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Iqbal Ahmed

Look at the list of operations again. Most were Imperialistic offensive operations in nature.
We have little need of this in a future where intervention abroad recedes into the background, as s result of public disquiet over Afghanistan and Iraq.
Our deployments to NATO will be restricted to detach a frigate or destroyer that stays well out of reach of danger. Sending in marines/ground forces could turn messy.


Firstly, most of the deployments were not offensive but defensive covering British withdrawals at the end of empire. The two wars you mention are an abomination and are the only conflicts where British public opinion was significantly against our involvement. For that reason they should not be used for planning our future military capabilities because this type of military adventurism with no clear strategic goal is quite rightly not acceptable in the UK. But a small mobile, flexible and adaptable force is probably what we do need to cover our limited interventions in the future.


Oh joy Lord Haw Haw is back.

B Lambert

Iqbal Ahmed. You are able to comment freely on this site because of the men and women that stand guard over your freedoms 24/7. Honourable men and women protect your rights, maybe you should say thank you. Freedom is not free but hard won.

Iqbal Ahmed

B Lambert, we have a lot of people to thank for the freedoms we enjoy.
So thank you, politicians, civil servants, political activists, soldiers, sailors, airmen, bin men (one measure of civilisation might be the distance between one’s nose and the final resting place of one’s bowel movements)! Etc etc

fat dave

Troll and ill-informed you might be but I did enjoy the idea that binmen should be thanked for the freedoms we enjoy today. That made us all smile in the office, so thanks!
God rest all those bin men who fell in active duty, preserving British democracy – the home of freedom and birthplace of human rights. Greater love etc etc

Silent Majority

Ah, the self appointed defender of the working class who doesn’t know that the sewerage system deals with human waste, not the bin men. In this country anyway, which is probably not yours.
Unless of course you are inappropriately using your bin, in which case I feel sorry for the guys who look after your neigbourhood. Although, you seem to leave most of it on here anyway apparently.

Lord Haw Haw the younger

So by that logic you should thank the Victorian imperialists who brought us modern sewers and industrialisation
Think before you open your grid oppo


I’ve been to countries where the distance between one’s bowel movements and one’s nose are insignificant. The all are ruled and populated by people with names like yours, Iqbal….
Let’s count the number of Nobel Prizes to members of countries ruled by people like you,. IQBAL…
ONE… And she is a. YADZIDI Christian who escaped from an isis brothel….
Your society and its impact on humanity ensures the existence of the. Royal Marine Commandos for the next hundred years….


Disquiet was probably justified because of losses. But that was a direct result of poor leadership in the upper echelons and no clear mission. Further, the press MUST be kept out of future conflicts.
The need for the Corps is self evident. Phrases like “Imperialistic Offensive nature” are from an age long past and really expose who and what you are. You’re really underestimating our ability and resolve if you think the dripping water will wear this stone down so you propaganda is wasted. Just relect how we were able to travel to far off lands and being isolated, wreaked havoc on a barbaric culture, not bad eh?

Iqbal Ahmed

‘Just relect how we were able to travel to far off lands and being isolated, wreaked havoc on a barbaric culture, not bad eh?’
Ahhh…Imperial nostalgia…..
If only we had a time machine to send you back to the 1920s.

Silent Majority

I wouldn’t get so cocky if I were you. By ‘we’ I think you meant ‘I’, as in the singular. You have no support on here.
All you are is some Marxist malocontent who makes a bigger chump of himself everytime he get’s on his keyboard, presumably just on the off chance someone did not see any of your earlier posts.
These issues are serious, with wide ranging consequences for the country and presently many dedicated individuals who are wondering if they have a job, or questioning why they elected to serve their country.
Many people have patietntly attempted to enlighten you, but alas you just thrive on rocking the boat. Please do us a favour and return to your copy of Socialist Worker/undergrad thesis/whatever and leave the grown ups to discuss matters in these topsy turvey times.
I appologise on your behalf to everyone doing their best to serve this country in what ever cappacity, and hope they know that they have the thanks and support of most of us, regardless of what the politicians are up to.

S mcl

Your living in cuckoo land. Open your eyes and you will see a different world


I think Dern has hit it on the head. Where do your loyalties lie Iqbal?


No point asking mate, I’ve already outright accused him of being either and ISIS sympathizer or a Putin stooge, there’s no way he’s admitting to either of course. But yes it’s entirely because he has a “Muslim sounding name” and not because of his constant anti-British posting that we might think that.

Iqbal Ahmed

Ron, my loyalties lie with Britain. Or more precisely to the working classes. Nation states are so passé.
The polity of a Britain, where both the government of the day and the official opposition have funding policies resulting in the reduction in the size of the navy. I agree and believe this process should be accelerated so that the navy is able to protect our territorial waters and NATO commitments. Not keeping up with the Jones in the Security Council or BRICS by getting involved in global missions for which we are not equipped and have no popular mandate.
We need to value the lives of our sailors and soldiers by not sending them off on fools errands and forever wars with no strategic threshold for success.
As ever, it is Save the Royal Navy which is out of touch with the spending priorities of the British people. Keep the negative votes coming. It’s currently at -41. I want it to reach triple figures so that visitors can see the distance between the priorities of this site and the common man.

