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4thwatch

This is all about the intransigence of Philip Hammond Chancellor of the Exchequer. He is an ex -Defence Secretary and should know better than to squeeze the life out of the armed forces in general and the Royal Navy in particular. He left his post as Defence Secretary, despite spin saying he had fixed the defence budget shortfall; with a huge deficit. In other words he misled the Nation and the House of Commons. If he doesn’t put it right let’s hope he has time in the New Year to reflect on this from the Back Benches.

Steve

So far, i think that Gavin Williamson has done a good job. As long as he fights for his department, not just in front of everybody, but behind the scenes too, there is a fighting chance that the MoD’s finances could become less of a problem and that could allow more money to flow into the RN. One thing i cant get my head around is the decommissioning of HMS Ocean with no replacement!! Our capability will be cut dramatically.

Michael

I completely concur with you regarding HMS Ocean. As you point out, there is no replacement for her.
The second point that galls me is that Ocean is only 20 years old.
The equivalent class of ship in the USN is built to serve 30-35 years before it is paid out.

Steve

Yes that’s right, and those USN ships are nearly double in size and number!!

Mark

The issue is not that Ocean is being decommissioned but she is going with no replacement!
You need to rember she was built on the cheap originally to bolster the fleet (the cost of a type 23 I think) but built on commercial lines rather than Royal Navy standards and with a life of only 20 years.

Steve

OK, thanks. I didnt realise that. The ideal situation would be several ships similar to the Juan Carlos/Canberra class, as these have the capability for MBT’s as well as fixed wing aircraft.

Eddie

The change of a new defence Secretary is long overdue. And first impression is good . But as usual only time will tell if Gavin Williamson is the real deal.

Steve

yeah, i guess your right. Its a good first impression anyway, so we should be positive and look on to the future.

Gerry

The clutching at straws thread. 6 ships had to be docked to provide 250 guards at Buckingham Palace. Major success for navy!

bigmac

I see the shortage of Naval staff has been reduced to only 720 openings. It was interesting to note the US Navy has similar issues on a larger scale, some 14000 openings. The shortage has become so acute that sailors are working very long hours (100 hour weeks) and experiencing fatigue. Two of the accidents by the 7th fleet in the Pacific have been at least partially attributed to crew fatigue. This is something the RN should not take lightly and ensure their ships are fully manned.

Andrew

I have commented on here before with my experiences of joining the RN, albeit as an officer (so this is not properly representative granted). However, simply providing the dwindling number of sailors, with a proper salary will do wonders for recruitment. At the very least it needs to be competitive with the private sectors. Currently, it simply is not. I think we all have suggestions for where that money may come from.

Ian

I was lucky enough to visit Portsmouth over the hols when all the fleet was in. We took a harbour tour and QE looked magnificent under a brilliant blue sky, but seeing it all in one place as I went round I thought – jeeeze, there really isn’t much is there.
Then as if he ‘d been reading my mind, my 10 year old son said ‘Dad, is that it? Is that all the ships we have?’
I explained, we have subs, RAS & OPVs but we looked at each other and both knew I was putting on a brave face.
The T-23s looked jaded and from another era, Argus going to, it really brought it home to me how thin it all is and what a dereliction of duty by both parties, defence has become.
On a lighter note, I highly recommend a day out at Portsmouth Historic dockyard. It was a three and half our drive each way but totally worth it.

Steve

To be honest with you, i think things will get worse before they get better. The T-23’s are very old and compared with frigates from other countries, they look tired and cluttered. I am not knocking their capabilities though – they have done us proud over the years. Just pray for the restoration of the Navy and the Royal Marines. I hate the thought of cutting the Royal Marines capability – hundreds of years of tradition and fighting elitism being cut down!:( For many people across the world, the armed forces are the face of Britain and its might, and , being very patriotic, I hate the thought of that might being even slightly diminished.

Rick

Agreed, Britain garners her prestige from two institutions, the military and the monarchy. If one or both take a hit, Britain is diminished as a country.

Iqbal Ahmed

Rick, I literally burst out laughing at your post.
Britain garners more prestige from the English language, having the mother of Parliaments, observing the rule of law (at least before the Brexit shenanigans) and creating the NHS.
Compare this to our underfunded (according to the SavetheRN crowd here, at least) and undermanned armed forces or the scandal hit monarchy z lister parasitic celebs (have Beatrice and Eugenia ever done a days work rather than going in a dozen holidays a year subsidised by the UK taxpayer)?

Paul

So what part of Brexit is not observing the rule of law. I am honestly curious as to what you think is illegal?

Iqbal Ahmed

Paul, firstly the whole Gina Miller case on the powers of the executive. Very third world how the government tried to bulldoze their view on triggering Brexit processes rather than going through parliament.
Also, in terms of the post Brexit relationship between the UK and EU judiciary and laws, the independence of judges taking political considerations into account is a very real problem. Also questions of jurisdiction. Will laws apply in the UK and across the continent?
https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/law/2017/nov/21/rule-of-lawin-uk-at-risk-after-brexit-says-former-supreme-court-president

4thwatch

You have got really quite confused and way off topic.
The Judiciary will of course remain independent, UK laws will be made and implemented but UK will be independent and the RN will remain British.

