Sunday, September 12, 2010

Irony of the week - the aircraft carriers

I can't quite make up my mind which is the bigger irony over the aircraft carriers, so I'll let you decide.

I don't remember all these Labour MPs and MSPs taking such an interest in the issue when they were in Government. In fact it was Willie Rennie as MP for Dunfermline (and therefore Rosyth dockyard) who was trying to hold Labour to account for their dithering and delays to the project.

And then there's Alex Salmond, trying to get all the Scottish political parties to work together to save the carriers.  How many carriers, exactly, to the nearest 0, do you think he would build as Prime Minister of an independent Scotland?

5 comments:

JohnM said...

irony, yes indeed. On the issue of the carriers we must consider, not only the costs to build them, but the cost to run them and to purchase their essential air assets including the F.35 Lighting. I believe the carriers should be run along the same lines as the NATO AWACS (airborne warning and control system) component. Multi-national purchase, manning and operation.

Paul Johnston said...

There are plenty of Lib Dems who in the present economic climate, just see the price tag, remember we are not a global power and would push the cancel button.

All in all, the UK will need more aircraft (of around this type) than would needed on two carriers and provided they don't gold plate the project there remains a strong case for retention of two carrier groups as a UK contribution to NATO and European security as well as UN capacity in international peace keeping.

But it would take a degree of consensus amongst the LDs before a message gets accross that shows the strong relative worth of Carriers in part of a future defence strategy.

Balance Please! said...

Er- no. It was the Lib Dems who described the carriers as a "giant job creation scheme"

It was Labour ministers who ordered the ships, signed the contract, bought the steel

It is a LIB DEM Scottish Secretary who is refusing to stand up for keeping them

meanderingmammal said...

@Paul

The two new ships are anything but gold plated.

But the ability to field a carrier group is key to establishing control of the air in the vast majority of military operations. Some 80% of the offensive air in Afghanistan is delivered from carriers. That frees up the limited real estate in KAF, Bagram and elsewhere for essential logistics aviation.

theirnjuq said...

In an independent Scotland, the Clyde yards would still be able to build vessels for foreign navies (as they did recently for Trinidad & Tobago) as well as the ships necessary for a Scottish Defence Force, and Scottish Merchant Navy in addition to much of the heavy engineering necessary for many of the renewables projects planned around the coast.

I don't think it is ironic that Salmond would want to preserve the shipyards just because he disagrees with the government's current use of them.

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