The Curmudgeon


Saturday, March 03, 2012

Britannia Rules the Waves

Despite its recent troubles, there are encouraging signs of continuity at the Ministry of Peace over the Royal Navy's interminable new aircraft carriers. Last autumn the Government decided to equip the carriers with an American fighter which has a "longer range and greater payload", which means it can bomb more wogs while ministers remain at safer distances than ever before. Also, it is cheaper than the alternate version, and the necessary modifications to the carriers would enable British and French ships to exchange aircraft, thus fostering our new and doubtless fragile spirit of co-operation with the country that sold the Argies the Falklands-vintage French-made Exocet missile.

These flaws are all grievous enough, but doubtless it was the prospect of sharing decks with the French that provoked the Ministry of Peace to tear up its original decision, on the ostensible grounds that someone with a spreadsheet thingy has just noticed that the expense of modifying the carriers outweighs the cheapness of the aircraft. The present plan, if you will excuse the euphemism, is to buy the alternate version of the fighter in the vague hope that the extra expense involved will outweigh something or other else. The cost of the aircraft has risen because of cuts in the US defence budget; however, this will be counterbalanced by the effect of cuts in the British defence budget, which will ensure that at least one carrier will be placed in storage the moment it has been launched. The second carrier will be at sea in eight years or so, but nobody knows how many fighters it will carry; conveniently, according to Government estimates, by that time there will only be six operational fighters anyway. As one would expect given the Government's policy of saving money, the cost of the carriers is likely to increase to almost twice its present level, and more than three times its original level, before the glorious saga concludes. It is stirring to see that the Ministry's levels of confusion are being maintained to the ambitious standards achieved by the previous Secretary for War and the Colonies, Adam Werritty.

Me at Poetry-24
Helping Out


  • At 2:57 pm , Anonymous Mew said...

    And with those 6 aircraft, we'll likely be punching above our weight.

  • At 4:02 pm , Blogger Philip said...

    Let's just hope there's enough oil in Somalia to fuel the bloody things.


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