Refreshing to read Charles’s letters

I note a relevant relationship which should be brought to mind between the recent election campaign and the publication of the black spider memos written by Prince Charles (your report, 14 May).

During the election campaign we are told many things by the relevant parties with the sole motivation to win your vote.

To quote Winston Churchill, a politician’s job is to forecast what will happen the next day, the next week or the next year and then explain why it never happened. This is certainly the regular case in the current political climate which has led to a lack of trust from the public.

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It is therefore refreshing that we have a head of state not motivated by the public vote and willing to offer his opinions on all matters for the greater good of not only the nation but with a wider perspective on the whole world.

I am therefore thankful for the Freedom of Information Act, which will allow these snippets of worldly perspective to be more widely shared and will hopefully help work towards seeking that which has been lost.

I will not try to explain the relationship between what seems a diverse and random range of subjects in the memos, but there is a very important underlying thread which connects all the subjects under one word: “harmony”.

I want to highlight the important content of the memos before we once again miss the point by being more concerned with debating the policy that allowed their release or indeed debating whether the Prince is allowed to voice his opinion.

Steven Kidd

Hopecroft Road


Did Prince Charles act appropriately in writing to former prime minister Tony Blair about the question of increased resources for the military (your report, 14 May)? It would actually be surprising if someone so frequently called upon to attend military pageants did not do so.

He made a reference to the special circumstances of the Iraq War but this simply reflected a common concern at the time: it was that if troops are sent into battle they should be provided with the proper equipment and the necessary back-up facilities to make their efforts more effective.

It was a legitimate concern and a more sincere one than one of the political fallacies frequently peddled by politicians of many different colours.

This was the view that it was possible to oppose the war in Iraq but to support the troops. I had difficulty at the time understanding exactly what was meant by this.

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Nearly a decade of reflection hasn’t cleared the matter up for me. I can only conclude it was the worst form of political expediency.

That was an attempt to gain the support of those sincerely opposed to the war and those of the families and friends of those involved in the combat.

But the only coherent position ought to have been to call for withdrawal of the forces from the conflict, call for a negotiated settlement, or hope for a speedy victory.

In disputes of that kind it is not wise to try and face both ways. Prince Charles may have ventured into a political controversy that went beyond his constitutional role.

His position was still creditable in the sense he was concerned about properly equipping the soldiers for the task in hand. He did not try to blur the issue by the worst form of “doublespeak”.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court


It is a pity that you chose to highlight the issue of the badger cull in England. The Prince was repeating a myth not based on evidence, as it is fully understood and accepted by scientists that badgers contribute very little, if anything, to the problem of bovine TB.

The English cull has only ben possible due to disinformation and political pressures, to which HRH has contributed. Luckily, cattle vaccination has now commenced in England, and there is evidence it is working.

Luckily, as I hope most readers of The Scotsman already know, Scotland is a TB-free country, brought about by the great efforts of Scottish farmers to co-operate with a much stricter testing regime, and cattle movement restrictions.

Eddie Palmer

Chairman, Scottish