Tuesday 20 July 2010

FoE, Greenpeace and Prince Charles

I was a bit surprised to get a letter from Friends of the Earth asking if I could help them financially. They say “our fundraising income has dropped dramatically” and they would quite like it if everyone could chip in and help them urgently raise the sum of £500,000. I would have thought that multi-millionaire environmentalist Zac Goldsmith would be the person to ask. Or Paul McCartney. Or why not that well known multi-millionaire Green, Prince Charles?

Presumably its dire financial straits explain why FoE has gone down the dodgy road of supporting internet gambling and why it has just appointed a charity hopper.

The problem is that FoE is a totally unaccountable and undemocratic organisation. You can be a ‘supporter’ but not a member. And me, I’ve gone off FoE at a national level, largely because of crap like this:

Over the years I have solicited the help of celebrities - one can't underestimate the power they have in drawing attention to valuable causes.

In 2005, I had lunch with Madonna to persuade her to take part in our Big Ask campaign for a tougher Climate Change Bill.

David Cameron has made himself an important force in green politics.

One thing has not changed in the past two decades. Prince Charles has been an absolute rock of the green movement.

Yeah, right. The Prince who used a private luxury jet to take his personal 14-strong entourage on a ‘crusade against global warming’ in Chile, Brazil and Ecuador and who jetted off to Copenhagen using

the £1,019-an-hour Queen’s Flight so he could deliver a keynote speech to the climate change conference, flying back after less than three hours.

Prince Charles, over the last four years, has been travelling the world on a private jet lecturing us about carbon emissions.

Alas, Greenpeace is no better. It’s also run by a self-perpetuating clique which prefers not to open itself up to any kind of democratic accountability. And it, too, fawns on celebrities.

Last month John Sauven, chief executive of Greenpeace, escorted Prince Charles at the Glastonbury Festival.

And how did this celebrity Green icon get there?

Charles's cavalcade of Range Rovers dropped his party off in the busy Greenpeace field

And the marvellous thing about being Green is that it helps you maximise your income:

Prince Charles’ latest published accounts show he paid less tax last year while earning £1m more by off-setting his payments to HM Revenue & Customes with a series of green purchases,

Prince Charles was able to use his ‘green expenditure’ to ensure he paid less income tax on revenues which increased by 7% to £16.3m and which grew more than £360,000 to £8.3m

So, how can the ordinary person follow the Prince’s inspiring example?

Easy. Find a new fuel for your luxury sports car.

Prince Charles's Aston Martin has been converted to run on surplus wine from English vineyards