Cutty’s Ark

Posted by @ 12:53 pm on Tuesday 19th October, 2010.

 

Harrier landing on HMS Ark Royal (source)

 

Where the hell is the sense in scrapping the Ark Royal AND scrapping all of the Harriers? This leaves Britain without a viable platform for dealing with remote conflict where we don't have access to a land-base, and it'll take ten years to get out of that hole (ten years during which anything could happen, not least the possibility that the two replacement carriers will be cancelled by future Governments). True, we have other carriers, but how effective would they be without the Harriers? The choppers that they carry are good but they just aren't suited to the same work.

In major conflicts, air-superiority has long been a necessary precursor to the success of land-based forces. Does nobody appreciate the fact that we'd probably never have set foot back on the Falklands without the Harriers that routed the invader's Air Force? Even Hitler knew that without knocking out the RAF, Operation Sea Lion was a non-starter. Times were hard during WWII, but can you imagine life here now if Churchill had scrapped the Spitfires and the Hurricanes?

OK, times are hard now and cuts have to be made, but let's be sensible. If the Ark Royal really has to go (and it's a moot-point), I'd have thought that it would be more sensible for it be sold rather than scrapped, and the Harriers redeployed or at the worst mothballed but capable of being recommissioned in times of need. Who knows what new conflict will arise in the near future? This Government doesn't, and clearly it doesn't give a 5h1t about the consequences if/when it happens.

On the subject of hard times and the National Debt, the question has to be asked - just how bad is it? As I understand it, most of the ND is because of gilts issued by successive Governments to raise money for whatever. This isn't a new thing though - the country has been running in a similar manner for many a year - the Bank of England has been exchanging banknotes for hard currency since it was set up in July 1694 in order to supply the King and Government with £1.2m to turn Britain, reeling from a defeat inflicted by the French, into a major global power. It's a system that works - folk invest in Britain because it's a sound investment and promises a decent financial return.

Bearing this in mind, surely we'll only really be in the crap when large numbers of those gilts have to be bought back or when it's time for the holders to cash them in and/or claim their coupons. I mean, if I was to lend you a tenner in the pub it's true to say that you'd be in debt to me, but we wouldn't be in financial crisis unless I needed it back and you couldn't stump up. So the next question has to be... is there really a long queue of gilt-holders taking their turns rapping on the door of Number 11 demanding financial reconciliation? If so, maybe the Government should consider keeping those Harriers for its own defence!

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20 Responses to “Cutty’s Ark”

  1. John Davis says:

    This could be wrong as I am no economist, but we are still having to borrow. The rate of interest we have to pay is affected by the amount of debt we already have. Also, we are continually paying off old debts, using a sizeable chunk of our national income to do it.

    My perspective on the defence cuts is probably very different from yours. Yes, I think the cuts are nowhere near severe enough in some areas, with Trident the obvious target. Too many concessions have been made to NATO and to President Obama. That's why French warplanes will be treating our 60,000 tonne aircraft carrier as a fuel station.

  2. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By John Davis
    ... That's why French warplanes will be treating our 60,000 tonne aircraft carrier as a fuel station.

    It'll just lead to trouble - them furriners drive on the wrong side of the road... I predict a riot when they try to land on the wrong side of our carrier's runway 😯

    They won't get much fuel in France, thanks to the pension-protesters :mrgreen:

  3. alan.sloman says:

    I really don't understand why Britain needs all this weaponry. We are a second rate bit-player on the international scene, tugging on the coat-tails of the US for any sense of self importance on the world stage.
    We should just face facts that we are no longer a "world power" and should concentrate on defence forces rather than offence. Trident is just obscene and large carriers ridiculous.
    Spend the money on proper care for the elderly and our rapidly growing under-class.

  4. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By alan.sloman
    We should just face facts that we are no longer a "world power" and should concentrate on defence forces rather than offence.

    So how would we defend The Falklands, its population and its oil reserves against any repeat attempt at invasion by the Argentinians? We can't send in The Royal Navy without appropriate air-cover, it would be a Task Force without a credible Force.

