INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tony Blair Calls Prince Charles a 'Goon'

Published: Wed 27 Oct 1999 09:24 AM
Relations between the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, and British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, have hit an all-time low following Blair's branding of the prince as a "goon." John Howard reports.
The prince infuriated the PM by snubbing a banquet hosted by Chinese president Jiang Zemin in protest against China's occupation of Tibet. Human rights campaigners and many Britons are said to be siding with the prince.
Charles has a long admiration for the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, and this was just one of the reasons behind his non-attendance at the banquet, according to friends.
Beef-on-the-bone, genetically modified foods, falling education standards, religion and modern architecture are all subjects that have been tackled by the prince around the world even when his views have clashed with government's or threatened to upset multi-million conglomerates. He has also written to Ministers about Britains foreign policy.
Charles is a devoted fan of the zany 50's BBC radio comedy series, The Goon Show, which starred his hero Spike Milligan.
Blair remarked: "I don't known about The Goons - he is a goon."
Blair's spin doctors were playing down the "snub" saying the prince was never intended to be at the function. But privately both Blair and the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, are said to be seething at the prince's decision which comes as Britain tries to build important trade relations with China while dismissing its poor human rights record.
One confidante of Blair added: "The Prime Minister is far from pleased that Charles seems to be undermining the government's position on a range of important issues."
The prince's snub came after a week of strenuous protests by British campaigners who are incensed by the plight of Tibetans at the hands of China. Jiang Zemin met further protests when he later visited France.
Blair views Charles' excuses about a prior engagement as "ludicrous" as the event at the Chinese Embassy was planned well in advance. Charles had defiantly old officials: "Don't bother sending me an invitation to the banquet."
Charles also refused to accompany the Chinese president on engagements during his four-day tour, which was met with constant public protests about China's record on human rights and its policies over Tibet and Taiwan.
This week the government's of Britain and France are facing possible legal action over the way police dealt with protesters during the State visits.
ends

Next in Comment

Gordon Campbell on China and Hong Kong, and Boris
By: Gordon Campbell
Gordon Campbell on ensuring Boris gets blamed for Brexit
By: Gordon Campbell
Last Chance: Back From The Brink HiveMind
By: HiveMind
Gordon Campbell on the Hong Kong protest movement
By: Gordon Campbell
Internet shutdowns will further hurt Hong Kong
By: Access Now
UK Prime Minister's statement: 2 September 2019
By: 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson has suspended the UK parliament
By: The Conversation
Gordon Campbell on why Boris is threatening to shoot a puppy
By: Gordon Campbell
Back from the brink? Biodiversity HiveMind Update
By: Hivemind
Scoop Hivemind: Restoring and Protecting Biodiversity
By: HiveMind
Scoop Coverage: Biodiversity Information and Journalism
By: Scoop Full Coverage
The Dig: Scoop’s Engaged Journalism Platform Launches
By: The Dig
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media