Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Charge of the Light Brigage

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!' he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismay'd ?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

Flash'd all their sabres bare,
Flash'd as they turn'd in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wonder'd:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro' the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
Shatter'd and sunder'd.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro' the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade ?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder'd.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

At the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 during the Crimean War, the Light Brigade, consisting of British cavalry regiments, charged down a narrow valley against Russian Troops who had captured some British guns. The Russians were at the end of the valley as well as on each side of it. The attack should never have been made, it had no chance of success: It was due to a blunder brought on by misunderstanding an order sent by the commander-in-chief. The obedience and courage of the soldiers, of whom less than a third survived won great fame for the Light Brigade. For those were different times, times when loyalty mattered.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Alternative Future Nuclear Deterrent: Resurrection of TSR2

Over this weekend I attended a fantastic event which was extremely interesting. There were lots people there to which I could relate to very easily. The nature of the event led us naturally to consider aspects of Britain's military history, present and future. There are few countries which can be so wholesomely buggered as Britain when it comes to research. We have this inane ability as a people, to have these wonderful, marvellous and quite frankly, crazy ideas - but we never have the money to fund them.

I was once told that what is now ethos in the MoD is to have British scientists dream up the ideas, sell them to American, let America develop the idea into a final product, and finally buy it back and improve it. This have been done a lot over recent years in the UK with regards, at least, to military hardware. The Apache is perhaps a quasi-example; the UK did not buy the supplied avionics software for the apache but instead developed their own, which turned out to be so good that eventually the Americans bought it back from us. Who'da thunk?

Which leads us to perhaps the most depressing story yet in Britain's aviation history; the cancellation of the English Electric/Vickers-Armstrong TSR-2 which was terminated in 1964. This aircraft was so revolutionary that even today it would be modern and it was designed 50 years ago. The whole story is drenched in failure and political dereliction. It has produced one of the, to my mind at least, finest but most depressing statements to date

All modern aircraft have four dimensions: span, length, height and politics. TSR-2 simply got the first three right.
-Sir Sydney Camm

There are of course many theories surrounding the whole sorry story of the project mainly relating to economics and politics. The British economy in the 1960s was in huge financial debt and was still struggling to pay back monies owed to America from WW2. The Labour Government was politely told you will buy the F111E, you have no choice. All tooling and production lines of the TSR2 are to be destroyed. This is the unofficial version of the reason why the project was cancelled. Over the years the government has denied these accusations completely. They of course would, but most people who worked on the project know that this is precisely what happened. All tooling, production lines and blueprints were certainly destroyed, so afraid were the Americans that they had their British embassy personnel shipped into the factories to personally make sure that everything was destroyed.

There is more to this shameful piece of British history than meets the eye. The only remains of the project are the prototypes XR220 and XR222. They only survived because they were shipped around the country for engine testing and evaluation. It would have been a scandal to chop up and burn these aircraft in front of the public. Instead a team was dispatched to the testing grounds and took pick axes to the inside of the prototypes so they could never be flown again. Their internal organs were ripped out like savages, where cold calculated economics destroyed one of the finest machines ever built.

I am in favour of the 'special-relationship' and I have vigorously defended it in times of need on this blog. But 50 years ago American politicians were frightened TSR2 would affect their exports of aircraft. Coupled with Lord Mountbatten's desire for this plane not to succeed and personally telling the Australian government not to pursue its commitment to purchase 30 airframes. Previously before being made aware of the whole TSR2 scandal I would have defended the 'special-relationship' but what they did was just mean to put it politely. There is not even a hint of good sportsmanship and while the defence industry in this country is still going fairly strong, Great Britain has never recovered its lead in the aviation world since the destruction of the TSR2 project.

