Royal fail

Jun. 13th, 2009 01:06 pm
mirrorshard: (Default)
[personal profile] mirrorshard
Looks like Prince Charles is being an idiot again.

Summary: Foreign firm Qatari Diar commissions Lord Rogers to design a block of flats. Charlie writes in to complain, probably in green ink. Qatari Diar withdraws planning application.

Dammit, I want attractive modern buildings on my city's skyline. I don't want a half-arsed pastiche job that looks like it belongs in some third-rate Lowry knockoff.

He'd be a lovely chap if only he gave up the princing job. (And the duking job, and everything else he got from his mum.)

Date: 2009-06-13 12:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It makes me so cross when people say having a monarchy doesn't matter because the Royals don't have any power. This is one good example of why.

Date: 2009-06-13 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think he'd be ok if he had a few advisors who knew what they were talking about and who could persuade him to sound like he did too, and if the media stopped regarding him as entertaining filler for spare pages in the absence of more important news.

I've got no problem with him continuing to be Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay, Earl of Chester and Carrick, Baron Renfrew, etc, nor with him subsequently becoming king. Even if he does nothing else for the rest of his life but ramble about nanotechnology doomsday scenarios and the evils of modern architecture, he'd still be nowhere near as scary a head of state as anyone who might be elected to the post: the concept of President Blair (or, for that matter, Supreme Chancellor Blunkett) fills me with considerable levels of fear.

I'd like him to display (and be portrayed as having) rather more nous, though. He does talk sense from time to time - he was promoting organic and sustainable farming, and the importance of ecological issues for years before they became mainstream. (Granted, he has his fair share of mad opinions too - he's championed the cause of "alternative medicine" on occasion, for example.)

Date: 2009-06-13 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Which isn't to say that it's not a big problem when he does do stuff like this, of course. He needs to start reining in his personal opinions (or at least expressing them in more appropriate ways) in time for when he starts, as it were, reigning.

Date: 2009-06-15 11:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
For my money, this is a good illustration of the hatstand principle. Simply stated, the hatstand principle goes like this: if any public figure were to be replaced with a hatstand without loss of actual usefulness, they should be.

Date: 2009-06-16 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There are a lot of people ahead of HRH Sir Prince Charles in the hatstand queue, though - most people on television, for example. Also my MP, who is utterly useless as regards democratic representation goes - he invariably uses the "as a member of the Government I can't vote against this bill" excuse whenever I've written to him, although his claim to be a member of the Government is stretching a point rather, as he's really just a PPS to a very junior minister. (Essentially, he's a backbencher who does photocopying and makes the coffee.)

Were we to apply the hatstand principle consistently (and I think you'd have to, to maintain some level of impartiality) we'd lose most of our elected officials (at both local and national level), and at least 75% of television programmes would disappear overnight. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, of course, I'm just saying that it would have wider ramifications than getting rid of a few members of the royal family.

(To be honest, I'm not sure I wouldn't be better off being replaced with a hatstand - certainly some of the exam scripts I'm marking at the moment at least call into question the efficacy of my teaching...)

Also, I'm not sure that a hatstand would have set up a charity ('s_Trust) which does quite so much good for disadvantaged young people.

Which isn't, by any means, to say that I approve of him using his constitutional position to do something like this. But this sort of thing is being done all the time, albeit usually with less media coverage, by people with power, money and influence.

Would it have been any more or less ok if it had been, say, Alan Sugar who had blocked the development? What about a multi-millionaire you hadn't heard of? The government, or one of their appointed officials? A big multinational corporation?

It's bad, and he shouldn't have done it, but I just can't quite shake the feeling that it's getting more media coverage than it would have done if it'd been someone else, if it hadn't provided everyone with an opportunity to kick the royal family again.

If, say, the application had been blocked because Sir Robert Cheesegrater, Chairman and CEO of Cheesegrater Industries PLC, had written to the Qatari royal family suggesting that they might take their multi-billion-pound sprocket manufacturing contract to Saudi Arabia instead, unless something was done, then I don't think we'd have heard anything about it - even though that sort of thing is going on all the time. Lord Rogers would have (rightly) grumbled, and George Monbiot would have written something indignant six months down the line, when the details eventually came to light, but it'd all have been buried away on page 12 of the Guardian or the Independent - the tabloids would instead be using that space for badly-photoshopped pictures of Prince Harry and whoever they've decided he's going out with this week.

Date: 2009-06-13 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There were a lot more complaints that just the Prince's. Apparently there were hundreds just from the locality.

Date: 2009-06-13 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's perfectly normal to write to the planning department, though, or even to the firm's Department of Being Concerned. The one who could write to the MD and get listened to, however, is the Prince.

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