is and what he represents that potential damage is considerable. Would any of those ‘business leaders’ have turned up to listen to a speech in Croydon civic centre by a semi-employed, polo-playing, butter-dodging eco-freak with a crappy 2.2 degree in anthropology, archeology and history? Nah. But make the venue St James’s Palace and that speaker the future King of England (and ‘Defender of Faith’, wretched dhimmi that he is) and suddenly all those brown-tongued corporate rats can’t get up that putrescent drainpipe quick enough.
Why am I having to say this stuff? WHY? It’s not like I’m a violent republican or anything. Au contraire, my fervent belief in the monarchy is one of the few ideological bones of contention I have with, say, Mick Hume or Claire Fox. They think the Queen should go. I think she’s one of the best things ever: decent, principled, stoical, kind, wise, dignified, the living embodiment of everything that was or is great about Britain, and a vital bulwark against the almost unimaginable horror that some men do call, in appalled whispers, ‘President Tony Blair’.
But one of the many reasons why the Queen is such a great Queen is that she understands the meaning of ‘constitutional monarchy’. We all have a rough idea of the splendid and enduring British values which she stands for — writing thank-you letters, cooked breakfasts, cherishing the old empire, being allowed to ride on your own land without some bothersome safety Nazi insisting you wear a hard-hat, etc — but because she never states her views explicitly she never runs into controversy or risks alienating those whose views are diametrically opposed to hers. This makes her the perfect unifying figurehead.
Her dismal heir, on the other hand, seems determined to rule over us like 1649 never happened, sowing division and contention among his subjects before his reign has even begun with his shrill, half-baked views on everything from modern architecture and GM food to homeopathic medicine and climate change. Some of these opinions you may agree with, but then even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. And the point, anyway, is that we shouldn’t be placed in a position where we have to take a view on what Prince Charles thinks. (Or what his sinister puppet masters tell him to think he thinks.) He’s supposed to be above creating such petty factionalism. Did his Cambridge tutors not explain to him why it was that we cut off his Mk I predecessor’s head?
I might have a scintilla more respect for Prince Charles’s, er, bold, refreshing outspokenness if he were to subject his ill-digested opinions to the crucible of open debate. But of course he never would because he’s way too grand and because anyway he’d get eaten alive. I’ll explain exactly why he’d get eaten alive in a future column. Suffice to say that the kind of neo-Malthusianism to which Prince Charles has become prey — no doubt with much input from deep green fanatics like the Hon Sir Jonathon ‘Wormtongue’ Porritt, who may or may not have written that truly appalling St James’s Palace speech — appears terribly convincing on the level of gut feeling but is entirely confounded by the last 2,000 years of history.
No, it is not climate change sceptics who, as Charles would have it, are playing ‘Russian roulette with the future of our children’. The real danger are those neo-Malthusian loons who, on no scientific basis, are planning to deny our children the economic growth which would bring them jobs, security, material comfort and happiness. Yes, ‘Sir’, as I believe I’m meant to call you. I mean you, you great princely prat!
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated July 24, 2010