I agree with almost nothing UKIP leader Nigel Farage says. Until recently, that sentence would not have included the ‘almost’. But when Farage yesterday condemned Prince Charles’ incautious remarks about Vladimir Putin he stood out as the only British political leader of note to do so. Moreover, Mr Farage’s comments highlighted the anti-establishment appeal of his odious party.
In the latest of a long line of diplomatic gaffes in which he has offended many (not least the Chinese political leadership in the late 90s) Charles deployed a lazy and wooden headed analogy in comparing Vladimir Putin’s expansionism to that of Adolf Hitler.
Let’s not waste time in going over why this was a stupid thing to say, other than to acknowledge the sacrifice of the 27 million Soviets who died fighting Nazism.
But that’s not the worst of it for me. The fact is that this is the latest in a long line of political interventions by a man who has no democratic mandate whatsoever. Scandalously, for years Charles has been submitting memos to cabinet – the executive of our elected representatives – seeking to influence their decision making on issues from architecture to medicine. In fact, thanks to an ongoing legal wrangle, we don’t know the half of the content of these meddling memos. It’s simply disgraceful.
And how did our democratic leaders react to this latest buffoonish embarrassment by the political prince?
Nick Clegg leapt to his defence, saying he should not be kept silent. Ed Miliband offered Charles his backing by claiming that many in Britain shared the prince’s concern about Putin. David Cameron refused to be drawn on the issue. Only Nigel Farage said Charles was wrong to make his views known.
And that illustrates the appeal of UKIP. Once again, it appears like Farage is the only political leader willing to speak his mind and upset the establishment. And, for once, he is right.
If Charles wants to publicly pontificate on such matters then he should put himself up for election. Until then, his mandarins should make sure he keeps his mouth shut. For, unlike his mother, he can’t help clumsily butting in to matters which he has no right to speak on. And that only gives republicans like me, who would like to see a democratic alternative to monarchy, more to work with.