"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Sometimes You Lose When You Win

Goodbye to the iconic Ark Royal.  It's to be decomissioned "with immediate effect".

8% cuts in defence have been widely portrayed in the press as a 'win' for Defence Secretary Liam Fox yet the Armed Forces will lose 20,000 personnel; HMS Elizabeth will be mothballed or sold almost as soon as she's commissioned; the RAF will have no carrier strike capability until 2026; the possibility of reservists rather than full-time personnel is being mooted; Trident decision will be delayed until 2015; the Fleet Air Arm will all but cease to exist; two RAF bases will close and become home to troops being withdrawn from Germany.  The list of cutbacks seems endless.  There's one glaring omission of course and that's the staff and perks of the MoD.

BGE (before the general election) Conservative after Conservative said it was impossible to state what cuts would be needed until after the Strategic Defence & Security Review had taken place but with the preliminary announcement of these cuts it seems as though they are primarily Treasury-driven.

Cameron and Sarkozy will meet in November to discuss joint Anglo-French co-operation.  They only have the Charles de Gaulle in active service  and want to share ours, which is why the Prince of Wales is being modified for French aircraft.

The Guardian has a very good and more detailed article on the cutbacks.

One other point: the sudden flurry of articles about cyber-attacks has everything to do with our own government and nothing whatsoever to do with a new EU directive.  Of course.

Is it really too much to ask Westminster government to stop passing off EU initiatives as their own?  Why are they so scared to mention the influence the EU holds over the country?  Even the latest news that cheap alcohol is coming to an end in British supermarkets is because the EU is planning to harmonise (aka raise) taxation across Europe so if you're thinking of holidaying abroad for sun, sand and copious quantities of cheap alcohol, forget it and expect smaller measures at higher prices instead.

UPDATE: Live rolling blog of today's events incl the SDSR  and link to live House of Commons (Live Justice Questions from 2.30pm and Cameron delivering the SDR from 3.30pm).

UPDATE 2: Some facts and figures about HMS Ark Royal, lifted from the Daily Mail

(Click pic to enlarge)


HMS Ark Royal celebrated 25 years in service earlier this year
* The Royal Navy's flagship aircraft carrier was built at Swan Hunter's dockyard in Newcastle
* Construction on the hull began in 1978 and the ship was commissioned into service in 1985
* Ark Royal entered service on July 1 that year and was commissioned in the presence of the Queen Mother four months later
* The construction cost was £320m but the ship was delivered by Swan Hunter four and a half months ahead of schedule, with some mid-build alterations having been made due to lessons learned from the Falklands conflict
* Ark Royal - motto 'Zeal Does Not Rest' - is the fifth ship to bear the name
* The first Ark Royal, originally built for Sir Walter Raleigh, became the flagship of the English fleet which defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588
* The third Ark Royal took part in the sinking of the Bismarck
* Ark Royal IV was the subject of a well known documentary, 'Sailor', in 1978
* The current Ark Royal helped bring peace to Bosnia in 1993/94 and, following an extensive refit and upgrade in the late 1990s, took part in the second Gulf War in 2003
* Ark Royal is one of the Royal Navy's two operational Invincible Class aircraft carriers
* The ship can support up to 24 aircraft anywhere in the world and provides a mixture of war-fighting, peace support and disaster relief capabilities
* The current ship, at 693ft long, is larger than her two sisters, Invincible and Illustrious
* The current ship was deployed as part of Operation Telic, the codename for the invasion of Iraq, in 2003.
* It now operates as a Commando carrier capable of carrying 400 Royal Marines or soldiers and operating Chinook, Lynx, Apache and Sea King helicopters.


  1. So that's another 20,000 unemployed. I can think of better ways to save money to be honest (leaving the EU)...Galileo is an awful drain and the EU just get greedier.

    Of course, they can't shelve their custom spy satellite.

  2. Yes, Galileo's way over time and budget and the EC is asking countries to put their hands in their pockets again to cover shortfall. Even the GPS industry is saying it's too late to be commercially viable because the market has reached capacity. That leaves only one possible use - surveillance/monitoring of grateful EU citizens.

    According to the grauniad this morning the UK will be lucky to suffer only 20,000 job losses in Britain's defence industry - they think it will be more. It looks like a mess of piecemeal policies - it might become clearer after this afternoon's statement but I'm not holding my breath.

  3. The EU will be responsible for the demise of the UK and by that time it will be too late for anybody to do anything.

    We really need to withdraw now!

  4. btw....How are things with you? Ok I hope :)

  5. Fine thanks. All being well it's back to the Spanish DEFRA in Malaga tomorrow for another stamp after picking up the documentation the vet lost. Nice, kind chap with animals but hopeless administrator - thats three times he's lost essential paperwork (including their passports at one time).


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