Silent Majority

Can’t this guy be moderated away/blocked from the site?
Just how offensive does a poster need to be?

Iqbal Ahmed

Umm…what exactly is offensive about my post above? Particularly the bit about valuing the lives of our service personnel?
If I’m wrong about government funding priorities being different to Save the Roulyal Navy, why so many articles/comments criticising funding and the size of the navy? Why so many ‘just one more frigate/destroyer/amphibious ship’ threads?
Stating you guys are out of touch is simply an observation and one that might make your lobbying efforts more productive here if it’s seen as more than right wing armchair Admirals not able to ‘live within ones means’ and salivating over new ship designs and weapons systems? Concentrating more discussion on personnel, training and the better procurement spending on generous funding already received would be more productive and elicit sympathy.
I could be blocked for having political differences with others here but everything I’ve said has been stated by someone else here at some time. So I can only guess it’s because of my name….


Iqbal, You talk shit, and twist history that what is offensive. I am working class and you dont talk for me. NOW piss off!

David Co

“So I can only guess it’s because of my name….”
It is because of your name, it isn’t Iqbal any more than mine is, it’s just suited you to use a name from a discriminated minority so you can fall back on it when you run out of answers, a regular occurrence by the look of it.
The moderators would be within their perfect right to remove you and in fairness I am a little puzzled as to why they haven’t. This site is primarily about the Royal Navy, it is not a forum for political posturing or wailing wall to repent the Empire’s past sins.


Don’t think so, but I would be interested to see what would happen if you tried a different name. I think that your content would make it too easy to spot you. I find your lefty crap to be no worse than a lot of the unthinking blind promotion of the RN from a lot of the posters here. I suppose that the clue is in the title, but it’s largely this type of thinking (or lack of it) that has got us into this mess.

fat dave

I do share some of your sentiments about defence commitments and our priorities being defence of the UK and support for NATO. Nor should we support overseas ventures that do not reflect our interests and potentially undermine our security.
However, your support for the working class(es) is out of touch with reality. Incidentally, you should refer to “working class”, not “working classes”. I appreciate they have not yet achieved full consciousness yet, as Marx would say but referring to them as “classes” perpetuates the belief that they are different entities.
The working class are also vermin. Poorly educated scum whose values do not contribute to a progressive society. They clog up the NHS with their alcohol and smoking-related illnesses, they ruin the name of the country with their violent tendencies and they threaten us all with a myriad of unpleasant diseases, such as scabies. Which they all have.


um, ah … I think your knowledge and understanding of History, that is World history, is somewhat narrow. Perhaps your education needed a somewhat wider curriculum or you have a need to read a wider range of books and articles by the many scholars, statesmen, scientists, innovators/inventors/engineers, artists/musicians/poets and business men that the world has produced. You may also find that travelling the world, looking at the many races therein and learning about and respecting their customs and differences, would help your education too. This last you should do with an unjaundiced eye.


The RM are recognised world over as one of, if not the finest fighting force there is! That reputation has been hard earned, so that this country and those lucky to call it home sleep safe,
enjoy our freedoms, raise our children and enjoy our families in safety and security. Mr Ahmed without highly trained ,flexible, mobile and adaptable troops we will not have those luxuries in the future.If you don’t agree with that Im sure there are lots of countries in far away continents that would welcome you

David Stephen

Do they have a pill for what’s wrong with you? The majority of actions listed above where not “fools errands” but dam important operations that saved lives. If your loyalties lie with Britain I’m a monkeys uncle. Don’t you have somewhere else to be? like an Antifa rally.


‘imperialistic offensives’…’re shitting me. The whole Islamic Fundamental war against us has nothing to do with Iraq and Afghan anymore. They want worldwide sharia, convert or die. That strikes me as a little Imperialistic but in their case they cite 1500 year old laws written on behalf of an illiterate who had sex with children.
We need our armed forces, end of. I served on the Falklands and I’d sign up again in an instant if I was needed.
Get rid of the services and we invite fundamental Islam for tea and Wahhabism for supper.

Steven Bergg

Yes Iqbal… you are right. It does get messy. You have the priveldge of sitting back in your office at home making sweeping comments about operations you probably l ow nothing about far away from “the mess.”
If history has shown us anytbing, it is that from time to time brave young men will be needed to go in and do the dirty work people like you can’t. The finest, best trained and most loyal are the Royal Marines. As a former Commando your opinion means nothing to me as your statement clearly shows you k ow next to notning about the matter of which you speak. The complex geo-political background to operations us usually secondary to the reality on the ground. A reality you know nothing about. You woulx do well to pay thanks and respect to our noble Corps before you ignorantly package their history into a neat little box to suit your own biased view of the world. Yes I am biased too, but there is a higher standard to which we all should be held. Make sure you buy poppy next month and show your support. I am sure you don’t like Trump? Look up a guy called Hitler…. He was a tad worse… then once you have read up on him… Go find a few Marines at the remembrance day parade and say thank you.


The royal are the most professional of all land forces if you have ever served you would know that

Geoffrey Hicking

Apologies if this is a fatuous comment, but we managed to regenerate our carrier capability in the earlier 2000’s. If the Rm was downsized, is it impossible that it could be grown back later?

Steve R

I think you answered your own question – regeneration is always possible providing a core capability remains or allies are willing to assist – as the US did with trading for the carriers. The big problems are time and cost. Can the capability be revived in time to suit an unexpected crisis? And how much? It takes years to build assault ships and equip them. Much, much better to retain a capability

Ian Campbell R.M. (Retd)

It’s not just a matter of regenerating the carrier force for amphib ops, Remember that it took us ten ( 10 ) gruelling mind sapping months to get where we are. If the numbies in whitehall disband our FAMILY, it will take a long time to get back up to scratch.


As a matelot who served in the Bde for several years doing Fire Support I think people, Admirals and politicians need to look at the fact that 2RAR have just declared amphib operational capability after 3 years of Training and forming e.g. Forward Observation Teams. 2RAR will form a core capability backed up by other RAR Bns who will train to a capable level. However, the Aussie MOD reckon this will take a further six years of Training. One major difficulty experienced was persuading ‘land’ soldiers to adopt a ‘sea’ soldier attitude. Methinks we look to be going in the wrong direction given that many countries in the world have, in recent years, formed Marine Corps. Japan being a prime example and Germany being the latest (under instruction/co-operation with the Cloggies).


The problem is our RM after 15 years of combat in a land locked sandy country have developed a ‘land’ soldier attitude and by all accounts need to relearn a ‘sea’ soldier attitude themselves. The relationship between the RN and the RM has been rather toxic recently.


Not interested in your” family “or any other other badge thumpers, of which there are many in services. The past is no reason to keep the RM, only future likely usefulness. The Paras were not actually very old when they first started whingeing about potentially losing their traditions and cap badge.


Yes but it would be challenging, also a general observation amongst all the hysteria these are rumours of options (have a look at this to understand what that means: rather than a plan to fully disband the Royal Marines.
The option offers up cutting the RM by 1000, cutting the LPD and shifting to a force that is more embedded with the escort fleet. Which is a return to what the RM were doing prior to WW2, I think that is worth exploring at least as an option.
By all accounts the RN as the parent organisation is getting pretty exasperated with the RM, who have after 15 or so years finding in a land locked sandy country become in effect another branch of the Army (a very brave, effective and well trained one) and not very interested in being nautical. With the cuts to the escort fleet and the large resources tied up by the LPD to allow an opposed landing onto a beach against a peer rival there are those within the fleet who are starting to harbour a fair amount of ill-will to the RM. That is a terrible state of affairs that needs to be remedied.
If anybody searches Google for my handle and the word Falklands and they will find that I was a fierce defender of the Amphibious assault capabilities, my reason always being “What about the Falklands and you can’t predict the future”. I was a firm believer in the insurance policy argument, my view has shifted more recently.
I am not saying that we should drop the amphibious assault capability but I do think we need to look at what form it takes. The Falklands are not a problem so what other scenario might we face where that requires are current amphibious assault capabilities. Those who start talking about disaster and humanitarian relief my answer is do we need an LPD to do that? We have the class, we have the RFA and their vessels are not helicopters the most useful thing? We can get helicopters out to places and does it need an LPD to do it?
I think we need to look at the RFA replacement program for the Solid stores ship and compare to what the Danish are doing. They are doing interesting things, their latest Destroyers/Frigates have flex decks that their Marines can operate off, very effectively in anti pirate operations recently. Both T26 and T31 are being scoped out with that capability. The Danish Hnlms Karel Doorman is fascinating, it is a dry stores supply ship with secondary tanking capabilities, it has a large helicopter deck, large vehicle decks that can be configured with modular hospitals or command facilities and it even has a well deck. When the designs are being finalised for the Solid stores ship replacement they really need to have a close look at conceptually what the Karel Doorman is doing.
A Royal Marines embedded with the Escort fleet and QE class configured as Commando carrier with the RFA operating a joint support ship would allow the UK to drop troops onto a beach against a near peer rival.
In the other thread when I put forward these thoughts somebody poo pooed it as “A nice try” and then said what about the Parachute Regiment as if I was sparing them this thinking as well. To that I say NO lets talk about them! Are we going to be doing large parachute drops behind enemy lines? We use up a large amount of resources to keep that capability. The Parachute Regiment requested to do a parachute drop in 2001 as part of the Afghan operations, the response from Northwood was “Quaint and no”! Doing large parachute drops is insanity now as it requires Hercules/Atlas/C17 to fly within the envelope of some lethal Ground Based Air Defence Systems. I have relatives on my sister in laws side who have seen combat in the Eastern Ukraine who can tell you how nasty some of the latest GBAD are like Pantsir. So lets have the debate, maybe the Parachute Regiment should drop the parachute bit and become purely a rapid mobile force that can be deployed quickly via helicopter or transport outside the FEBA.
The wailing and nashing of teeth is all very well but it is masking some honest questions that have to be asked. People are so desperate to protect platforms and weapon systems that they are not asking wider questions about effectiveness. On another forum I witnessed a huge argument about Harpoon being dropped with the two year extension being seen by some as a huge victory for the Navy. More sensible voices were saying that actually the Navy had probably been forced to keep a system they don’t want and don’t dare use because of ROE, lobbing heavy weight fire and forget anti ship missiles over the horizon that are largely ineffective against the ships fitted with the latest defensive systems yet will happily sink civilian flagged vessels is not exactly a useful activity.
These debates need to be had without all the emotion!

Silent Majority

Sorry to be a pedant, but she is Dutch not Danish.


No problem at all


What we must not lose sight of is the fact that both the RM and Paras are our Commando Forces. The idea of Bn or Unit sized opposed ops really went out of the window some years ago …. except where its a Falklands or coalition (NATO) operation. Both have been used as line Infantry roulement units but their training and ability to mount Company and lower specialist ops must not be lost. Notwithstanding the above, again, both are able to mount successful unopposed, or lightly opposed, whole unit para or amphib/helo assaults if required.


I would agree with that point, they both have a useful set of skills that should be retained. Yet what form should it take, why is their current setup sacrosanct? The days of huge para drops are over, there is no way we would risk transport aircraft in the face of modern air defences. I would also say that large beach assaults are over as well, the Falklands are a non issue now and I don’t see many scenarios where we would actually do it. I do see our carriers standing off shore and raiding units going in on fast assault boats or helicopters but D-Day type assaults are over. So why keep the full capability? If it is for sentimental reasons, “They have it so should we” or “Just because” I am not sure we are on the right lines anymore.
I keep on thinking about the Army and their insistence on keeping Cavalry units fully prepared taking up resources and no practical use against modern machine guns and artillery being held ready for a breakout all through WW1. Cavalry was sacrosanct and it took a significant shift in thinking to drop the idea…


You have insulted the RN. You have insulted the Marines. You have insulted everyone on this forum.
You are the most unpleasant man I have ever met on this site. Get off this site, get off your self-pitying high horse, and get a haircut.
You are a disgrace.

For St George

If the Royal Marines are disbanded, we will be diminished as a nation. End of.




Gerry – that is a ludicrous comment. the Royal Marines represent the UK’s amphibious capacity- if they go, we lose that capacity. We are thus diminished. “end of,.”


Diminished is not the end of the nation as the OP was stating so I think a response of “Rubbish” is not unreasonable. People who end sentences with “End of…” are destined to be disappointed.
So far it a cut in numbers and the LPD have been rumoured to be an option put forward in planning. Nobody has said disband the Royal Marines beyond some very hysterical people in various navy leaning websites.
Humphrey explains this better!


1) Hyperbolic rubbish that does not help the cause of the Royal Marines
2) This option is not talking about disbanding the Royal Marines, it is a cut to the numbers and a rethink about how they deploy

Lord Curzon

Wow. They are amazing!!!

M Fallon

I would have some of them would be happy for rest.

M Fallon

‘the’ rest


If RM goes we are a weaker nation, in time when we are supposed to be reinventing ourselves after Brexit…..I give up…… only two other British fighting units who strike fear into an enemy ….The Gurkhas …or Para’s…will they be next…but we already hacked the Gurkhas off … we need Joanna Lumley to step in…its a comedy….


Different question what have the Royal Marines done for us that a army infantry battalion couldn’t have done?


How about anything that involves operations from the sea?


Gerry different training, both required for totally different reasons


Gerry, judging by your last question you have no idea of what it is to be a RM commando or what the whole ethos of the corps is about. You don’t throw away the wheat with the chaff. 3,000 civil servants from the MOD that overblown rest home getting the chop instead will do very nicely thank you.
If you don’t get that then you really are clueless about the underlying issues with this governments attitude towards our armed forcessation in general.

John \"S\"

Well said Bill. Good on you mate. Like me, obviously former RM?

Roger Blowers

As a ex member of the RN living in Australia (past 50 years) I fully agree with Bill’s comment – it’s the fat cats in goverment who should be abolished to save the necessary money – they are easier to replace than the front line forces as there are always volunteers waiting to get their “snout” into the perks of the public service.
PS :- Same applies here in Australia


I always love it when people bring up the “Just cut thousands of Civil servants at the MOD and all will be fine” view point.
You know the Civil servants in Whitehall regard the Military as masters of special pleading! Happy to role out retired senior officers and the support of the tabloid press and rile up the public to get their way at the first hint of a budget review.
You will be surprised how many civil servants are needed to get an LPD loaded with, Marines and helicopters deployed.
Just because they are easy to bash and you don’t understand bureaucracy doesn’t mean Civil servants are useless.

Edward Stokoe

Gerry I disagree with you to a point. There as to be at least the 6 armed forces to start with, SBS,RM,SAS,PARA, GURKHA’S The Guards. They the best fighting forces the world as ever known. I am ex forces to, I was Para. But I respect the whole lot of the regiments to. We all work together, one is no good without the others. The marians if you know your History. They were the first soldiers in the start the British army , to go into every colony tthe British Government went into a country to conquer.