Michael

You made a memory for your son, and that made it all worthwhile.

Iqbal Ahmed

We all want a strong and stable United Kingdom.
The central issue on defence is finance.
We can only have a strong and stable country if we are at peace at home. This means reducing inequality and giving all groups in society a stake in the future. We are the second most unequal society in the OECD. One major way for the government to reduce inequality is for smart investment in social welfare, health and education. The last election result reinforces the fact that the electorate want to see more economic justice.
Therefore significant increases in defence spending will go against the prevailing consensus amongst politicians across the divide and the electorate. There is also the question of where any increases will come from. Who wants to see their local A&E close down because the Royal Navy wants a new frigate to police the Gulf and Middle East? The aid budget is increasing Britain’s ‘soft power’ abroad and money better spent than on ‘hard power’ in defence that we are unlikely to utilise.
Add in the economic cost of Brexit (and referendum promises of £350 million extra spending on the NHS per week) and in fact a further reduction, rather than an increase, in defence procurement would seem to be justified.

Paul

Soft Power is great until you actually need to do something. Next year if the hurricane season is the same or worse than this we will no longer have HMS Ocean to assist. But we will have the option to send HMS Albiin or HMS Bulwark (hopefully they will survive the cuts) in extremis we could send HMS Queen Elizabeth. This ability to deploy at short notice requires hadware and more importantly well trained people. Soft Power only goes so far. Soft Power did not fix the issues in Sierra Leone. That required the application of hardpower. The world is a dangerous place.

Ian

Agreed. Too many people confuse the two. We are investing far too much in soft and not enough in hard.

4thwatch

Money doesn’t grow on trees. This a lesson the left doesn’t seem to understand after all these years. Unless we have a successful economy you don’t have anything, you have poverty, inequality and hopelessness.
Defence spend can be positive in many ways. Employing people in the military both directly and indirectly is re-distributive provided its carefully thought through. You can see it as further education for the participants, especially when they are involved in advanced tech. It can also bring aid to many parts of the world after disaster. The RN supported by the RAF was able to bring rapid aid in the wake of the Typhoon in the Philippines and likewise this year in the Caribbean following the Hurricanes.
We cant do that or much else if we pursue Mr Ahmed’s Coastal Navy (sabotage) dream.
Naturally we also need strong hardpower as anyone who has studied these things will be aware.

Steve

Exactly, spot on. Defence spending has a lot of knock-on impacts sustaining thousands of jobs across the UK. OK, there are many other ways in which to spend the budget on, but defence is one of the key areas.
As you point out, the RN and RAF made a vital contribution to restoration of the islands swept by hurricanes and storms…..the whole world was watching this……if we didn’t have a half decent navy we wouldn’t have been able to provide much help and we may have had to rely on other European nations or America.
Mr Ahmed doesn’t seem to have a clue what he is on about – I suggest a little research to save you the embarrassment of adjustment and correction by other, learned people on this site!

Rick

The lefts answer to everything, shovel in more money for “social welfare, health and education.”

Mike B

It’s unfortunate that the Tories only look at the bottom line balance.
The armed forces don’t show a profit nor should they.
The cap on forces pay and the fact that a members of the armed forces can be made redundant with no union representation like any outher employees make the armed forces less attractive positions.
In the next couple of years the government will need to make some proper investment in our armed forces.
They need to make a new no compolsury redudency promise to members of the armed forces.

Commander X

The Blackman case was an interesting one for me personally.
When I first heard about the Al Blackman story and witnessing the subsequent public out-cry and appeals for the Sergeant to be released I believed he was someone who had been made a scapegoat. I do still believe he was hung out to dry.
Around November 2016, I began a Military Ethics course via the Defence Academy. One of the major case studies was Al Blackman, the RM Sergeant who fired a 9mm round into the chest of a Taliban fighter who was lying seriously wounded after an Apache WAH-64D had struck him with 30mm. It should be noted that the unit did attempt medical care of the fighter.
The course was lead by military officers, one of which had been Al Blackman’s CO at one point in his career.
They explained how there had been an ethical breakdown, how the extreme pressures and possible mental weaknesses had contributed to a unit that should not have been out in the field, and how Sgt Blackman, an exemplary soldier, simply ‘lost it’ for a ‘moment’, and that moment cost him his career and liberty.
The case study concluded that he did wrong and was jailed as a result of breaking the ethical principles of the UK Armed Forces.
Its not easy to understand what went on in that compound, especially if you haven’t been in that situation yourself. A lot of people were campaigning for and against Sgt Blackman without fully understanding the situation.

J W Carlin

I think that the people that put Sgt Blackman in that position should have been in the dock with him – especially “Tone” Bliar.