Role-playing by Schoolboy Politicians threatens real interests of United Kingdom

Major General Julian Thompson, Commander of 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands conflict, plus four retired admirals pointed out (11th November 1010) what must be obvious to everyone outside the Cameron-Clegg government, namely that scrapping the Ark Royal, our one remaining carrier and the 61 Harrier GR9 jets, which are the only carrier-born aircraft we have, is an open invitation to the Argentines to have another go at taking the Falklands by force.  What the admirals and general didn’t say though was that this decision should be seen in the context of the £7 billion per annum we are paying out on foreign aid, euphemistically referred to as “International Development” and £13 billion p.a. (gross) we are paying to the EU (both planned to rise substantially over the next four years).  This is real madness by schoolboy politicians who put acting out roles on the European and International stages ahead of the real defence needs of the United Kingdom.

The cost of keeping the 61 Harrier GR9 and 9As was estimated on this website as less than £1 billion per year.  Keith Mann, former RAF pilot and Conservative MP, presently chairman of the Air League, urges in a recent report that the government retain at least one squadron of, say 16, Harriers as part of the UK’s Reserve Forces.

The last Harrier fly-off from the carrier Ark Royal took place yesterday, 24 November 2010, to be followed by its decommissioning and scrapping before Christmas. This haste is clearly prompted by a wish to put the government’s decision about the Harriers beyond recall.  Amid all the clamour about the cuts and their supposed effects on the poor, this decision, along with the cancellation in July of the £80 million loan to Sheffield Forge Masters in preparation for the urgently needed nuclear power programme, are the only significant cuts which have actually taken place, as opposed to cuts in future planned increases.

All too typically, these cuts either reduce the UK’s capacity to defend itself, or to earn its living in the world.  This playing at government is all of a piece with the role-playing plan (23rd November) to lend £7 billion to the Irish Republic, money which the UK doesn’t have, so will have to borrow first.

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