« Computers | Main | Some Rules of Life every school child should get straight! »

January 12, 2007

More cuts for the Navy?

A bit of a storm in the press - and not the one currently battering this soggy isle! - caught my eye earlier this week. It seems that someone in the MoD is once more planning to decimate the Royal Navy. Not since the days of King Charles II's parliament and their mothballing of the entire Fleet while the country was still at war, has this nation seen anything as stupid! What will it take to get this shower of morons ejected from their ivory towers in the refurbished MoD HQ and the Treasury? Where is Admiral van Tromp when you need him?

Judging from the letters column in the Torygraph there is as much stupidity among some of the readers and letter writers as there is in the Treasury and the MoD. Perhaps some of those letter writers are civil servants or retired civil servants? [Probably not, they are all Guardian (or Gruaniad!) readers, must be because that is the only paper the civil service advertises in. - Ed] Certainly some of these letter writers believe that one ship is equal to a hundred simply because it has X amount of fire power. Have these complete morons learned nothing? Oops, sorry, by definition a moron cannot learn anything. So why do we tolerate having these vital services run by morons?

It seems that, to "save money", the MoD is considering shutting down Portsmouth Naval Base. And yes, the rattling sound you can hear all over the country is the whirling of generations of Naval dead in their coffins. The noise in St Paul's crypt is almost deafening! The argument is constantly advanced that "we are building two new carriers and six new destroyers". Yes, but to replace THREE carriers and TWELVE destroyers! Oh, and a complete class of Minehunters, some sixteen ships has been reduced to just six. And the Roayl Navy has lost its Air Arm - or at least it has lost all its fixed wing capability. It must now ship RAF aircraft (not designed for shipboard use) and pilots who must now spend months learning to fly off a moving airfield. This was tried in the 1920's and 30's and is the main reason the navy went to war with outdated biplanes and no fighters on its aircraft carriers! The Royal Yacht has been given to Scotland as a show ship, the submarine fleet is being eroded, and even the nuclear deterrent is under threat - all at a time when the world has never been more under threat and more unstable.

Earlier this week I visited a military site. It used to run efficiently and economically and did what it did well. It is now run by Serco at vast expense and the MoD has to rent it back from Serco. The place is stuffed with Civil Servants who have taken over the Officer's Mess and the Officers have decamped to eat in the local pubs. Why, because they find the stench of hypocrisy too much for their stomachs - especially as nothing works properly any longer, everything takes five times as long to get - if it can be got without a "business case" - and invariably it can only be got if some filing clerk now labelled a manager, is prepared to accord the uniformed services a higher priority than the nice little paper shuffler who needs their office redecorated.

A friend in the NHS has exactly the same general complaint. The "Manager" constantly says no to medical needs while saying yes to new office equipment, additional paper shufflers and nice furniture for the "Executive" suite - stuff the patients and their needs, and particularly stuff the medical staff. And this in a trust that is £40 million in the red and considering closing hospitals and overloading understaffed services in the remainder. Oh yes, the Wonders of the Treasury thought that forcing hospital trusts to take out these loans in the first place "saved money". Just as the Treasury thinks that privatising the running of military bases, military transport and the servicing and maintenance of military hardware "saves money". The fact that it now costs twice as much because it means that the military lose the expertise and must not only pay the trooper, matelot or airman that used to do it - but must now pay some contractor as well to steal their expertise!

The advantage of having things run by soldiers, sailors and airmen for soldiers, sailors and airmen is that when the s**t hits the fan, all of them can be marched out to fight. Now, we run out of men immediately the s**t hits the big whirly thing because the men we have already committed to the front line are all we have. No reserves and don't expect the civil servants to go and do it - "not in my job description" breaks out en masse!

Another advantage of having soldiers, sailors and airmen running things is that they know that, when ammunition is unsuitable for a weapon - you don't send it along anayway just to make up the numbers! Couldn't happen? Think again, our Parachute Regiment is in Afghanistan with a full thrid of their ammunition for the .50 machine gun they have on their patrol vehicles unusable, something that was identified several years ago and corrected - or so they thought. The complete a******e in Whitehall (and I sincerely hope that he has been taken out and publically flogged before being charged with treason!) responsible for the supply of munitions, is now on record saying, "It was deemed better to ensure that they had a full supply of ammunition, than to send them with a reduced supply!" Really? It is better to have ammunition that you can't use rather than fewer rounds that you can - and kick someones rear off his comfy (and very expensive) luxury armchair in the MoD to get the full compliment of proper ammunition there yesterday?

How do our modern Admirals, Generals and Air Marshals put up with this? Where are the men of principle who, fifty years ago would have threatened to resign en masse and go public? Why are the morons in the Treasury and the MoD allowed to remain in post?

Let us be clear on this. You cannot expect to do with five ships what you can do with fifty. You cannot use ammunition which does not work in the weapon you are holding. You cannot keep demanding more and more from fewer and fewer people, and you cannot replace the ships and men you have lost through this folly overnight! It take eighteen months to reactivate a ship that has been mothballed and several years to train up the people to staff them. Aircraft are only marginally quicker on the turn round. And as all this must now be done using "Prince 2" procedures and contractors the Navy, Army and Airforce have no control over or input into - guess what, the Civil Service will screw it up completely and it will take twice as long and nothing will work. Good game - if you can become the contractor, no blame, no pain and an open cash vault for you.

There is, of course, another question on this, one the Civil Service and Blair and Co don't want asked. What deal have they done with the EU that has agreed a reduction in our forces to Squadron, Division and Air Group status? I suspect they are about to declare that we no longer need our own forces because the EU will take over responsibility for Defence. The French have been working on that for years, and I think our Whitehall liars and thieves have signed up to it - and are afraid to tell us the truth, that is why they are closing bases, reducing materiele and personnel. They are about to hand the country over to Brussels. Napoleon's dreams realised and without firing a shot!

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 12, 2007 10:00 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry: