This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
I thought it might be worth updating this old thread as the infamous "black spider memos" written by Prince Charles have now been released. It turns out the letters are actually typed to a large extent and only include a small amount of handwriting rather than being completely handwritten as the phrase "black spider memos" tends to imply.
The subject matter of the letters also turns out to be much tamer than critics of Greenery and Prince Charles' role in promoting it were expecting. My view of the letters is similar to that expressed by James Delingpole in this article:
Rather than Charles' public statements on such things as climate change, sustainability and climate sceptics representing just "the tip of the iceberg" of what he has been doing behind the scenes for years in regard to lobbying ministers, he doesn't appear to go on about Green stuff much at all in his private communications. He takes the anti-Green position of being in favour of a badger cull, and he is more interested in the plight of the Patagonian toothfish than he is in the polar bear.
It makes me wonder what Charles is up to. In public it's almost as though he's running his own personal Green NGO.
One of the top AGW sceptic and anti-Green blogs in UK in the 00s was the "An Englishman's Castle" blog, run by a Wiltshire farmer called Tim Daw (the blog now seems to have shut down). As I vaguely remember it, Daw had a different view about Charles' promotion of Greenery to that of similar bloggers. He thought Charles was less enthusiastic about Greenery than he appeared to be in public, and was simply ingratiating himself with a set of people who he was betting might be running the country in the future. There is some supporting evidence of Charles doing that sort of ingratiation thing in his youth, where he supposedly attempted to join the "Cambridge University Labour Club" in the late 1960s, but was talked out of it by some university official.
Charles may still get into a bit of trouble with the letters from some quarters. He will have irritated the Green lobby with his call for a badger cull and the left-leaning scientific community represented by New Scientist with his lobbying for alternative medicine.
I wrote to the PM once, and got a reply telling me that my comments had been noted and that regrettably they were unable, due to the volume of correspondence, to reply individually to all letters received.
I took that to mean that my correspondence had found its way to the really important cylindrical filing cabinet directly under the desk.
Shouldn't they do the same thing with Chuck, only adding that he doesn't get to vote and should surely be aware of that fact?
Charles has a lot of opinions, some of which I applaud.
However, in the green area he is perhaps a dupe of the powerful NGOs and a little too credulous.
But his letters to ministers?
Why should they be an embarrassment since he and ALL the parties seem to be obsessed with the idea that we are heading for a global meltdown.
On the other hand, the idea that the monarch should be politically neutral is a bit of a myth. I have no doubt they are not supposed to be card carrying party members but I have to think that none of the more recent governments can have met with Royal Approval. The trick is not to show it in public but I suspect the Queen was not a fan of Tony and the Wicked witch and I can't think she is a particular fan of the current PM, his deputy or their hangers on.
The queen was a fan of Churchills. But then, he was a fan of Monarchy.
So for Prince Charles to be out of line he would have to have been saying something quite remarkable.
Frankly. to paraphrase WC Fields, Anyone who hates Polticians and Government can't be all bad.
Currently I am residing in Greece. You know how when you have white paint everywhere and it all ages uniformly and you take a picture of the wall and see the contrast, that is what living in Greece does. It shows the contrast between what is and what was. Slowly, one spot fine after another, one more micromanaging moneymaking government criminalisation after another Britain has lost its democracy and become little more than a police state. Whatever its monetary problems in Greece people seem to live a life far freer than in the UK. Laws and regulations seem to be optional and no one really bothers to enforce them, least of all the petty-fogging EU regulations.
SO I would realy hope Charles partisanship is revealed to be a condemnation of all these petty rules and fines but I suspect not.
If Charlie's letters are full of pitifull admiration for the mess the government ministers are making of things, especially climate policy, then perhaps it is time to jump a generation.