Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the 12 mile exclusion zone.


There has been a lot of talking of Labour mishandling of the defence industry and the armed services on here of late. But what has been missed out is not only the oldest service, but the only one capable of taking upon itself the roles of the other two. I refer of course the Royal Navy.

     There was a time when the Royal Navy was the most powerful force in the world, it was what kept the Germans from invading in both world wars and proved its power as late as 1983. When Maggie decided to retake the Falklands it was the Royal Navy which permitted us to fight a war on the far side of the planet. However such aspirations may soon become a thing of the past.

    It was the 1966 defence paper under Wilson’s labour government which led to the cancelation of the Royal Navy’s last attempt at full size aircraft carriers. This in turn led to the collapse of British deployments ‘east of Suez’ in support of British interests. Now the situation is even worse with the spendthrift attitude of Brown’s government towards the armed forces.

    The extreme left wing Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), suggests that the government should scrap nearly every defence procurement project that is currently around. First on their list is the new carrier replacement program (CVF), and the controversial Trident replacement. Without these projects however the UK would not only become less capable to fight future wars but would be relegated to insignificance. No longer would the UK be able to be a major player in international relations or even a major player in Europe. It would instead join the long list of nations with their glorious and proudest moments behind them.

    With the Trident programme in mind, we must remind ourselves that we are in an increasingly hostile world, rouge states such as North Korea are beginning to build up nuclear arsenals and Iran is not only holding British citizens hostage, but indeed perpetuating a bizarre and twisted rhetoric which serves only to confirm their role as a the greatest danger to world peace, soon to be nuclear armed. Why then must we reduce our already limited capabilities even further?

    There are many that might see such projects to be a poor use of public money. But one must keep in mind not only the value of possessing such military capability on a global level. But also the economic benefit that this would do to our nation. British shipyards have been forsaken since the second world. These industrial forges which created some of the greatest manmade objects the world has ever seen, from the Dreadnought class ships of the First World War to the insurmountable luxury of the great transoceanic liners. They have been the lifeblood of many working class cities and towns. It was economic investment in these shipyards which help rise Britain out of the great depression and have the potential to do the same now.

     However they are relegated to putting together wind turbines and oil rigs. Even Britain’s civil flagship the Queen Mary 2 was built in Chantiers de Atlantique on the Atlantic coast of France. Would it not be sensible when in the middle of an economic downturn to actually start creating and sustaining jobs? Not failing to mention creating a skill base in a world where the great challenges can only be overcome with engineering and scientific expertise. Instead this current Labour government does not consider the long term; it only considers quick fixes to the problems which they contributed to in the first place.


Adam Jenner, Events Officer


11 thoughts on “Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the 12 mile exclusion zone.

  1. ” The UK would … be relegated to insignificance. No longer would the UK be able to be a major player in international relations or even a major player in Europe. It would instead join the long list of nations with their glorious and proudest moments behind them.”

    Is this stolen from Labour’s manifesto for the next election or something ? It seems to sum up Labour’s most determined ambitions rather succinctly !

  2. I think you would have been wiser to refer to the discussion that we’ve already had about defence on this blog. We have arguably the world’s second largest defence budget and we spend 2.5% of GDP on defence against a world average of 2% of GDP.

    As for issues concerning the QM2, which was built long before this recession, how exactly should the government have acted? Do you believe in free markets or not? As Larry Pimental, Cunard’s chief executive pointed out, it was only aggressive lobbying from John Prescott that got Harland and Wolff the attention that they needed in that bid.

  3. No Jack. We have what can only be described as a peace time budget in war time. Our troops do not have the investment, support or resources they need for the tasks that this government committed them too. End of discussion.

  4. I’m amazed that you can give a response that is so small and yet so thick at the same time. You say ‘end of discussion’ but you haven’t participated in adiscussion; you’ve just made assertions with no supporting evidence. Everyone knows that if you were really justifiably confident in your position, you would have said a lot more.

  5. Perhaps you aren’t watching the coffins of our young boys coming home Jack. Perhaps you aren’t listening to the assertions of senior army figures (the ones who actually know what they are talking about) lamenting the lack of support from the government. If you talk to our commanders on the ground they will tell you that we do not have enough troops for what we are being asked to do.

    We are able to take territory but we cannot hold it to allow development to take place. This is aside from the fact that despite being committed to two wars Labour authorised a £1.4 billion cut in the helicopter budget which considering recent events makes this government complicit in the death of our troops. Are the commanders wrong? Are the families of the dead? Is everyone in the world other than Jack Matthew wrong?

    Jack I kept it short and sweet because 1) Its not my place any more. Im not going to rant and rave on the blog, my views on this matter are well documented and supported and 2) You never listen anyway. Although true to form Jack you use your comments to resort to personal attacks. So true to form I’LL sum up with a Thatcher quote :P

    “If they have to attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left”

  6. Jack,

    A comparison against world average is meaningless. It can be calculated on all sorts of basis (ie. do you just take the straight mean of all countries, do you weight by population or costs etc). Its also irrelevant since different countries militaries had different roles and consequently have both different things asked of them and different costs as a result.

    It seems to me that to the extent 2.5% of GDP is sufficient then it’s misspent. If it’s not being misspent then its not sufficient, since we lack vital equipment and (personal opinion) need to increase spending on all three services as well as increasing recruitment .

    I agree with Dan that it probably would be acceptable in peacetime. I suspect that a great deal of the problem is the way that money is used rather than the total amount but thats an academic point as it makes little difference to the outcome.

    I hope Labour’s “tractor stats” on GDP % make grieving families feel better though.


