by Ray Fleming
He's at it again. Will he never learn? Cannot Camilla keep him in check? The Prince of Wales made a speech the other day about how what he called “fashionable teaching” in Britain's schools is destroying the nation's culture. Here's a sample of what he had to say: “Too often nowadays, I fear, the voguish preoccupations of the present are allowed to divert attention from the perennnially valuable insights of the past.” (One can hear the voice as one reads the words.) He also called on teachers to ”restore the balance between equipping children with social skills such as good manners, courtesy and consideration of others, with teaching subjects properly and in depth”. As with genetically modified foods, wind farms and the sundry other subjects on which he has thought it necessary to pronounce in public, Prince Charles seems unable to understand that he is out of line. It is not that his opinions are worthless; heaven knows there is plenty that is wrong with Britain's schools. It is just that, although he is unrepresentative and unelected, his position makes it impossible for any one to engage him in frank and open discussion about his ideas or even to submit them to the criticism they sometimes deserve. It is possible to imagine that a member of the Royal Family might become so expert and respected in a particular subject that his views would be welcome. Prince Charles is not in this position. He is an interfering dilettante and to make matters worse, he commands little respect as a person. Yet he is quite capable of making a speech which includes this: “The old idea of 'doing good to others as you would have them do to you' is hardly deferential and might just be relevant in terms of social interaction and employment opportunities.” What the Prince of Wales needs is someone with kind of licence jesters had at mediaeval courts to tell their masters just what nonsense they were talking and, in doing so, to deflate their pomposity.