Behold Blairite Britain!
Royal Navy commanders were in uproar yesterday after it was revealed that almost half of the Fleet's 44 warships are to be mothballed as part of a Ministry of Defence cost-cutting measure. Senior officers have said the plans will turn Britain's once-proud Navy into nothing more than a coastal defence force.
The Government has admitted that 13 unnamed warships are in a state of reduced readiness, putting them around 18 months away from active service. Today The Daily Telegraph can name a further six destroyers and frigates that are being proposed for cuts. A need to cut the defence budget by £250 million this year to meet spending requirements has forced ministers to look at drastic measures.
The six warships to be mothballed are the Type 22 frigates Cumberland, Chatham, Cornwall and Campbeltown and two Type 42 destroyers Southampton and Exeter.
It is likely that they will eventually be sold or scrapped. There are also fears in the Admiralty that two new aircraft carriers, promised in 1998, might never be built. Meanwhile the French navy, which will be far superior to the Royal Navy after the cuts, will announce before the April presidential elections that a new carrier will be built.
Defence sources said it would be unlikely that the Navy could now launch an armada of the kind that retook the Falkland Islands in 1982.
I wept when I read this. Not a bit of hyperbold. Wept. This is a wicked and disgraceful thing. At a time when the world so desperately needs to increase its military spending one of the great naval powers of history is calling it quits. A glorious tradition finished off by a pack of grinning statists with no conception of the past or present. Mark Steyn has rightly called Tony Blair the first British Prime Minister who thought the job wasn't big enough for him, that he'd prefer to be a satrap of that Belgian based monstrosity the EU. Please no gibberish about Britain no longer having an Empire. We're not talking about rebuilding the Grand Home Fleet. Simply maintaining British influence on the world stage. Pulling her, and frankly much of Europe's weight in the world. France is keeping up, for her own perfidious ends. Why is Britain falling behind? Was the Great Thatcherite Revival merely an Indian Summer? Has Harold Wilson (who shut down the Admiralty) finally won out? Have the modern Little Englanders won out? The nation that checked Phillip II and Louis XIV, that brought down Kaiser Wilhelm II and the Nazism, that withstood Communism abroad and democratic socialism at home, done in, at long last, by a man who calls himself Tony? Can you imagine Sir Anthony Eden, the late Earl of Avon, asking a television interviewer to call him Tony? No, you cannot. I wish to finish this little rant of mine, for which I thank the indulgence of the proprietors, on what I hope is not a melodramatic note. John of Gaunt's deathbed speech from Richard II:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!
Richard II, Act 2. Scene I