S mcl

Since when have the other armed personnel been as fit and as well trained as the Royal Marines, they and the Gurkha’s are a force to be feared by ALL other nations we should never ever lose these Very brave men

M Fallon

Para’s, Guards parachute units, other units that have personnel who are part of 3 Cdo who have to pass the all arms commando course and members of 16 AAB who need to pass P company etc Army commando units formed in WW2 prior to the RM becoming commando’s? Just a few from the top my head.
If you save the RM from these cuts what capability are you going to cut to pay for them? There is no more money coming and the service budgets are controlled by the respective services so as to allow the politicians to point the finger at the service chiefs and say they decided to prioritise X over Y.
Do you lose frigates, MCM the other smaller capabilities that no one outside defence are even aware exist but make the Navy the global service it is, which in turn hollows it out further?


People just don’t appreciate the impact these mere threats of redundancies have on the RM’s. They have endured, as recently as a couple of years ago, many KIA, mainly in Nahr-e Saraj district of Afghanistan. The commitment these individuals display is more than can ever be made to some form of role or career in divvy street. They ‘give’ more than any to our country. They don’t question politicians, or senior officers. They get on with what they do, and what they have been trained for. It takes 30 weeks just for basic training for RM’s. The longest form of initial training in any regular unit. That is a big investment-which is respected the world over.
Fo the government to turn around and threaten 1,000 members of this Corps, is beyond contempt. After all that they have done for us – and even today are willing to do for us, as a nation, makes me feel ashamed to be governed by these idiots willing to wreak such uncertainty and misery to those who have given so much.
I have heard as recently as 6 months ago that low moral was at never-seen-before levels. It’s not just the RM’s. the effects will be seen, heard and felt throughout all the services. And will take years-decades, of reinvestment and back-pedalling to mend/repair this depressing plan. The threat of it is immensely damaging. If it happens it will be an extremely damaging event to the UK military strength, for the long term.


If the nuclear deterrent is put back into treasury responsibility, where it has been until 2010 then the MOD gets back 6% of its budget. Perhaps this is the answer?


Simon this “30 weeks for basic training” thing that flies around really annoys me. Because people almost always use it inappropriately. The Royals use a similar structure in their training to the Army Infantry units. That is, while everyone else (Signals, Medics, Armour, Loggies) do 14 weeks Phase 1 training and then go on to specialist training, the Marines and Infantry combine specialist training and basic training into one long course. Like the Marines, Army Infantry (Line, Guards and Para’s) spend 30 weeks in what you’ve mistakenly referred to as “basic” training. In fairness I think the Marines is slightly longer, 32 weeks as opposed to 30 for Army….
Specialist trades in the army spend far longer in training before being sent to their units by the way, Medics for example spend close on 40 weeks in Phase 1 and Phase 2 training, Linguists spend over a year (again combined Phase 1 and 2 represents the “30 weeks”).
[If you don’t know Phase 1 training is the real “Initial” training, where civilians are turned into soldiers. Phase 2 is where you actually learn your trade, for the infantry it makes sense to combine them into one program where Phase 1 bleeds over into Phase 2, for other trades not so much.]


Just to explain, it’s 32 weeks basic and commando training. Then our lads spend a few years in a fighting Company. Then choose to do trade training another 8 – 52 weeks training. That’s the difference Dern!!!!


Trade training is a different kettle of fish entirely, and the way it’s phrased makes it even less clear. “Commando” training is what in the army would be referred to as “Trade” training, aka learning your primary trade. What the Marines refer to as “Trade” training is extra, equivalent to people in the army doing a re-trade after a few years in the infantry. Just that while in the Army when you do a re-trade you permanently leave the infantry, in the Marines you can then float between your specialist Marine units (eg the Commando Logistic Regiment).
The 32 weeks still is equivalent to the 30 Week combined Phase 1 and 2 of the Infantry, or the combined Phase 1 and 2’s of the various support arms.


I have just sent an email via https://email.number 10 hoping to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to this article.


After 3 years of Training and the acquirement of Two ‘Sea Control Hulls’ from Spain 2 RAR (2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment) have declared themselves operationally ready for Amphibious operations; which includes (at the top of the list) the ability to do what we have just done in the Caribbean. 2 RAR will form a core amphib capability. The Australian MOD considers it will take a further six years to rotate enough RAR battalions through training to form a meaningful capability.

Sue heeley

The elite never loose them

John Roberts

As a former Royal Marine Commando, 1969 to 1978 while this would appeal to some army units , paras and Guards, they think they are the best we know we are the best. The civil servants in the MOD should hang their heads in shame. Reduce their numbers as has been promised many times by successive governments, complete waste of space. Let us hope this new post knocks off Iqbal Ahmed’s obvious to see where he is coming from. LMF

M Fallon

It’s nothing to do with who is or is not the best. The cold hard facts are that there is no more money, the promised efficiency savings (which the service chiefs signed off on) have not materialised and funding needs to be found from somewhere.
So where do you suggest the cuts/reductions are made?
I have no doubts that the Army will be reduced further. The RAF are constantly cutting Sentinel numbers and having to find money for it at a later date because it is a strategic asset, so times are hard for all the services.

Steve R

I would suggest cost cuts are made in the Overseas Aid budget – take £10bn pa away and put it into defence and – hey presto! No more black hole – magic!

M Fallon

Steve R
Theresa May just confirmed the governments commitment to overseas aid, Labour and the Lib Dems will definitely not raid the budget to pay for defence. When it comes to funding for defence the 2% of GDP promise is an acceptable status quo for all the main stream parties.
The simple truth is that there are a greater proportion of the population who bother to vote that are in agreement with Iqbal Ahmed (although he is definately not doing it for the welfare of the service members, it sounds very humanist though doesn’t it? I’m reducing your capacity to defend yourself for your own good) and would rather see extra money for the NHS and schools etc.