  5. alan.sloman says:

    @BG! - Stef - We are currently facing an enormous Black Hole in our economy. We have elected the present government to deal with it. The fact that it is made up of a right / left coalition means that we stand a chance of being represented pretty fairly.

    Hard choices have to be, and are being made. The defence cuts are just one such difficult decision. I happen to agree with them. Others may well not but it is what it is. They are an elected government tasked with making these decisions

    How would you restore our economy and where would you make the cuts?

  6. BG! says:

    @alan.sloman - Alan, I do agree that deep cuts have to be made, but they have to be sensible. The Ark Royal and the Harriers are here, now, working and battle-worthy. Indeed, the AR was refitted just over a year ago, so it's in fine fettle. Such a carrier force must be needed - if it isn't, why is the Govt. still committed to building two more? It makes more sense to me to keep the AR and to build just one more (thus having the AR in service with Harriers while the new one is built) rather than having nothing and then, later, maybe two but without VTOL capability.

    Let's imagine that you'd just had your car serviced, taxed, MOT'd and valeted. The bodywork is pristine, the chrome is dazzling and the engine is purring like a good 'un. Next, I come along, knowing full well that you need it for work and that your business (and its employees' livelihoods) depend on it, and promptly scrap it without giving any compensation. I then give you an order that you can't own or drive another for ten years, but I promise that after those ten years I'll give you two cars which you must use in collaboration with the French. By then, your business has collapsed, your professional credibility is in tatters, your driving is a tad rusty and you are developing unhealthy fixations on garlic and Channel-port livestock incineration.

    I seem to remember an old adage about a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush... a lot of cash and effort went into getting that bird into that hand, would you let it go if you knew that it would take ten years to catch another (moreover, another without the ability to fly)?

  7. BG! says:

    Originally Posted By BG!
    The Ark Royal and the Harriers are here, now, working and battle-worthy...

    Of course, they're not actually here, in my kitchen. That would be silly 🙄

  8. alan.sloman says:

    Nicely put Stef! I see your point. So then - these cuts that you are going to make....
    😉

  9. BG! says:

    @alan.sloman

    Hmm... I do agree with most of the cuts that have been announced, so mainly I'd be looking to make "changes to facilitate savings":

    I'd change the system that lets European nationals work here and send earnings abroad while we pay our own to continue jobless. A while ago it was claimed that we'd need many more thousands of EU workers here to fill a perceived demand for labour. It's clear now that such a perception was incorrect. Policy needs to be corrected in light of this, I favour a complete ban except for justifiable cases.

    I'd stop paying out foreign aid when there's aid needed here. As it stands, people have no say in where it goes. At least with charitable donations donors can choose the intended recipient, so I'd still encourage that.

    I'd raise some revenue by legalising cannabis broadly in line with California's Proposition 19 (and no, I'm not a user, the last drag I had was cadged several years ago).

    I'd stop subbing large-scale Green Energy initiatives and let the private sector sort it wholly instead - there's nowt like the prospect of profits for getting arses off seats.

    There are some things I'd do that wouldn't have much fiscal impact but which might be good for public morale during such troubled times:

    I'd ban all bonuses for bankers, and cap their salaries.

    Same for politicians and government civil servants.

  10. alan.sloman says:

    Originally Posted By BG!@alan.sloman

    Hmm... I do agree with most of the cuts that have been announced, so mainly I'd be looking to make "changes to facilitate savings":

    I'd change the system that lets European nationals work here and send earnings abroad while we pay our own to continue jobless. A while ago it was claimed that we'd need many more thousands of EU workers here to fill a perceived demand for labour. It's clear now that such a perception was incorrect. Policy needs to be corrected in light of this, I favour a complete ban except for justifiable cases.

    Stef: The Brits won't *do* the jobs that the Eastern Europeans are doing willingly.

    I'd stop paying out foreign aid when there's aid needed here. As it stands, people have no say in where it goes. At least with charitable donations donors can choose the intended recipient, so I'd still encourage that.

    Stef: Seriously? Digging wells in sub Saharan Africa etc - thousands would die. Food Aid to starving countries, etc etc .

