Home Politics I see no ships…..

I see no ships…..

by Barry
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 “I see no Ships” was a misquote from Horatio Nelson, a Viscount in the Royal Navy at a time when it could be said that Britannia rules the waves.  However it is now true to life, as there are no warships to be seen off our coast!

For the past month, we have had no Warships to defend our shores because of Cuts and the unforseen Libia conflict.  This has left us at risk of terrorist attack and the Royal Navy is very concerned about being overstretched because of the cuts dished out in the SDSR.

Not only have we a disgraced Secretary of State for Defence, but he took with him the ability to defend our shores!  Thanks Dr Fox! 


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1 comment

James November 3, 2011 - 6:35 am

Brilliant post Barry.

I agree we should focus rather more on national defences than on national interests overseas unless we are engaged in peacekeeping or humanitarian efforts. I’m not convinced that many tax payers will be able to connect with the colonial concept of ruling the waves at a time when the economy is so fragile and people are struggling to make ends meet.

The biggest threat from the high seas as I understand it comes from drug trafficking, piracy and illegal immigration. I trust the Royal Navy, border and security agencies have got sufficient resources to defend us from those threats and if not, they need to securely articulate those threats and make their case to the Treasury.

You raised the prospect of a free vote in relation to EU membership, maybe there needs to be a public conversation about what ‘defence’ actually means in the 21st century and then give the public an opportunity to vote on whether we need a £37 bn nuclear deterrent, for example.

At a time when we are struggling to stimulate economic growth, could that £37 bn be spent on providing better equipment for a conventional albeit modern army not to mention funding of public services, civil infrastructure and the green economy? And would closer integration with Europe help us to find further efficiencies when it comes to defence spending? We’ve recently signed a bi-lateral agreement with France so a recent precedent has been (re)established.

Cyber terrorism seems to represent the biggest threat to our national and economic interests and is often understated. I think the best from of defence from ‘conventional’ terrorism would be what the Scottish government describe as an ethical foreign policy. You started with a misquote from Nelson, I’ll end with one from Churchill, “It is ‘better to jaw-jaw than to war-war,’” The quote is reported in The New York Times, 27th June, 1954. That sentiment is still alive and well and in my opinion, should be carefully heeded.


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