Large or petty,
Never Give In, October 29, 1941 Winston Churchill
I was going to write a stinging attack on Paddy Ashdown and the IPPR, who managed to write a report which recommended scraping every navy project, and greater still - not purchasing any American equipment or actually exercising with them as much; because it is Europe that is our future and Europe that is our greatest ally and commitment; however after reading the report, and realising how lacking in proper research (apart from the opinion of so called 'great men' of the past) and un-ashamedly biased and corrupt it was; with pages reading as if they had been cribbed from the former Commander of the RAF's article in the telegraph. So I decided to be balanced, methodical, and vaguely polite. I would also like to point outs in panel was surprisingly lacking from a balanced naval point of view; perhaps this explains why every system it seeks to cut or curtail is part of the Royal Navy's order of battle.
On a sub-note I would point out that the last time a power put its nuclear deterrent on aircraft, with cruise missiles, well accidents did happen - and who really likes the thought of nuclear bombs endlessly circling above our heads.
The phrase throwing the baby out with the bath water springs to my mind, when the say that whilst we cannot fault the strategic and tactical arguments for the nuclear deterrent, aircraft carriers, JSF (rather than Typhoon's...which they do not mention in spending review at all), or Type 45's(which are not in service yet, but they have been built, and yet they want to scrap them or sell them on); however, due to the strictures of the current financial climate we should cancel them all, and put of the Future Surface Combatant indefinitely. Okay, I know currently we are fighting a war in Afghanistan; but who knows where we will be fighting next? Who knows what forms of conflict there will be? What we do know is that aircraft carriers are useful; they provide on call air power where ever they are needed. As for the strategic nuclear deterrent, it is currently the only ace in our sleeve keeping us on as a permanent member of the Security Council; something which every foreign expert says is incalculable in its worth diplomatically and status wise. The T-45s are necessary in a world of cruise missiles; and whilst they do not have the t41 vls which would allow them to carry the SM-3 ABMM...they are pretty good, and could be upgraded fairly cheaply. as for the JSF's...the same arguments for an aircraft carrier, require that vessel to have aircraft, and the RAF has got rid of the sea harriers...so there is no other option.
Let’s all go nuts and piss of our best ally buy European, conform with Europe. This seems strange to me; as it is a German soldier in Afghanistan complains about a lack of a good bed..and if they see combat, then the whole company has to go back home for counselling; whilst this is not something to hold against the Germans - it is something to say that you should seek to have as much commonality with its more active partner; with the one who it goes to war with. We may someday see United States of Europe, I for one shall fight it democratically to the utmost; and if me and those like me fail...expect to see me moving to Canada, or Australia, New Zealand perhaps; but up until that point to do try and make something out of nothing, make an artificial connection because that is your dream, when the reality is very different.
Finally the bias. An attack on all these navy projects, well that must mean the RN is now not necessary. well its not surprising; you take a group of former RAF, and Army officers, and you ask them to write a free thinking paper on the future of defence spending...surprise, surprise the service which they can take the money from is the Navy...wow that was unexpected - please excuse the cynicism but I am getting a little fed up of this; we have to stop this destruction of our armed forces...these spending fights are turning them inside out, and this is going to lead to tactical problems in the battlefield. If only they united together against the treasury, then they would surely far more likely to succeed in getting what they need to carry out the missions that the British Government signs them up for.
And where are the FCO, in this piece I see no mention of them, I see no mention of their views on the aircraft carriers, and the strategic nuclear deterrent...even though these weapons are in the norm far more important to them and their work? I find this lack of involvement and lack of joined up long-term thinking and preparation a little disturbing, and disquieting; it seems so reactionist as to be dangerous.
So after writing all this, you will be wondering why I started off with Churchill, well apart from it being about time I did, I thought it would be a good speech for those who speak reason, for those who put forward a balanced strategy for defence. I support the aircraft carriers, I also support the army's need for troops, I am sceptical - although many are not and I do respect their arguments, of the value of the Typhoon fighters...what though I want to see, second only to an election, is a proper defence review; which instead of looking just to see what it can cut, is a review which says: these are our current commitments; this what we need to be able to maintain these commitments; these are likely commitments; therefore we need some other stuff to give coverage if they come true. That is the only way that any British government could fulfil its most sacred duty...defence of the realm, and the only way to rebuild the covenant between the political classes, the British people, and the forces which protect them...by allowing the forces to ask for and be given what they need to do the jobs we ask of them.