  7. Concerning jobs as an incentive to build weapons, since the computer market is obviously dominating around the world, wouldn’t it make more sense create industries based around tiny computerized weapons, missiles, UAVs, instead of spending scarce funds on shrinking numbers of old-fashioned planes, ships, and tanks?

  8. Dan, you imply that I resorted to personal attacks because I had nothing to suggest, but it was you who discussed the issue without any detialed argument. In any case your ‘end of discussion’ comment now looks a little pale. I do listen, and because I listen much more carefuly than most, I am always very quick to understand the complexity of these issues.

    I do see the coffins, but to suggest that this is because of governemnt negligence is unfair. Senior army figures are not united in their views. In fact several have castigated Gen. Dannatt for his approach over ‘bombproof’ armoured vehicles. Does that mean Gen Dannatt is neglecting his duties? Of course not. Meanwhile Gen. Jackson did say that we were prepared for war in Afghanistan. Of course there areas where in hindisight planning could have been better; but it was never going to be perfect. It’s sad that you have decided to run with the views of some army officers but not others.

    It is true that the lack of helicopters in Afghanistan has restricted operations, but helicopter numbers have increased and the real probelm is the difficulties involved in converting them for Afghan operations.

    However, the availability of helicopters has increased, and the government will increase funding for this by £6bn over the next few years. Mandleson has suggested that Defence should be exempt from the severe spending constraints over the next few years. Osborne however has suggested that defence will not be exempt.

    As it looks like we will have a conservative government in 10 months time, why have none of you expressed concern over this? Surely someone who is genuinly concerned about this issue would have mentioned that the next government has actually made fewer commitments on defence than the current government. Does Liam Fox not realise that people are laughing at the way he has been duped by Osborne?

    The way money is used is as important as the amount of money involved; but one of the sad difficulties is the time lag involved in the distribution of resources. We are trying to redcue that time-lag, but the order of new helicopters which may not arrive until 2010/2011 may find itself out-dated as new challenges arise.

    Mike’s comment demonstrates this quite well. While I belive the ideas he espouses are to an extent correct, it’s hard to know what kind of operations we will be engaged in in the 2010s. If we focus on one type of defence procurement we may find that it is in other areas that capabilities are required. The Falklands is a good exaple: our defence investment in the 70s was focused on the USSR and so we weren’t too well prepared for a more ‘conventional’ war.

    Richard makes a valid point about the comparison of defence budgets. It is extremely difficult to make international comparisons. However his sarcastic closing comment raises the question of how these grieving families feel about the conservative policy of defence cuts. Before anyone suggests that this is merely a result of the recession, defence saw some of its most serious cuts under the previous government and it sounds as though they will be resumed. Under Labour the defence budget has increased while it was falling in 1997. He also talks of increasing investment. If he wants to suggest a programme for this (in the absence of one from the shadow Chancellor) than I will be more than happy to discuss it.

  9. Jack this government have consistently put their own interests ahead of those putting their lives on the line daily. They have shown nothing if not contempt for our forces. They use Stalinist methods to ban troops from speaking to the press. They pay them less for risking their lives daily than they pay traffic wardens monitoring Chesterfield Town Center! They cut the number of helicopters available to them at a time when they are sorely needed. They provide inadequate care for them and their families when they return from often harrowing service. They ignore the advice of the Chief of the General Staff who begs them for more troops/equiptment in order to meet the objectives asigned to them. They committ our boys and girls to more operations than at any time in the post war period yet as a % of GDP investment in defence is lower than at any time since the 1930’s. I could go on and on and on.

    The fact is this government treat the forces with nothing less than contempt. Having family serving in the forces I know all too well that this feeling is prevailant amongst the troops. They feel neglected and woefully unprepared for the challenges asked of them. Why do New Labour hate Dannatt so much? Because he did his duty and stuck his neck on the line for his troops. He went against the grain and said “No. This government is failing our troops” and for that Labour launched a vicious smear campaign against him. Dannatts talents, and the talents of our forces as a whole, have been wasted on this government, which despises their values of honesty and integrity. In a Labour universe where that serial deceiver Peter Mandelson rules supreme, no honest man like Dannatt is likely to prosper and the lives of our service men will be tossed away like pawns in a game of political chess.

  10. So you concede that the Tories will cut funding? If you want to discuss this, why can’t you respond to what I have said?

    On the issue of pay, you make a poor comparison. Soldiers get a range of extra benefits and in any case, where’s the extra money going to come from? Labour will maintain defence funding, the Tories will cut it.

    Labour do not hate Dannatt and they have not cut the nukmber of helicopters. The rpoblem is that the vailabilty of helicopters hasn’t risen fast enough.

  11. Jack and Dan

    during the cold war we spent over 4% of GDP on defence, and as one of you said we were largely equiped for a War against Russia with little priority on conventional wars like the Falklands.

    the fact is 2.2% of GDP is poor, after fighting 2 wars and still being invloved in afghan we should at least be spending 4.2% of GDP and bring back force levels to the 1998 defence review.

    Currently our force levels are pathetic for a nation who holds so much global influence and intrests….we are not Germany, we need a fully capable force, one that can fight wars like Afghan to the falklands to a ww3…..always expect the unexpected…20 years ago no one would of forcast the fall of the USSR, indeed the falklands caught us by suprise.

    happily we have not fallen to far and our military is still in a state of repare, all it will take is a gov with balls who wont lie, cheat, cut projects, spend our money on second homes etc

    Vote UKIP if you love your nation

    obviously labour and the tories are not good enough for the job, we need a change

    defence should come first not last

    if labour increased the defence budget like they did the NHS, education and welfare budgets we would not be in this problem in the first place

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