Banks' Notes 03.03.06

By David Banks

Let me declare an interest: like many a Northern working-class lad of the Baby Boomer generation, I was brought up to swear undying fealty to the royal family, to support Liverpool football club and to never, ever, vote Conservative.

Easy? Not really. Along with living up to the demands all good mothers make of their journalist sons — "no smoking, no drinking and no wild women" — I worked hard, but unsuccessfully, to adhere to the all-important Big Ones.

Still, as Meatloaf says, two out of three ain’t bad… it’s just the royals who are losing me.

The Prince of Wales now seems to be at war with the media (and for "media", whatever the Woman In The Street might think, read "public") on at least two major fronts: his wish to mollycoddle his sons all the way into manhood and his wholly unrealistic desire to play the anonymous dissident whose "black spider scrawls" should remain hidden from the gaze of his fellow citizens.

Mark Bolland, his former deputy private secretary, was correct when, over a forkful or two recently, he told me he thought there was "nothing particularly damaging or controversial" in the statement which the Palace was at that time trying to stop Bolland making in open court.

I am happy that Charles makes his often sensible misgivings known to our political leaders; I share many of his views on modern architecture; I, too, talk to my seedlings. And I thoroughly admire his commitment to the minority and underprivileged people in our community.

But ours, thank God, is an open society. The public has a right to know what its future royal ombudsman is up to, and the press has a responsibility to publish.

So the sooner the aptly-named Prince of Wails stops moaning whenever his doings are leaked beyond the "60 or 70 friends, family and advisers" to whom he posts his secret squealings, the better for all.

davidbanks@pressgazette.co.uk

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