Steve R

That’s the problem – ‘popular’ policies to buy votes short term is all that matters to politicians of any persuasion. What happened to doing the right thing and plan for the good of the country, rather than not thinking beyond the next general election? Madness when TWO per cent is seen as a maximum rather than minimum to defend the fifth largest economy in the world!


Actually the over seas aid budget is not that popular a policy going on the general views I see expressed in the tabloid press and social media in general. I have seen plenty of public calls to cut it or get rid of it.
It is called soft power, the overseas aid budget opens doors that would otherwise be closed. Is it perfect…certainly not but it isn’t a slush fund to solve the problems in the defence budget.


I live overseas and have seen the UK overseas aid budget in operation – it isn’t always effectively used. As we gave seen, it can’t be used even for disaster aid to UK dependencies; so my proposition is that it is not fit for purpose. We should reconfigure the aid budget to a maximum figure based on disaster aid and education support for key countries with real needs. The remainder could be spread around the national security and NHS.
As a layman, my belief is that the RM should be retained as it is and resourced so that it can support maritime border defence and be based at coastal locations around UK.This could be similar to the nuclear fleet protection role. This need will increase as we leave the EU.
Although not former RM or RN, I also have a sentimental attachment to the Royal Marines – their reduction in strength would be the thin end of the wedge.

M Fallon

If you think £10bn is all that needs to be found you need to watch this.


I am sure that the need is significantly greater than 10 billion but freeing that up from the aid budget would be a start and would obviously be an annual addition to available funds. there will never be a time when all the funds needed are available; so it has to be about utilising what is available in as effective manner as possible.

S V Boot

Regardless of what anyone says for or against the Government have made their minds up. Marine A being released is no doubt a thorn in their side too. It’s obvious however, that some of the people arguing that someone else or other arm can take up the role know nothing. What will be will be, but beware because the Wolf isn’t far from the gates and get rid of the ‘guard’ and we’ll all likely suffer. Once it’s gone it’s gone. Let that be the epitaph for the Government “we successfully secured the demise of the Corps and reduced the ability of this once great nation to defend itself or help our allies. “

A Bloke

Thank you Royal Marines, long may you prosper in a world still full of medeaval religions and greed, that cause the progression of the human race to stumble. You are needed now as you will be in the future.


Espirt de corps is a great thing and the marines are one of the last capabilities that I would get rid of. However we must think of the future instead of trying to protect our favourites. . The paras are a good example, they have fought well(as well as being misapplied /disgracing themselves) but have never actually been that useful/successful in their intended role.
I suspect that Iqbal is a Guardian journalist/agent provocateur, but you must out argue him /her rather than trying to shout him down. Afghanistan was undoubtedly a disaster for the UK, we achieved absolutely nothing other than prolonging the conflict at an enormous cost. In the process the UK forces were exposed as being not very effective.

Brett Waring

My god you guys are experts. The Royal Marine Commandos are the pride of The Royal Navy and have an unbelievable military history spanning over 353 years….unless you have been one you won’t and don’t understand their history or appreciate their passion and commitment to each other and this country. It is a family and brotherhood with deep routes that can not be underestimated. Yes the Royal Navy will be reviewed along side all the British armed forces as we technically develop for the future. Let me inform you though that you can be certain that they will improvise, adapt and overcome and come out the other side stronger and more resilient than ever…..retired and ex Marines are always Marines and carry on raising funds, looking after fellow Bootnecks and their families and support 3 Cdo Bridgade and attachments where ever they deploy….you don’t change this with a strike of a pen…..Per Mare Per Terram


Actually, If you check up properly, 41 Cdo RM were deployed to Cyprus in 1974 when it 1st kicked off, (On way back to Malta after Canada exercise), the unit were sent back to Cyprus on UN tour later the same year …

Dave Pritchard

Just leave tbe Royal Marines alone, cut them back will distroy the very back bone of the British Armed Forces. You people of power screwed every thing up now sort it out but leave our Royal Marines alone

Graham Jones

Iqbal Ahmed. I respect your opinion, but bismerching the ultimate sacrifice that British Marines have made throughout history, makes you look like a snivelling, weak minded fool. Remember – the armed forces have no choice where they are sent. Focus your disrespect on the imbecile Policticians who send our brave soldiers to fight at their behest!!

Iqbal Ahmed

Graham, I’m sure the forces generally do a sterling job in difficult circumstances.
However, we have to look at the resources utilised on the Marines and the outcomes.
The marines have a historical reputation involved with set piece amphibious military assaults on heavily defended coasts and waterways against heavy enemy resistance.
Given the above, the Marines are unlikely to be deployed:
– Western democracies have a low pain threshold when it comes to combat losses. A government would potentially fall if even Falklands level losses were suffered. Even a handful of deaths would lead to questions in Parliament.
– ‘Collateral damage’ (death of innocent bystanders) is the handmaiden of war. Can’t have one without the other and it’s more visceral when done in land warfare, up close. All the legal cases facing soldiers lie in testimony. However, this is an eternal truth which is unacceptable in today’s political environment.
If they can’t fulfill their expected role and the Americans and other NATO allies have our backs, they become more dispensable.

