Charles Moore Charles Moore

The Spectator’s notes | 11 June 2015

Plus: David Cameron for foreign secretary; the cant of the Living Wage; and growing centralisation in Scotland

Two beautiful volumes in a cloth-bound case reach me. They are Speeches and Articles by HRH The Prince of Wales 1968-2012, published by University of Wales Press. The explanatory list of abbreviations and acronyms alone gives a charming sense of the range of subjects covered — ‘Foot and Mouth Disease, Foreign Press Association, Forest Stewardship Council … Myalgic Encephalopathy, Member of Parliament … Non-Commissioned Officer … Not In My Back Yard! … Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil’. Among the many speeches on the environment, however, I cannot find his speech in Rio de Janeiro in March 2009, entitled ‘Less Than 100 Months To Act’. There Prince Charles warned that if we did not act by July 2017, ‘we risk catastrophic climate change’. Such change ‘calls into question humanity’s continued survival on the planet’. The world therefore had to reduce its CO2 emissions by that date, he said. Every year, at this season, this column has made it its solemn duty to keep this prediction before our eyes. Global CO2 emissions since 2009 have increased by over 2 per cent a year. So we’ve very nearly had it.

One of the many things David Cameron said when he thought he would not win the general election, and therefore would not be held to it, was that he would give up his party’s leadership before the next one. If he does so voluntarily, not forced out by defeat or jealous colleagues, it will be a great accomplishment of self-discipline. It should be rewarded by ending the stupid custom that has grown up in which the only way for an ex-prime minister is out. Mr Cameron would be an excellent Foreign Secretary in the manner of Alec Douglas-Home under Edward Heath.

The Living Wage is a perfect piece of cant.

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