Friday, 28 November 2008

The Prince and his critic - who is the real kink?
Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Australian rides in with a new attack on Prince Charles. This time it is Frank Devine who decrees Kinky King Charlie to get our republic across the line. “When Prince Charles turned 60 on November 14 he expressed a wish to speak out on public issues when he becomes king. Since Charles has a lot of kinky green convictions and almost Keatingesque views on architecture and urban planning, this gives one pause. … Whose public issues does he plan to speak out on? I suppose English issues will be OK within reason, and maybe Welsh ones, since he has put in a long stint as prince of this fading rugby power. But no English king in his right mind would speak out on Scottish issues, such as devolution or Sean Connery …

What did The Prince of Wales actually say? Devine leaves us in the dark and doesn’t go into details. In a BBC documentary broadcast on the occasion of his 60th birthday the following sentences, which could have led Frank Devine to his conclusions, were said according to British media: “He conceded that many people thought that he 'meddled' in issues but he preferred to call it "convening power" by bringing together people who could change things.

Asked whether he would continue to be outspoken on big issues such as the environment when he succeeded to the throne, he said: "I don't know, I don't know - probably not the same way. But I like to think perhaps that after all this, eventually people might realise that some of the things I've been trying to do aren't all that mad and that I might still have some 'convening power' that could be put to use.

How could Frank Devine interpret these statements as a will for political interferece he seems to fear so much?

Or was it Mr. Busybody aka Jonathan Dimbleby who claimed in The Daily Telegraph: “The Prince will break with the tradition which has seen monarchs, including the Queen, remain publicly silent on matters of national and international importance.” There is nothing that would justify Frank Devine’s assumption, that as King of Australia Prince Charles would be a partisan Monarch. Jonathan Dimbleby is a book author who uses every microphone, every TV camera to put himself in the limelight. Since when is he a senior political analyst or advisor to The Prince of Wales? For Frank Devine he must be his master’s voice.

However, the first lines of Devine’s opinion piece show the direction of his attack and give us a clue to what the real worry of Frank Devine and his media moghul were. Devine accuses Prince Charles of “kinky green convictions and almost Keatingesque views on architecture and urban planning

Prince Charles is passionate about fighting climate change. To describe his worries as kinky can only come from someone who believes, Kevin Rudd could be successful in reducing Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions. Prince Charles is strongly against genetically manipulated (GM) crops – as far as I can see, this subject is heavily discussed in Australia as well. The Murdoch paper’s are not in the forefront to stop GM crops. Why not listen to what the Prince has to say, before you ridicule him as kinky? This goes hand in hand with Prince Charles’ organic farming and his new agricultural methods, which could only help Australian farmers to tackle climate change and preserve export markets. True, Prince Charles has not love lost for modern architecture, but who really has besides the professionals?

Devine therefore hopes: “So tenuous is monarchism's grip on Australians that the personal popularity of the throne's incumbent will probably have a major influence on our deciding whether we want any more of the kings and queens stuff.” Fortunately it will not be the editorialists of this country who decide about the Monarchy and King Charles, but the Australian people. However, the millionaires are eager to put one of their mates on a presidential chair.

After all, who is Frank Devine?
According to his own website he has been employed by a variety of Murdoch media for a long time. Green Left is not very happy about their republican, heavily pro-nuclear power comrade in arms: “Frank Devine, the right-wing journalist from the Australian newspaper, gave a rant about press reporting of nuclear issues and the Luddite zombies, frauds and zealots in the anti-nuclear movement. Undoubtedly the highlight of the conference was seeing Devine fall off the stage after giving his talk.”

On the other hand, ultra pro-big business republicans like Gerald Henderson of The Sydney Institute praised a fellow conservative: “Once upon a time there were few, if any, conservative voices in the Australian media. Not any more. Now there is a plethora of political conservatives. To name names – Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Frank Devine, Miranda Devine, P.P. McGuinness, Christopher Pearson, Paul Sheehan, Imre Salusinsky."

The Prince of Wales is ahead of his time, but people realize that his ideas are a welcome contribution to the pressing problems of our time. Conservatives hate him for that and progressive people shy away from accepting him as a useful ally. This will not stop him to speak out. And we need his voice loud and clear.

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