Big surprise! – Right now attacking Charles as ‘woke’ King

Being green and sharing compassion for refugees, the Right continue to demand that King Charles stays out of politics. But, as with Gary Lineker, the row isn’t really about impartiality, something the Right always takes the moral high ground on, but is another attempt to discredit the decency of progressive values.

Right-Wing Watch

‘Green and woke.’ No, the right-wing political commentator Julia Hartley-Brewer wasn’t describing an Extinction Rebellion campaigner causing traffic carnage by protesting on the M25, but King Charles III. The King’s ‘crime,’ was reportedly turning down the offer of having Heathrow Terminal 5 named after him.

‘Julia Hartley-Brewer ‘roasts ‘green and woke’ King Charles,’ the Murdoch-owned TalkTV excitedly enthused.

He might be a long way from being a progressive hero, and I’m no covert Royalist, but Charles has a solid record on two crucial issues that have dominated the news this week – the environment and refugees. In championing such progressive causes, Charles has long grated on the nerves of Conservatives, who accuse him of being some kind of political meddler. As William Atkinson, ConHome’s deputy editor put it: in ‘promoting his politics’….. ‘[Charles] has also attracted the ire of those one expects to be slavishly loyal to the crown: Tory MPs.’

In an opening address to the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, the King told world leaders the dangers of climate change were no longer a distant risk. He stated that a Net Zero and nature-positive future was achievable but warned that the world remained “dreadfully far off track” in key climate targets from the Paris agreement in 2015 and called for meaningful change.

The words contradict those he was forced to speak just weeks earlier when he read out Rishi Sunak’s legislative programme in the King’s Speech, Charles’ first as Head of State. For someone who has spent a lifetime warning about climate change, long before making such warnings became fashionable, having to announce the PM’s highly politicised pledge to grant new annual North Sea oil and gas exploration licenses, must have been challenging, to put it mildly. 

But a monarch is constitutionally obliged to remain above the political fray, something that the right-wingers love to remind us of. AND being concerned about climate change is ‘political’ and shouldn’t be mentioned – apparently.

While Rishi Sunak praised King Charles for his ‘far-sighted’ leadership on tackling climate change at COP28 – praise which could be deemed hypocritical given that the PM recently took an axe to Britain’s Net Zero plans – the Right couldn’t resist having a dig.

Writing for Conservative Home this week, columnist Dr Sarah Ingham argued that His Majesty ‘should be grateful’ that the ‘latest twist in the long-running royal soap’ (we can assume she means Harry and Meghan) ‘overshadowed the King’s speech to COP28.’ Contending that climate change is ‘political’ and that Charles should stop talking about it, Ingham wrote: “His Majesty also seems unaware that in pursuit of Net Zero, his British subjects are expected to make radical and unpopular lifestyle changes. These days, an eco-sensibility isn’t confined to concern about polar bears; it’s politics.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail went for an entirely different angle. Avoiding criticising the content of the speech, the newspaper had a strange jibe at the King’s choice of tie, which seemed to be adorned with small images of the Greek flag. A deliberate choice during the diplomatic fallout between Britain and Greece over the ownership of the Elgin Marbles, maybe? The Mail certainly hinted as much.

“Charles’ sartorial choices as he gave his speech at the COP28 eco-summit in Dubai has set tongues wagging – with the King wearing a tie emblazoned with fluttering Greek flags amid a diplomatic spat between the Mediterranean country and Britain,” the newspaper sensationalised. The same report later added: “Charles’ COP28 address gave the King an opportunity to flex his well-established environmental credentials as he addressed global powers.” Hardly admiring content.  

Away from Dubai and COP28, and another long-standing concern of the King, a grievance that also vexes the Right, has dominated the news cycle all week – immigration, and, more specifically, Rwanda.

