The prince over the twatter

Not that anyone believed that the Royals were really politically neutral anyway. The only other institution which has an entire department of the BBC devoted to fawning over it is the Labour party in Scotland. They’re deep in mourning over at Pacific Quay. Following the party’s annihilation at the polls last week, rumour has it that John Boothman is writing letters in spindly black writing to government ministers asking for a state funeral to be presented by Nicholas Witchell.

The letters were all written between 2004 and 2005, when Alistair Darling was Scottish Secretary of State. But the Prince Over the Twatter didn’t write to Alistair, he only wrote on topics he cares about, like Patagonian toothfish, the albatross around his neck, murdering badgers, and homoeopathic medicine. This tells us all we need to know about how much he cares about Scotland, but then he’s not exactly Prince Popular here. Seems like the feeling is mutual. Alistair must have been gutted, because he’s the brown noser’s brown noser, and he positively leaps at the chance to fawn over arch Conservatives, as he proved at the Scottish Tory party conference.

The main thing to come out of these letters however is that they are very like the telly coverage of the Royal wedding or the birth of a Royal sprog. Deeply boring, narrow in focus, and entirely predictable, rather like the man himself. Shame really, because we were promised explosive revelations. The last time that a major hype failed to live up to expectations was Labour’s election campaign. Possibly Jim Murphy’s name was redacted from the Spider Memos. It would explain a lot.

Apart from telling us that we don’t need no stinking badgers, another subject of immense concern to the man who talks to plants was the UK’s sufficiency in vegetables. You’d think he only needed to look at his own courtiers and hangers on the realise there was no real shortage there. As long as we have a Royal family, the UK will never be short of brainless ornamental hardy perennials. We have Jim Murphy for that sort of thing too, although he’s more of a persistent weed which you can’t get rid of even after dousing East Renfrewshire with electoral paraquat.

We won’t get to see any other letters written by Charles, or any other member of the Royal family, to the government. The government changed the law so that any letters from Royals are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. The Royals have a legal right to lobby government ministers on any legislation which has an impact on their own interests, financial or otherwise. But we’re not allowed to know about it. We just have to pay for it.

Right now there’s a slew of bool moothed nonentities on the telly defending the right of Charles to write to the government in an attempt to get laws changed to suit himself or to tout for jobs for his pals. He’s got just as much right to write to government ministers as anyone else, the bool mooths brown nose. Which must mean that any random punter who writes to a government minister about Nissen huts in Antarctica has an equal right to a detailed personally written and signed reply which covers every point raised in great detail and isn’t just a form letter giving the brush off… Oh, wait.

The bool moothed ones tell us that the letters merely show how informed Charles is and how good it is that he’s expressing concern. Which makes you wonder why successive governments fought toothfish and badger claw to keep them secret. They’re simply the sort of concerns anyone who reads the Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail might have, said a bool moothed type, answering the previous question. They’re not the sort of concerns that anyone who reads more widely than the right wing press might have. The fact we’re faced with a future head of state whose world view is determined by the contents of the Telegraph and the Mail is something of a worry, and not just if you’re Scottish.

The bool moothed apologists have not noticed the irony that they’re defending the supposed neutrality of British institution which is anything but neutral on the BBC, another British institution which is supposedly neutral but which isn’t. We’re living in Narnia, a land of make believe where story telling passes for news. And that’s precisely why a significant number of us want independence – so we can live in a grown up country.

I want to live in a country where we don’t have to fight long and expensive legal cases in order to discover what a future unelected head of state is lobbying for. I want to live in a country where the public broadcaster reflects the discussions and opinions of the public, it doesn’t seek to form them or channel them in pre-approved directions.

We’re stuck with Prince Charles, at least until independence, but we can do something about our other not so neutral British institution before that. Despite the many shortcomings and the obvious bias of the BBC’s McTernan spider memos, we need a publicly funded broadcaster. The Tories are about to embark on an all out assault on the principle of public funding for the BBC, and that’s why we need to ensure that broadcasting is a devolved matter. Then we can have a public broadcaster that really does reflect the views of the Scottish public, and protect it from the Tories at the same time.

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18 comments on “The prince over the twatter

  1. […] The prince over the twatter. […]

  2. bjsalba says:

    What gripes me most is the taxpayer money the Government spent in fighting this. How do I do an FOI request to find out?

    From what I have heard, the contents are entirely predictable as will be the folks who will get all bent out of shape about it. We knew his opinions on most of this anyway, so what’s all the song and dance about?

    Should we set up a sweepstakes on how long this story will run for? I wonder if the Guardian will think it worth the money they have spent.

  3. Mary Vasey says:

    Aye the usual, unedifying tripe. The only interesting thing was all those once upon a time, communists who are now “your most humble servant”
    Now finding out which of the royals caused the paedo files to become a matter of security!
    Brilliant post
    fae your unhumble, equal (well nae in great writing)

  4. Saor Alba says:

    The BBC had their chance to be honest and reflect the discussions and opinions of the public and failed miserably. They are not fit for purpose and we need to think in terms of a new publicly funded broadcaster under devolved legislation. The BBC have simply served their masters, to the detriment if truth.

