Government ministers are suffering from an epidemic of self-laceration.
The usually sure footed Dominic Grieve has decided that we the public must be shielded from the truth. His attempt at censorship proves that there are some things in Prince Charles' lobbying letters that are so dangerous that they put his succession to the throne in peril. But we are not permitted to find out what it is. We must rely on blind faith that Charles' birth justifies his succession without any quibble. This is an unfashionable denial of information policy.
The Queen has a remarkable record of concealing any controversial views she has. Other monarchs have been less discreet. Grieve argues bizarrely that writing letters that open the Prince to public ridicule is all part of his 50 year apprenticeship for the job. Not expressing odd views would be a better apprenticeship.
Some of Charles' views are splendid and sensible, some are eccentric and some are barmy. Some of his views could precipitate a messy and expensive constitutional crisis if he intervenes as a monarch. Now is the time for transparency and choice. All top level lobbying should be published. The country should be allowed to choose its new head of state. Why not a pre-appointment hearing? Why not a vote to choose Charles, Anne, William, Harry or A.N. Other?