Red in tooth and claw


If and when Prince Charles does make it to the throne, he has decided to speak in public more than Her Majesty the Queen has so far. If his latest public utterance is anything to go by, he might do well to follow his mother’s example.

Published in The Times yesterday was a speech by the Prince that seems to have been inspired by the negative reactions to his previous dalliances with public oration. The title ‘The modern curse that divides us from Nature’ sums up the loquacious eulogy to all things natural as distinct from all things ‘modern’.

Note that nature gets a capital letter. This is fitting as the speech deifies the natural world. Drawing upon the thinking of Ghandi (that half naked Fakir), the Prince of Wales argues that modernism contravenes the harmony of nature.

The Prince is of course right to be concerned about the natural world, but to pitch nature against modernism is off the mark. Certainly, those in the aristocracy have long had a profound and fascinating relationship with the aesthetics of nature, shown in the wondrous estates built under their patronage. However, those who had to eek out a living from the land, had a very different relationship with nature. Your average peasant was not in harmony, but in constant peril and battle against the vagaries of nature.

His Highness rightly draws attention to the soulless life of those living in high-rise council housing, but this was caused by government social engineering, not the modern world. Some will criticize the Prince's opinions once more, for others his views will chime with theirs. Ironically, concurrence with the Prince’s view of nature is very modern. No longer is the love of nature the reserve of the landed elites. Despite recession, many in this country possess the economic freedom to protect themselves from the hardships of nature and concern themselves with its conservation.