    I'd raise some revenue by legalising cannabis broadly in line with California's Proposition 19 (and no, I'm not a user, the last drag I had was cadged several years ago).

    I'd stop subbing large-scale Green Energy initiatives and let the private sector sort it wholly instead - there's nowt like the prospect of profits for getting arses off seats.

    Stef: AGREED - wholeheartedly!

    There are some things I'd do that wouldn't have much fiscal impact but which might be good for public morale during such troubled times:

    I'd ban all bonuses for bankers, and cap their salaries.

    That would screw Britain as a centre of Banking. To do this you would need worldwide support. Without that the banks would leave.
    Same for politicians and government civil servants.

    Stef: Oooh - Difficult ground - it depends at what level the bonuses are being paid at. Most Civil Servants earn a pittance.

    THIS COMMENT WAS RESCUED FROM THE ETHER. NO IDEA WHY IT WAS CLASSED AS SPAM.

  11. alan.sloman says:

    Blast! Just left a long reply and the ether ate it!

    In brief again:

    European Nationals do the work that the Brits won't - and for less. That's just economics.

    Foreign Aid: You would condemn to death thousands in Africa through disease, starvation & thirst....

    Subbing Green Energy: AGREED! WHOLEHEARTEDLY!

    Capping Bankers salaries- Okay - but get world agreement to do the same in every other world banking centre, or kiss our banks goodbye.

    Civil Servants Bonuses: Most civil Servants earn a pittance - so it depends upon whose bonus you are cutting.

    Paying to repatriate foreign criminals is likely to cost £6M. Housing them here would cost more. Kicking them out is not an option as the European Court of Human Rights would not allow it.

    So - Not much saved there eh? It's a difficult game Stef!
    😉

  12. BG! says:

    European Nationals do the work that the Brits won't - and for less. That's just economics. Agreed, but if the choice for a jobless Brit was "do that or lose yer dole", it would save.

    Foreign Aid: You would condemn to death thousands in Africa through disease, starvation & thirst.... We pump millions into Africa already and it makes only short-term differences for most. Maybe part of the problem is that the African ecosystem can't support current numbers. Harsh but true, just like our spending-cuts.

    Subbing Green Energy: AGREED! WHOLEHEARTEDLY! Good. Would you be miffed if I said that I'd seek to abandon the use of fossil-fuels and go over to nuclear, based on an extensive network of local SMRs?

    Capping Bankers salaries- Okay - but get world agreement to do the same in every other world banking centre, or kiss our banks goodbye. XXX Goodbye XXX

    Civil Servants Bonuses: Most civil Servants earn a pittance - so it depends upon whose bonus you are cutting. I did specify government civil servants, who earn a pretty penny down in the halls of power. Oh, and I said "Ban", not "cut".

    Paying to repatriate foreign criminals is likely to cost £6M. Housing them here would cost more. Kicking them out is not an option as the European Court of Human Rights would not allow it. Alan, this isn't paying to repatriate crims, it's paying crims. Besides, the ECoHR should get real - crims should lose some of their rights, IMO.

    So - Not much saved there eh? Didn't need to save anything, Alan, as I'd previously saved the cost of a brand new aircraft-less carrier by keeping the perfectly-good one that we already have :mrgreen:

    It has occurred to me that I could save the NHS a small sum by outlawing the use of barbed-wire in public places 😆

    I note that you avoided the cannabis issue.

  13. alan.sloman says:

    That's why I keep coming back to this excellent blog. It's all good fun Stef.

    (And yes - let's go nuclear. or biomass - we could fill the biomass generators with all the cannabis plants grown in all the cells of the jails housing the criminals.....)

  14. BG! says:

    Biomass power would be a doddle - with such a never-ending supply of Westminster bullshit a generator would run forever 😉

  15. alan.sloman says:

    That's it! We don't need nuclear subs any more - we could stick a wind turbine on their conning towers so they could recharge their batteries when they are on the surface.

  16. alan.sloman says:

    😆 )00h - I was told that the smiley was too short!

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