I am often called an 'old man' by my friends and I think that is because I am very cynical about the world, I think this is fairly obvious when you realise how often we do not end up on top on every sphere of international cooperation. We always manage to get ourselves screwed, this if anything has been the enduring ethos of the past century. There have not been many international cooperations where we have actually benefited. This is not to say that we should not cooperate, we most certainly should, but not in engineering. This is something we do much better on our own and always have done. Look at some current defence cooperations and consider their worth:

A400M - crap and £9 billion over budget
Type 45 destroyer - crap and over budget
Typhoon - crap and over budget
F35 - unbelievably crap and so many many billions over budget

There is hope though at least if you are willing to look outside the box and look back to a time when we could built very gucci stuff. TSR2 was to be nuclear weapons capable, and also able to carry conventional bombs. The roll of the fighter/Bomber was to fly from a short runway from within the UK to attack Russia, remember the Cold War was very much still on. The aircraft was to enter Russian air-space at extreme altitude over 58,000ft. Then descend to under to under 200ft to avoid ground radar. Once near the chosen Russian target a nuclear bomb or missile would be released to devastating effect. Now the Cold War is over but the Tories are committed to a new nuclear deterrent in the form of nuclear submarines. I suggest you consider the content of the article below if you have not already guessed where I am going with this

The TSR2 story is one of incompetence, mismanagement and failure. It is also a story of brilliance, determination and courage. It might sound crazy but if we want to we can build things like the TSR2 again -if we want to. Someone only needs to tell the boys in Whitehall that British manufacturing is nails.

The TSR2 story ended with XR219, XR221 and XR223 being taken to the shooting ranges at Shoeburyness, all eventually to be destroyed as 'damage to aircraft' targets. XR220 was kept at Boscombe for a year or so for engine noise testing and then placed in storage at RAF Henlow after it had much of its flight test equipment ripped out (even the wires were cut rather than disconnected). It was later transferred to RAF Cosford's Aerospace Museum. XR222 was gifted to the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield for instructional use. She was later donated to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. All the other airframes were scrapped. In the months after cancellation, all the tooling and jigs were destroyed, and a wooden mockup of the TSR2 was burned while BAC men filmed it for publicity purposes. In many ways the destruction of so many aspects of the project reflected the even greater act of vandalism that had been perpretrated on the British aviation industry.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Numerical Analysis

2010: £167bn Deficit
National Debt: £860bn

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Independent Thought

Yesterday I was feeling particularly sheepish and I decided instead of studying (which I should be doing since this is revision period) I watched two documentaries instead.

One was called 'Capitalims: A love Story' - I am sure you know it, made by the now infamous film maker Michael Moore. I you want I can pass you on a link to where you can view the film online for free. Alternatively you could just google the title and get a link by yourself.

Now, secondly I watched the not equally famous film 'Religulous' by Larry Charles (the same guy who made 'Borat' actually). The Comedian Bill Maher travels to Israel, England, the Netherlands, Vatican City, and across America, speaking to people about faith and religion and takes the piss a lot. Both certainly worth seeing but be warned they are not in the high end of the documentary class and are made primarily to shock and entertain, and there is not so much an academic side to either. Now naturally they provide facts, or what they claim to be facts (I would advise anyone watching either to check the facts for themselves).

Both are very good documentaries for what they are, and they do not really ask much beyond themselves safe for the viewer to stop and ask himself what is what? Now what struck me with both movies/documentaries was how independent thought seems to have gone right out of the window. People are really so stupid nowadays that they take the majority of their interactions with life at face value, critical analysis of a statement, speech, claim, fact, book of what have you seems to be nonexistent. How on earth did that happen?

Certainly the story is different on the blogosphere where quite on the contrary, nothing is taken at face value and everything is instead analysed with a critical pair of spectacles. Perhaps that is the end result of crowd sourcing a crowd which is really very pissed of with the way their country has been dealt with over the past 3-4 decades. But the fundamental difference between bloggers and the rest of the people (this is of course a massive generalisation, there are swathes of non-bloggers who most certainly employ critical analysis on a very regular basis) is that the latter just believe anything and everything the media tells them to believe.