In June 2022 as Prince of Wales, Charles reportedly described the government’s Rwanda deportation plans as ‘appalling.’ A source told the Times and the Daily Mail – interesting choices – that the then heir to the throne had been heard opposing the policy behind closed doors. The ‘revelation’ was published the same day that a legal challenge against deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda was rejected by the high court.

The plot thickened when reports emerged that Guto Harri, Boris Johnson’s ‘gaffe-prone’ comms chief, claimed that the former PM had “squared up” to Charles over his describing of the Rwanda plan as ‘appalling.’

Writing in the Daily Mail, Harri said Johnson told him he “went in quite hard” against Charles, who was “left squirming.” Johnson disputed Harri’s account as “inaccurate.”

Harri, a former BBC journalist, added that Johnson had also warned Charles against making a speech that expressed regret over slavery amid concerns it could result in demands for financial reparations. Charles went ahead with the speech anyway.

Whether there was any truth in the ‘squaring up’ revelation or not, the then prince’s comments certainly caused upset among the Right, sending the anti-immigration, pro-Rwanda policy brigade into meltdown. Nigel Farage told him to ‘shut up fast,’ claiming the comments represented an existential threat to the Royal Family. Fellow staunch Brexiteer Nile Gardiner put in his two pennies worth, saying he disagreed with the prince’s point of view and the fact he expressed it. 

Columnist and ex-wife of Michael Gove, Sarah Vine, wrote a painfully grovelling but vicious piece for the Mail, entitled: ‘By deploring the Rwanda deal, Charles scorns the concerns of the common man. It’s almost a ‘let them eat cake scenario.’

Doing what many right-wing commentators seem to love to do, bigging up their own importance and stature, Vine starts her piece talking about her experience of meeting Charles, not once, but twice, noting how she ‘waffled breathlessly on at him.’ The tone of the article turns decidedly more sour, as the author does what the Right also seem to love doing – accusing those who champion equality and social causes of being unqualified to do so.

“He, like many of the members of the liberal intelligentsia who turn their noses up at the Government’s efforts to tackle the problem of illegal immigration, is largely unaffected by the problems it causes. There are no overcrowded hostels next to Clarence House, and neither Charles nor any member of his family is likely to be negatively affected by the extra pressure on public services – social housing, access to healthcare and so on,” writes Vine.

I personally resent this line of argument, as it suggests, not only that immigrants abuse the welfare state, take our school places, etc., etc., but denies basic human capacities such as empathy. Is it really necessary to experience starvation to know what real hunger must be like? To suffer from a life threatening illness to understand something of such an experience? To feel something of the experiences of those driven from their homes by climate change or war? The likes of Sarah Vine often claim to speak for the ‘majority’ but it seems to me that they speak for only those who share their atrophied humanity who are thankfully, a minority.

And having compassion for those fleeing persecution and seeking refuge in a safe country is, of course, being ‘woke,’ at least for the right-wingers. ‘The EU is too woke to defend its borders,’ the Telegraph declared earlier this year. Throw some environmental concern into the mix, and that’s double ‘wokeness.’ Such was the fate of Joe Biden  who faces a reckoning over ‘green wokeism,’ according to headline in the Telegraph. President Biden, of course, has energetically pursued support for green industries while trying to resist even harsher measures against immigrants on his southern border in the face of intense campaigning by Republicans. A double sinner then for the Telegraph!

Being green and sharing compassion for refugees, Charles remains under the same glare of the Right, King or not. As with Gary Lineker, who, after signing a letter criticising the government’s Rwanda policy, was told to ‘put a sock in it’ by the defence minister Grant Shapps this week, the Right continue to demand that Charles is not political. But, as with Lineker, the row isn’t really about impartiality, something the Right always takes the moral high ground on, but is another attempt to discredit the decency of progressive values. 

“King Charles III is “obsessed and infected” with the “woke poison” which has been spreading through to so many others in society, says GB News host Patrick Christys. “He’s given in to the eco mob left, right, and centre,” Christys told Sky News Australia host Andrew Bolt.

