Prince Charles warns against 1930’s extremism


In what must be an unprecedented political intervention the heir to the throne, Prince Charles, made an impassioned plea on this morning’s ‘Thought for the day’, on Radio 4’s today programme, arguing the political populism of our time is becoming reminiscent to the 1930’s - that witnessed the birth of fascism and of course the Holocaust.

He said: “We are now seeing the rise of many populist groups across the world that are increasingly aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith. All of this has deeply disturbing echoes of the dark days of the 1930s."

“My parents’ generation fought and died in a battle against intolerance, monstrous extremism and inhuman attempts to exterminate the Jewish population of Europe.”

Of course the Prince didn’t name any political parties and his nuanced attack was as much about Islamic extremism as it was about the rise of the far-Right across Europe. But from a cursory glance at those populist movements, who the Prince highlighted as being particularly ‘aggressive to those who adhere to a minority faith’, we need look no further than: Marine Le Pen in France;  Geert Wilders in Holland; Nigel Farage here in the UK; Viktor Orban in Hungary; and the most powerful amongst them all President elect Donald Trump. The links, rapport and relationships between them to various degrees, simply cannot be ignored.

Interestingly, the Prince also made reference to people who had been displaced from their homes - refugees by any other name - when he lamented that 5.8 million people this year had been made displaced according to the UN.

The heir to throne will no doubt come under a sustained attack for what some will see as political interference. But we shouldn’t.

Prince Charles was a child of post war Britain, born in 1948, he strongly feels it is his duty to remind us about the lessons of history, and to avoid us sleepwalking towards a hate-filled calamity driven by ideologues and war mongers.

Well done Prince Charles. This intervention shows true and brave leadership.

Simon Woolley