Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Primary Tartan

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Primary Tartan

Article excerpt

One of this diary's television acquaintances once made a film starring (or at least featuring) Prince Charles. The point of the programme was to demonstrate HRH' s concern for the flora and fauna and natural beauty of the Highlands. In his speeches to camera, HRH sternly warned that one of Europe's last great wildernesses was under threat from global warming, radioactive fallout, atmospheric pollution, thoughtless farming and all the other horrors we seem to be visiting on the land.

Fair enough. The bens and glens of the Highlands make up a fragile ecology, goodness knows. But the trouble was, every time the Prince was needed in front of the camera he arrived on location in his own helicopter. And helicopters, as anyone with a modicum of engineering knows, are the biggest and noisiest gas-guzzlers on the planet. Pound for pound, they do more polluting than almost any other device known to humankind.

This recollection set this diary ruminating. A short time ago, Prince Charles was admonishing the world's scientists to be more caring and "spiritual" towards the world we inhabit. This from a man who lives in a collection of elaborately lit and heated palaces and mansions, who never moves except by huge limousines, private trains, private airliners or private helicopters (or some combination thereof), having the nerve to lecture the world on the thoughtless use of natural resources. The words "bloody" and "cheek" sprang to mind.

Recently, the Scotsman published a photograph that invoked, in this diarist, a mixture of nostalgia and bitterness. It was an Edinburgh street-scene of the early 1950s showing a dozen kids playing happily on a cobbled street in what looks like the Old Town. Nothing unusual really, except for the sign over their heads. It reads: "Children's playground no vehicles please 4pm till sunset." It is a snapshot of something that used to be common in the capital -- play-streets. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.