From: William Snowden, Dobrudden Park, Baildon Moor, Baildon.
PRINCE Charles needs no impertinent lectures from William Dixon Smith on the duties and conduct becoming a constitutional monarch (The Yorkshire Post, November 28). It is a role for which he has been preparing all his life, and one in which he has been schooled by the highest constitutional authority in the land: his mother, the Queen.
It may have escaped Mr Smith’s notice, but Prince Charles has already had a rough ride from certain commentators. It is perhaps too much to hope that his critics will rise above peripheral matters and concentrate instead on the great body of good work in which he has been engaged.
He has carried out his public duties, at home and abroad, with considerable aplomb. That wealth of accumulated experience has been enriched by his personal interests and enthusiasms. The unqualified success – sustained for over 30 years – of the Prince’s Trust stands as a testament to his altruistic nature.
The role of the constitutional monarch is more circumscribed than that of the heir-presumptive. It has evolved through the centuries, from the divine right of kings to the Bill of Rights (1689). The constitutional monarch reigns only to serve, with the consent of the people.
Under constitutional law, custom and convention, the monarch must remain above the party political fray and not be drawn into areas of contention. But the coronation service does not require the monarch to swear an oath of silence.
The reign of Queen Elizabeth II has been a pillar of stability and continuity, but the challenges facing King Charles III will be very different. Demographic studies reveal that mass immigration will fundamentally and irrevocably change the nature of British society. In this context, Prince Charles’s concept of a sovereign who is a defender of faiths rather than defender of the faith seems prescient. The European project to establish a federal Europe will fundamentally change the way in which we are governed.
Constitutional change consequent to home rule, regionalism, subsidiarity et al, will have implications for concepts of sovereignty.
But it is significant that the Scottish nationalists wanted to retain the constitutional monarch as Scotland’s head of state, if the Scots voted in favour of independence. Similarly, in a referendum in Australia, the people voted to keep the Queen as their head of state, rather than become a republic. One must hope that the constitutional monarch will be an enduring presence and, thereby, a unifying and stabilising influence on British society.
Missing link in rail plans
From: WJ Horsley, Panorama Drive, Ilkley.
REGARDING the Northern Rail improvements, I am very pleased to read your reports on the overdue upgrading of the railway network in Yorkshire, in particular the importance of Trans-Pennine services.
However, I am surprised that the very important proposed reinstatement of the link between Skipton and Colne has not been mentioned. If reinstated, this would enable a through service from Leeds, Bradford and Skipton directly to Manchester.
The group SELRAP has already done a great deal of work and studies have shown that it would be profitable and also relieve the congestion on the existing road system via Colne.
I hope that the Government would recognise the potential in re-opening this important link.
From: Nigel F Boddy, Fife Road, Darlington.
THE Government argue that building HS2 will create a Northern Powerhouse city and bring prosperity around the regions. Is that the experience Paris has had because of the Channel Tunnel link?
You may find many Parisians now work in London. The effect of HS2 may be to increase the economic activity of London to the detriment of the regions if the Chunnel experience is anything to go by. The only way this or any government will spread prosperity around the regions is to move civil service jobs from London.
When Harold Wilson was PM, he moved the mint to Cardiff, DVLA to Swansea, teacher pensions to Darlington and HMRC to Cumbernauld. We need more moves of that type.
Germany calls tune in Europe
From: Ian Oglesby, High Cotton Road, Stamford Bridge, York.
THE traitor William Joyce, a supporter of the Third Reich, began his propaganda broadcasts from Europe with the chilling words “Germany calling”.
Today, Germany calls the tune as mainland Europe goes forth as a power-chasing superstate, confining the sovereign national state to history.
We recall the lack of diplomatic effort to avert the war in the Balkans, the riots, suicides and poverty caused by, the common currency and the lack of judgement leading to tragedy in Ukraine. Nevertheless, we must hope that this power is tempered with humanity rather than the corruption exemplified by Brussels not daring to produce audited accounts for 19 years.
Like Ukip, some groups on the mainland do not wish to be party to this unpredictable reorganisation of Europe and are working towards independence. Others believe that maximum moderating effect can be exerted from within.