Bottom Feeder

Iqbal, subtle. But you work for Moscow really, right ? 😉


Definitely a Guardian agent provocateur, the Americans don’t have our backs, even if that was a fair proposition.


Sadly lack of knowledge doesn’t prevent you from commenting but:
The last time the Royal Marines where involved in a “Set Piece Amphibious military Assault on Heavily defended coasts and waterways against heavy enemy resistance” was either 1956 or 1944 depending on how you define “Heavily Defended” (the landings during Operation Musketeer where nowhere near as heavily opposed as during Overlord).
In fact Amphibious Assaults on heavily defended coasts are the exception rather than the norm for the Royal Marines, having only really done them a few times during WWII, and once (at Gallipoli) in WWI.
Instead the Marines have historically been used as Seaborne raiders, and rapid reaction forces.
So given the above: It’s actually likely that the Marines will be deployed, and that they’re expected role remains relevant to this day.
But don’t let facts get in the way of your Anti-UK propaganda eh?

For St George

The point that seems to be missed in this debate is that not only are the Royal Marines a formidable fighting force, but their reputation is world renowned. They are part of the rich history of this great nation of ours, from Trafalgar to Stanley, the Royal Marines played their part.
Sometimes there are things that are beyond price and the Royal Marines are one such institution.
Loose them and we will be truly diminished as a proud nation.
I dare say that this comment will be ridiculed, because it is almost fashionable to knock this country and despise patriotism.


I don’t care if you served in the RM or just like their big muscles, are they any use in the future?I would like to think so, but otherwise they should be disbanded immediately.


“inside” sources at the MOD have been quoted as saying that the RN got us into this mess, so they can take the pain (telegraph).Refits for ships about to be scrapped, half a billion on unwanted OPVs and now I read an incredible £350 million to move Sultan to Collingwood.Thats a fraction of the waste and corruption going on before we start discussing the £50 billion plus disaster of the carriers.


All this mess was created by politicians and civil servants not the RN along with upgrades to harriers then sold for peanuts, scrapped Nimrods plus numerous upgrades to military bases which were then sold off.


Nobody should doubt or belittle the dedication and gallantry that is the hallmark of the British Armed Forces, not just the RM, (and I don’t believe too many do). If there is one problem with these institutions its that they are duty-bound to obey orders from fool-hardy, unpatriotic politicians who wax lyrical about their bravery in public and then send them off underfunded, undermanned and under-provisioned to fight unnecessary, stupid wars that aren’t in British interests. In my opinion, this is no longer a case of efficiency, economy or austerity but of full blown betrayal of the country’s very best by the very worst.

James Jones

Why do we need to get rid of 3 Commando, is our government are so stupid, why are they in parlament, they have no right to disband 3 commando, they say we want a better future for our kids yet it ruins it for those who seek a milItaly career, as a Royal Marines Cadet i have wanted to be in the Royal Marines for years and to see this is not good for me


I feel 3 Cmdo Brigade really missed a trick. Because it would have been a steal for the Brigade to stand up and volunteer to become one of the armies “Strike” Mechanised Brigades. The role of a self deployable Brigade that can travel hundreds of miles and then deploy into combat would work brilliantly combined into an Amphibious role. Suddenly the Marines can appear on any coast and then speed march in land very long distances. This would not only have increased the Marines versatility, but also made them more valuable to the Army (as well as the navy).
At present the Army has a surfeit of Light Infantry, in fact the Army has more Light Infantry (mostly in the 7 Infantry Brigades of 1 Div). In fact the Army (due to Political Interference that has said “don’t cut cap badges”) has more Infantry Brigades than it can support at the moment [support being Logistics Units, Medical units, Engineers, Signallers etc]. In essence the Army has [at the moment]: 3 Armoured Infantry Brigades, 16 Air Assault, 3 Commando, and maybe 1 or 2 of the 7 Brigades in 1 Div that can be deployed. From the Army point of view 3 Cmdo is just a very good Light Infantry Brigade, but still a Light Infantry Brigade, with the mobility and, ultimately, leathality of a Light Infantry Brigade, and really the Army would prefer to pull it’s supporting units out of 3 Cmdo and put them into supporting something of their own.
Especially as Cmdo units begin to loose their status as deploy-able Infantry Battalions the Army is now going to be asking “Is it worth putting valuable support units to deploy an Anemic 3 Cmdo, with only 2 Battalions in it or can we use those support units to deploy a more credibly sized Army Brigade?”

