Friday, January 05, 2007

Ruined Britannia, No Long Rules the Waves

For almost two centuries Britain was the world's foremost naval power. Eclipsed by American naval supremacy, its fortunes have fallen steadily. But once Tony Blair is finished with it, it will barely have enough ships to defend the British Isles.

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 decline of the British navy - along with all other elements of the British military - has been in motion since the end of WWI. But it has been sharply accelerated by the policies of Tony Blair's Labor Party, which have gutted funding for the military. As the British military has been emasculated, Blair has also looked increasingly toward military integration with Europe, rendering it plausible that the slashing of the British military is a calculated move to reduce British independence and force Britain to integrate more readily into the European Union. If so, this does a massive disservice to the British people (who want no such thing), and will only further marginalize Britain within the EU, in which Britain will become a secondary player to Germany and France. Britain's "special relationship" with the US (since WWI) has hinged on its independence from the Continent, and its ability to field relatively significant military force (though not comparable to US might) of its own. With these moves, the advantage of maintaining the "special relationship" vanishes for the US, and Washington will increasingly look toward Berlin as its major partner in Europe.

The slow trainwreck that is the modern UK - slowed only briefly by the Thatcher moment - is increasingly sad to watch.

A senior officer, currently serving with the Fleet in Portsmouth, said: "What this means is that we are now no better than a coastal defence force or a fleet of dug-out canoes. The Dutch now have a better navy than us."

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.

Steve Bush, editor of the monthly magazine Warship World, said the MoD was bankrupt following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"After 10 years of Labour government, the Royal Navy is on its knees without immediate and proper funding. I cannot see how it can recover —especially if Mr Brown becomes the next prime minister," he said.

There are already reports that ships on operations are ignoring faults to weapons systems in order to save money but will spend cash if it is a health and safety issue.

And a particular ignominy for the once-proud British...

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.

Blimey! But at least Britain will still be the home of a vibrant (read: increasingly, violent crime-ridden), multicultural welfare state, where individual responsibility doesn't exist and politically incorrect opinions are punished by law. Good job, Mr. Blair.


At 5:01 AM , Blogger Dennis Dale said...

I caught part of a documentary on TV last night about the Falklands campaign. A former British officer said if the Argentinians hadn't surrendered when they did Britain would have had to pack it in about a week later; their fleet was wearing down.
I wish I could remember the title of the documentary, it was excellent, alternating back and forth between the recollections of Argentinian and British vets.


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