Meanwhile, Telegraph columnist Petronella Wyatt claims that King Charles is “so woke, he’s in danger of abolishing himself.’

“His Majesty would do better to please monarchists and the nation as a whole, not bend to every prevailing fad and foible,” Wyatt argued.

Despite their ‘demands,’ King Charles seems unwilling to surrender the issues that are dear to him.

As king, he may have vowed to take a more restrained approach but has clearly signposted his continued concern about the issues that, as prince, earned him a reputation as a political meddler. But in actual fact, he appears to be doing very little dispel the notion that he’s a political animal at heart.

In March, the King attended an event in London put on by the human rights and Sudan refugee charity, Waging Peace, to mark the 20th anniversary of the conflict in Darfur. Charles spent time talking to each refugee in the room, who he told: “It’s been such a pleasure to meet you all — I’m so glad you’re safe here.” Not exactly subtle in sharing his support of refugees. The event was heavily promoted in the media, with outlets from the BBC to the official Royal Family website, reporting the story, accompanied with high-spec public relations photos. Even the pontificating Mail covered the event objectively, knowing it couldn’t miss out on a Royal story.

The same month, the King spoke at an event in Germany, where he took a swipe at Vladimir Putin’s Russia, commended Germany’s ‘extraordinary generosity’ in hosting refugees from Ukraine, spoke of politicians’ ‘vital’ effort to cut carbon emissions, and attempted to repair relations between the UK and German, frayed by Brexit.

As he addressed the King, Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the Brexit vote had been “personally … a sad day” for him, and that “plenty of people in Germany felt the same.”

Charles may not have directly mentioned Brexit in the speech, but he said he was “utterly convinced” the ties between Germany and the UK “will grow ever stronger” as the two countries work to “prosper and advance the urgent and vital journey towards net-zero.”

During the same visit, Charles met with Ukrainian refugees in Germany and said that the nation had shown “extraordinary hospitality in hosting over one million Ukrainian refugees.”

“This, it seems to me, so powerfully demonstrates the generosity of spirit of the German people,” he added, in another unsubtle show of support for humane policies on immigration.

In preaching the values they have abandoned, King Charles is, as William Atkinson wrote, attracting the ire of Conservatives. And depressingly, the ‘green woke’ derision of Charles from the Right follows the same pattern of their attacks of virtually every institution:  universities, judges, lawyers, teachers, doctors, nurses, immigrants, unions, the National Trust, you name it. It makes you wonder what exactly does the Conservative Party – and it’s acolytes – want to conserve?

Right-Wing Media Watch – Boris Johnson’s RETURN and the ‘Advent calendar of s**t!

They were with him to his political death, and now they’re trying to resurrect him from the ashes. Yes, the former Boris Johnson’s willing media stooges have stooped to a new low, hyping claims he could RETURN as prime minister as disgruntled Conservative MPs hatch an ‘astonishing plan.’ And guess who Johnson could be joined by in a ‘dream ticket’ leadership tie-in – Nigel Farage.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Sunak’s enemies are so angered by Rishi Sunak and his Rwanda plans that they have drawn up an ‘Advent Calendar of s**t’ to further destabilise him.

The plotters believe reinstalling the former PM is ‘the only way to save the party from an election wipeout,’ despite the fact his negligence as prime minister first time round has been laid bare in the Covid inquiry during the last fortnight.

Ahead of this week’s ‘crunch time vote’ for Sunak on Rwanda, one irate MP told the Mail on Sunday that the intention was to ‘crash’ the Sunak government and install a leader who could ‘close the gap with Keir Starmer’s Labour party.’

Amid the ‘panic’ over dismal polling figures, many voters are apparently turning to Reform, which, according to the Mail, has had its ‘fortunes boosted’ by Farage’s ‘successful run on ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity.’ No mention that this year’s celebrity forage Down Under couldn’t have gone worse, being described as a ‘rating, logistical and cultural disaster for ITV, then? The nosediving ratings were largely associated with the boycott of the show over Farage’s participation.

As the carnage continues within the Conservative Party, the Mail claims that peeved MPs have privately urged the two heavyweights to talk.

The ‘plot’ becomes even more bizarre, with the newspaper claiming that Johnson supporters believe that if an MP quit a safe seat before the election to make way for Johnson, Tory high command would be unable to block it. A leadership contest would then be triggered if at least 53 letters of no confidence in Sunak were sent to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the backbench 1922 Committee.

Another suggestion, the report continues, is that a Johnson ally, such as former Home Secretary Priti Patel, could be installed as a caretaker PM, with “Johnson standing for a safe seat at the election, then stepping back in to No 10. If Reform remained a threat, a deal could be struck by giving Farage, the party’s honorary president, and Richard Tice, its leader, places in the Lords and key ministerial positions,” the ‘plotters’ continue.

Meanwhile, desperate to advance the ‘Nigel for Prime Minister’ campaign, the Brexit-heavyweight Express launching a somewhat dubious poll claiming Boris Johnson would be beaten by a ‘surprising candidate’ as next Tory leader.

The newspaper claims 5,000 people voted in its online survey on who they thought should replace Rishi Sunak. Former UKIP leader Farage apparently came first, with 41 percent support, despite not even being a Tory member. Sacked Suella was in second place at 22 percent, followed by beleaguered Boris, at 14 percent.

More ‘outlandish than a Viz comic,’ as one reader responded on X. But no doubt the Express had fun with that one, deliberately stirring the pot and sending diehard Johnson allies like Cruddas and Bannerman into a total meltdown.

Woke Bashing of the Week – ‘Greta Syndrome’ – the Right’s latest attempt to scorn Greta Thunberg and the ‘woke generation’

Returning to the right-wing war on ‘woke and green,’ the Sun excelled itself this week in attempting to make a ludicrous connection between the two, via what they labelled the ‘Greta Syndrome.’

‘Woke green protestors’ are being offered therapy for ‘climate change stress,’ informed the tabloid, in what has been dubbed as the ‘Greta Syndrome,’ after the Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg.

Having a swipe at the ‘enormous damage,’ ‘eco yobs’ from Extinction Rebellion (XR) have caused in Britain, the report informs how free one-to-one sessions are available for the organisation’s ‘rebels.’  The article refers to XR’s website, which offers sessions with the Trained Emotional Support Network (TESN) and the Climate Psychology Alliance (CPA) for anyone “experiencing eco-related distress, including that arising from eco-activism or work in the climate field.”

Greta Thunberg, the prominent young activist who has single-handedly raised awareness of climate change across the world and inspired a generation of climate activists, is repeatedly mocked and criticised by the populist Right. And ‘Greta Syndrome’ is the latest taunting attack aimed at the youngster who, along with her followers, are regularly derided as ‘woke,’ for being more socially and environmentally aware than older generations.

Climate change is, as the United Nations confirms, the single biggest health threat facing humanity. Its impact is already harming health, through extreme weather, air pollution, disease, increased hunger, poor nutrition, and more. The impacts of a warming planet are contributing to grief, stress and despair, with research showing that as many as one in 10 Americans experience anxiety because of global warming.

It therefore stands to reason that XR, a global movement dedicated to the environment and climate action, would offer support to those suffering climate change anxiety.

The Sun’s mockery of ‘Greta Syndrome’ confirms the scale of the denialism of such sources, which still, despite events like this summer’s wildfires on Rhodes, see climate change as nothing more than unusual weather. On Greta, that a teenager could cause such a stir among climate change deniers, politicians, and media pundits, is testament to her influence, and how much they see her as a threat. They will, it seems, go to great lengths to divert focus from her message.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is author of Right-Wing Watch

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