Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Charity Watchdog Investigates Prince Charles' Charity

Press Release From Republic

The Charity Commission is investigating the relationship between Prince Charles and his charity, the Prince's Foundation for the Built Environment, following a complaint made by Republic.

Three weeks ago Republic lodged a complaint questioning the independence of the charity and whether it was acting for the public good or pursuing Charles's own personal agenda.

The Charity Commission has responded by ordering the foundation to explain its trustee decision-making, the activities it undertakes to further its charitable purposes for the public benefit, and its relationship with Prince Charles.

Republic spokesperson Graham Smith said:

"We welcome this response. The Charity Commission's reply to our complaint indicates there are serious questions to be answered about the relationship with Prince Charles and the charities he has set up and whether they are pursuing a public good, or working for Charles's benefit."

"Charles is renowned for attempting to influence public policy and lobbying ministers. We believe the relationship between him and the charities he has set up must be made clear, to ensure they're not being used as his own private lobby firms."

"Charities are legally obliged to remain independent and to take decisions in the interests of the objects of the charity. They are required to work for the public good, not personal interest. We simply want to ensure this is the case with the Foundation."

"We are greatly concerned that Charles is using his privileged and secretive access to government ministers to lobby in favour of his own pet projects on health, the environment and architecture. We will continue to seek to hold him to account and demand more transparency over his attempts at political interference."

It is high time that the Prince was challenged on his views - particularly by those in the green movement, where he and his aristocratic acolytes need to be marginalised if the public is to be convinced that we can have sustainability that is both progressive and scientific. Charles views on health, the environment and architecture give the neo-liberal right and stalinoid elements of the left a convenient brush with which to paint Greens and the ecological left as fellow travellers to (if not actual advocates of) anti-scientific panderers to quackery, reactionary traditionalists and advocates of semi-feudalist social structure.

The ecological left should fully back the continuing attempts of Republic to expose the Prince's manipulation of public disquiet at the neo-liberal trajectory to his own reactionary ends. We must seek to go beyond capitalism to self managed sustainability and progress, not back to some fictional feudalist idyll.

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