Jean Line

My late husband served in the Marines, seeing action in Aden and Borneo, both so called police actions. Tell that to the Marines who lost there lives. The saying is “once a Marine, always a Marine” and every Remebrance parade my husband would wear his green berett and medals with pride. If he was hear now, this would break his heart


When reading the comments it seems to me that there is a lot of misunderstanding and mud slinging, this does not help if politicians who make the decisions read this.
What did and does the RM do for us, for Britain, several things but before I answer that I think we need to understand what is the role of the Royal Marines, Royal Marine Commando’s (yes they are different) and dare I say the SBS.
In principle the RM has two main tasks.
1. To approach from the sea, any where on plant earth and raid a facility or specific point and get out.
2. To approach from the sea and secure a beachhead/ docking facility for heavier units (Army or NATO units such as the USMC) to take over. Then get out and do it somewhere else.
They are in many cases a force multiplier as any potential enemy must take them into account and spread there defensive forces to cover all potential landings or raids. As for the SBS well their job is not to get into a fight in the first place their job is to gather intel and get the information back. If they need to fight something has gone wrong but they are trained and trained well to handle themselves.
THEY are not a light infantry battalion as they do not have the logistical or heavy weapons support that the light infantry can call on and have been for many years misused in this role.
They are not the equivalent of the United States Marine Corp but more akin to the US Rangers.
Advantages that they bring, unlike the Para Regts that need overflight permissions or the Army that need either a secure dock or airfield to sealift or airlift troops and equipment in, the RM is independent of these problems. They are the ones that would secure the docks or beach for the army to get in and do what they need to do.
With their world wide area of operations they have a world wide training, name any other unit in the British Armed Forces that is trained to operate in the frozen North of Norway, to the deserts of Arabia and the Jungles of Borneo, I can’t think of one. If someone can I would be happy to stand corrected.
But it is not only there fighting capability that is impressive, what about there experience in humanitarian aid, very often when there has been a natural disaster the first people to respond is normally the Royal Navy with its Royal Marine detachments. Their mobility and self-reliance makes them ideal for these tasks, their training and equipment very often means that they can get into areas where civilian organisations cannot reach. If law and order breaks down they help to restore it, the landing ships such as the Bay class become hospitals, store ships, garages for equipment and a multitude of other tasks, even supplying electricity to the local area if need be.
The Royal Marines are not an independent fighting force, they require the support from the Royal Navy and the British Army. What do I mean with this well, if I look at an infantry regt it lives in barracks with all of it support infrastructure, logistics transport, catering, medical units, signals units, maintenance units. When this regt gets posted for example to Germany it goes to another barracks with the same type of supporting infrastructure. Even when the infantry regt goes into the field it takes its support units with them.
The Royal Marines do not have that luxury, they rely on the Royal Navy and to some extent the Royal Fleet Auxillary, catering, medical, communications is done by ship personnel in reality you could look at the Bays, and Albion and Bulwark as floating mobile barracks because that is what they are. For air lift capability it is the fleet air arm that supplies this support,the British Army also has the Army Air Corp. Yet when the RM is in the field it cannot operate for long periods of time independently, It does not have all the supporting arms that an Infantry regt has, but neither does the Para,s. The Para’s would maybe have enough to support themselves for three days and that’s it either they get relieved by heavier units or you airlift supply’s in.
Lets look at a cost comparison to understand if they are value for money, well we start with a simple question how much does a barrack cost to build for say 500 fighting men plus their support units. Well I don’t know, but what you will need is the land to build it on, barrack rooms for the single men and women, medical facilities, vehicle parks and garages, workshops, kitchens, armory, admin buildings, firing range, gym etc this would probably be several hundred million pounds to build. Then you need a barracks overseas for deployment there so again the same. You also need transport aircraft to get them from A to B more cost and then the maintenance of the barracks and married quarters, airlift capabilities and the airfields that they operate from.
The Royal Marines well they need landing ships costing about 500 million the maintenance and operation of these ships, say 20 million per year. So in many ways the up front costs look more expensive, but over a time period the RM is actually cheaper man for man.
So in general what I am trying to say is that the politicians and the public in general need to rethink and understand what is the Royal marines and what is the ships that they deploy from. The ships are nothing more than barracks that can move to where you need them and the Royal Marines is a world wide deployable fighting force for short term situations or an advance force for something more aggressive. They can support friendly nations in times of emergency such as Kuwait in 1961 and can be used in the soft power projection mode for humanitarian aid.
It is also time for the politicians and the media to stop getting confused with the RM and stop calling them soldiers, they are Marines the fighting/landing force of the Royal Navy.
As for some idiots saying it is about our Imperial past I can think of one word for that, many nations that do not have a Imperial past have Marines such as Russia, Australia and even some Islamic nations.

David Dougan

Some great interjections here and clearly there are some strong views which is to be expected. But hey ho, may I say that we are all in danger of loosing the point here – I am ExRAF and I have seen how they have suffered under the butchers knife but as a country still recovering from the mess the bankers caused, we must all learn to live within our means and this goes for all the services!
Now, getting back to the point, should we (THE UK) keep a flexible agile fighting force that are trained to operate from Land and Sea. Would this be a good mix for the long-term strategic and tactical defence infrastructure of the country. YES, I think this would be a good idea and I think most reasonable intelligent broad-minded people would probably agree with me.
So, who is it that can offer a flexible, agile fighting force that can operate from Land & Sea. Well, strange as it may sound but they are called Marines! Quite frankly, any government/MOD quango would be darn-right stupid to contemplate getting rid of the Marines!

Jason asiq

Bloody awesome force… the best of the best . Per mare per teram


What happened to 1949? 45 in Jordan, Egypt and Hong Kong!


this is like soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo old.LOL