Thursday, 13 January 2005

Oops! He Did It Again...

This morning as I was getting ready to go to work, I was listening, as usual, to the excellent Today Programme on the just as excellent BBC Radio4. *grovels* There was a report on how children in Care Homes are causing great nuisance in certain communities (in West Sussex I think it was); theft and all sort of disorderly conducts having become a popular form of entertainment amongst those youths. Over a period of three months (if I recollect correctly), the police had been called over 300 times to look for missing "residents" of the local homes. The example was sited of a missing teenage girl turning up at a police station to get a lift back to her home, insisting, when being told it might not be quite as easy as she thought, that the police had to drive her home due to their Duty of Care!

It seems however that misdemeanour by young people is not limited to any specific strata of society. Much higher indeed on the social ladder, we got this morning a clear example of this. Prince Harry has been at it again! As the phrase goes, he is not exactly a stranger to controversy (or the front pages of the tabloids, for that matter). One might remember randomly a drunken incident, a teacher claiming to have been forced to cheat for him, or a scuffle with a photographer at a club... This time, a picture taken during a private fancy dress party (the theme of which was "colonial and native". An interesting theme already, when one is aware of a certain nostalgia for the lost Empire still lingering in certain parts of this country!) shows the Prince wearing a Nazi uniform with a very prominent swastika armband. Already hardly acceptable in normal circumstances, the incident is made even more unfortunate by the fact that Holocaust Memorial Day is taking place on the 27th of this month. This year marks the 60th anniversary.

Now! "Clarence House" has issued an apology but the controversy has not died out so easily and all sorts of people have been expressing support or lack thereof regarding this sorry business. The easy and most employed cop out in some quarters is to say that an apology has been issued and that it was just a regretable but silly mistake. However, incredibly, I find myself agreeing with Michael Howard that Prince Harry should appear in person, apologise and explain how he came up with his idea of costume. With a survey from the BBC, showing incredibly that almost half of the adult population in this country claims to have never heard of Auschwitz, it is most important to take a strong stance here. Let's not forget that we are talking about the third person in line of accession to the throne; a young man of 20 who has just been given a very expensive education and who should now be able to judge responsibly what is appropriate and what is not. In my opinion, the thought should not even have crossed his mind to wear this costume at a party. But even if he was stupid enough to think it was a good idea, what about his entourage and counsellors? The other people attending the party? Why did they not say anything? Why did they let him make a fool of himself?!

While I do want to believe it was only a glitch; the "silly mistake" people want it to be, I am worried this might be one of the symptoms of something much wider and much darker. While we see the "safer" world brought to us courtesy of Mr W, sinking deeper into terror, while rampant anti-Semitism seems to be on the rise in France, while intolerance fuelled by all sort of fears is showing its ugly head in so many quarters of our lives, we can not afford to forget the past; we can not afford not to learn from it. Ignorance is at the root of too many evils.


  1. Mmm, I don't really agree with you I'm afraid.. he's just 20 and foolish..
    just think of some of the gaff's his grandfather makes..

    I think its just a bad choice and whilst its not anything I'd ever choose to
    wear I think its been blown out of proportion..

    He may of course be a bit of an attention seeker tho.. after all his mother
    was and his brother is the heir to the throne..

    may explain the drugs and the punching of the photographer...?

  2. I think he should have apoligised, although I think the Sun with its anti-monarchist ramblings went too far. I do think a public apology with an explination would have been best for the situation, as I suppose most people were concerned as to why he did it.
    You are right, with all the education and support we can only but dream of, it does speak a bit of spitting in the faces of us mere mortals who died for this cause.


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