AT LAST, after weeks of trailers, Prince Harry – fifth in line to the throne – took over as Guest Editor of BBC Radio 4’s flagship morning news programme, the “Today” programme.
He took a hands-on approach. He lined up a couple of star interviews, one with former US President Barack Obama, and one with the Prince of Wales (“pa”). The one with Obama was actually quite interesting. At least it provided some news, often in short supply just after Christmas, with the interviews being trailed and reported in the news bulletins during the news programme during which the interviews were broadcast.
There were high points and low points. The high points came when the programme took a modern direction: Harry asked the sports team to concentrate on women’s rugby, and he played some music recorded by some youngsters thanks to a charity he supports. He spoke out against ignoring climate change.
And that’s where the low point came in too. The last five minutes or so of the three hour broadcast are spent with the presenters asking the guest editor how they have found the experience. One of the presenters told Harry she was pleasantly surprised by how engaged in modern society he was. Harry was quick to point out that he didn’t do politics, and the issues he had covered had been merely general social issues.
That was where it fell apart rather. It’s all very well being in favour of taking action to mitigate the effects of climate change – but that change is driven by big business and greedy entrepreneurs, who can only be stopped if there is a political will to do so. It’s all very well to support inner city kids having places where they can record grime tracks – but it’s education cuts which have driven music teaching from our schools.
Unless and until Prince Harry admits that it’s politics that drives the world, he will be the sticking plaster prince – trying to deal with the consequences but not the causes of poverty, injustice and inequality.