  5. macart763 says:

    Electoral paraquat… 😀 Love it.

    Yep, broadcasting would be on my wish list too. 🙂

  6. Gavin C Barrie says:

    Gawd man, you’ve despatched Magrit away from public gaze now its the esteemed blue (?) blooded symbol of The United Kingdom’s steadfastness in keeping the peasantry in place that gets your interest and phlegm.

    Put yourself in Nicholas Witchell’s shoes, and pity. Upon arriving at the Pearly Gates and with great expectations and hope in his heart ( maybe should be soul?).

    “Name? Nicholas Witchell. And what did you achieve in your earthly life? And how did you use the talents bestowed upon you?”.

    “Well I was a nonentity following and reporting on a family of privileged nonentities and ensuring nothing of any interest was ever reported to the peasantry”.

    “And why did you follow this path of nonentying? For money. And where is your money now?”.

  7. Marjory says:

    Liz and Charles don’t just have lobbying power, they both have power of veto over government legislation which affects their private interests before it goes through parliament. We’re not able to find out when they’ve used it but we do know Liz used her power of veto at the behest of Tony Blair when there was a private member’s bill going to go through parliament to change the power to go to war from a royal prerogative power to a parliamentary one.

  8. Only when broadcasting is devolved can we begin the delousing of BBC Scotland.

  9. Exterminating badgers to end bovine TB.

    Slippery slope. Next it’ll be: “Save a tree; kill a beaver”

  10. gavin says:

    Just as wee Chinese lassies got their wee feet constricted, so it is that Royal weans get their emotions and brains constricted, to allow them to function in their goldfish bowl life. So I don’t really care about Charlie or Harry Hewit etc, but anyone who picked Camilla’s auld beaver as his first choice, just isnae richt wired.
    I would much rather we got access to the BBC/ Labour/Tory/Lib Dumb correspondence. There will be many more fish to catch in THAT pond.
    Prince Smurphula the Undead, still running the dead Party. Kez in Garbo mode, hiding behind her specs.
    I cant wait till the picks for next years list are made—-Magrit will be top , just after Jimbo.
    It’ll be up to us to put a figurative stake through their hearts, next time !

    • JGedd says:

      As a long-time republican, I agree with you in lack of interest in royalty but sadly find your comment regarding Camilla, misogynist and unnecessary. I find it disappointing when someone with whom I might be on the same page politically, seems to be unaware that a comment like this, presumably attacking an older woman simply for her age and using sexualised language, may be seen as sexist.

      • gavin says:

        I apologise for actual and perceived misogyny, ageism and sexism.
        But I don’t admire the conduct of Charlie or Camilla in their ” affaire”, while a younger, isolated, and much more fragile person, went through a great turmoil at the heart of the Royal machine. Charlie then used his position to distance Camilla’s husband ( and Charlie’s alleged friend) from his wife, and Camilla tried to pretend to befriend Charlie’s wife.
        They are two of a social kind who probably deserve each other, but I am at fault in using a cheap sexual jibe to attack them, when they exhibit selfish personal greed, heartlessness and ruling-class solidarity as their badge of normality.

        • JGedd says:

          Very well said. Than you for your correction.

          As you say, their reprehensible behaviour then would have been condemnation enough but though at the time there were actual murmurings in the Tory press about the whole scandal undermining the monarchy, the powerful royal lobby have since managed to roll the whole thing back. and they are now an essential part of the whole celebrity cult. It was a moment, but it passed, unfortunately.

          Personally, I just ignore the whole circus.

  11. JGedd says:

    The UK establishment in which royalty is firmly entrenched, is like a creaking edifice with useless gargoyles and dotty servants performing shadowy roles. This Gormenghastian structure is asking for light to be shone into its dark corners and humour to blast through its cobwebbed corridors.

    But where are the satirists? Our present day comedians seem only too ready to be court jesters and to amuse the establishment. One Eddie Izzard – though it was some years ago now – in a stage performance, made humour out of the fact that he often forgot that we had a royal family until ruefully reminded by Americans abroad, whose gushing was met by his resigned, embarrassed shrug. Now we have Eddie joining the establishment with his bladder on a stick (or is that balloon on an Irn Bru crate?)

    Managed to catch an interview on CH4 news, where Joan Smith, a republican, was joined by a royalist whose medieval ideas of royalty she met with mocking and justified humour. So ridiculous did this relatively young, fusty defender of royal privilege become, that she ended laughing outright and Jon Snow, too, allowed a grin. The royalist looked deeply uncomfortable when met with an outburst of genuine laughter at his attitudes. The whole royalty cult should have collapsed long ago under the weight of its own ridiculousness. Like Eddie Izzard of yesteryear, I’m slightly embarrassed that we still have it.

  12. Paul he is Prince of the Piles (isles) a title we should releive him off.

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