Sunday, June 17, 2007

Diplomatic incident

A few weeks ago, Prince Andrew came to call. I'm not sure what the real purpose of his trip was - he currently holds the position of Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, which presumably involves flying around the world and selling Britishness and British products (hence "Airmiles Andy"). I suppose if we are going to have a Royal Family, it seems like this is the (only?) sort of thing they are well suited to doing.

The trip coincided with my Belgium expedition, (oi, who muttered "hypocrite" at the back?) so I didn't get to meet him, but jules and the UJCC people were asked to be prepared. Usually what seems to happen for VIP visits is that all sorts of arrangements are made, and then at the last minute the VIP changes their plans and the whole thing falls though (Blair was supposed to visit a few years ago: this was in the middle of some scandal back home and he just holed up in a hotel in Hakone instead). But this time, it actually went according to plan.

By all accounts, Prince Andrew (above left) marched round with his arms firmly folded and a stern expression, criticising all and sundry. So jules being jules, she decided to...challenge...him a little.

You can see Adam beside her looking horrified, Malcolm cringing, Pier-Luigi sniggering, John wishing he wasn't there, and Marie-Estelle wondering what this crazy woman is going on about.

By the end of her diatribe, everyone is laughing....except for Prince Andrew himself (on his left are the Ambassador and Science Councillor respectively). But she's not been whisked away to the Tower of London yet. And at least he unfolded his arms!


William M. Connolley said...

So what was Jules challenging him about?

jules said...

Deat Belette,
We were suppose to introduce our work. I would have thought that in return he would be supposed to respond in a way such that maybe we might both learn something, but his interpretation seemed to be that his task was to tell everyone else what they are doing wrong. So he refused point-blank to give any credence to the suggestion that you could use paleoclimate to give clues about future climate. That was strange. How can he tell me things like that? He doesn't know. When he's talking with a nuclear physicist does he tell them they are doing it wrong too? The sum total of his argument seemed to be that it was because humans were "human" and the past was "natural". I tried to say that carbon dioxide was still just carbon dioxide, and of course I never pretended the past was a perfect analogy or anything, but it was all water off an angry duck's back.

Then at some point he said that becos of global warming we were all going to die like the dinosaurs and another species was going to take over. I think he's been reading the Independent. I told him not to worry so much, it wasn't that big a deal since global warming wont actually affect him personally. People started to look a bit worried so I changed tack and asked him if he was seeing any of the latest energy efficient Japanese technology while we was visiting. He wasn't (what a shame), but at least the Japanese people donutting him started looking happy again. Then I said if he wanted to do something he could help the people living in poverty whose lives weren't robust to the present day climate, never mind climate change. Then we started to run out of time and he was being dragged away but rather worryingly finished with telling me that the world wont hold more than 6-8 billion people anyway so we're all doooomed. He paused to tease me loudly from the other side of the room, and then he climbed into the most beautiful car I have ever seen - a shiny deep blue Jaguar with a union flag fluttering on the front. It must get at least 8mpg on the Tokyo streets...

So now I feel I understand a little of what its like being a plaything of a king...

William M. Connolley said...

I think that "Prince Andrew sez we're going to all die like dinosaurs because of GW" would make a great headline for the Indie :-) Can I quote you?

James Annan said...

Are you admitting that you are an Indie reporter in disguise?


I think Lovelock has first dibs on that sentiment anyway.

Brian said...

Your prince must've heard the denialists scream that paleoclimate proves their side. Rather than dig into the issue to find out the opposite is more likely true, he latched onto the idea that it's natural so it doesn't count.

We American's don't inherit fools into office like you do, we elect them.