Now things are not going to well for the media it must be said, when people start realising that they being fed lies they act, the British unlike most other people seems to act on a retarded basis in that they do act but only in the very last minute. Apply this current Britain and you will quickly see that the majority have not acted yet, but things are a foot be quite sure. But on a more local level consider for example the Met Office which had been telling people, practically, that they were about to enter the next ice age, but that never happened and the Met Office is now the laughing stock of British society and no one takes them seriously. Much the same can be said of the Government and Parliament and pretty much the entire civil service.

We interact with them because we have to, but I think I am beginning to see more evil eyes being directed their way, than usual. That is not just in the metaphorical sense but also in real life. While we are long way of from being uniformly critical of our daily interactions with life and by extension our government, there sure as chips are far more bitter people around now. This is unfortunate for it should not be that way; people should be able to trust the people who work for them, who are paid for them, who have a job because of them but the receiving end have over the past two decades firmly decided that they are going to homogeneously screw the people - every last one of them until they are control of their money and not the other way around.

Which leaves us with a nation with bad weather and a bitter population, who feels betrayed by the army of servants whose soul purpose was to serve them, but have ended up being served by the population. This is a very very dangerous combination of events and results, but there appears to be no evidence showing that the political classes have learned a lesson. The only thing we can do thus is to not believe anything they say, ever.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

We have British Space Agency

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Defence Sector must be royally fed-up with the UK

I have noted before that it seems rather pointless being a defence company in the UK, when the government in said country is doing everything in their power to stop you from being just that a; a company. Over the past few months a lot of contracts have gone out in excess of £15 billion pounds worth of equipment. There is of course the issue of where this money is going to come from but what is more interesting or disheartening, to put it another way, is to whom the contracts have been awarded. They were all given to American companies.

I hear you screaming and shouting about the free market principle and certainly I embrace it with my fullest compliments. But this country is royally fucked right now, and I know that might sound crude but we really really are. I do not need to convince you of this, the mere fact that you made it to this blog in the first place means that you are fairly informed person in the first place. To repeat: Labour has introduced 111 tax rises since 1997, taken a trillion pounds in additional taxation, and still left us with a Greek-level deficit: 12.6 per cent of GDP and rising. Of every four pounds Gordon Brown spends, one is borrowed. Our national debt is rising by nearly £6,000 a second. We can’t afford another five weeks of this, let alone another five years.

The manufacturing industry is a means to an end for the next government as is science and technology. £3.5 billion a year currently spent on publicly funded research generates an additional annual output of £45 billion in UK companies. Labour's response is to cut the number of university places. Good and bad I suppose (I think there are far too many students and far too many shit universities which should be deleted but I can see Boris' argument as well). But if we relate this to defence technology there is a really weird picture. In times of dire need, as these, a person of honour and stature and genuine regard for this country would say, 'right, chaps, fuck the rules' and they would go and do just that. £15 billion in defence contracts is a lot of money and it would do hell of a lot more in this country than over in America.

Politicians no longer care about the long game, as in what is good for the country, they care too much about themselves and popularity much in line with celebrity culture. Look at where Government spending goes (Just ignore the fact that £1 in 4 is borrowed) short term social projects that are popular and likely to give that lovely ego and popularity boost. I’m not against that, far from it, but a massive percentage is pure waste and could be much better spent elsewhere or spent more efficiently while still doing the same job. Next to that there is still a trickle of money to do actual good for the country things such as infrastructure investment and research spending in various things. Instead of taking tough decisions and sticking too them for instance getting on with building nuclear power stations or legislating that newly built houses must be much more environmentally friendly using less energy. They instead shy away sometimes saying that It is not the role of government when in fact it’s bloody hypocritical to say so when they are trying to socially engineer the population.

Ignore the arguments for a minute about buying of the shelf - I am not entirely convinced by all of them, though there is certainly merit in a few. If you buy stuff from this country you can expect long term invest in infrastructure, jobs, test ranges, factories, tooling, supply chains, supply companies, land development, several thousand dependent jobs and trades etcetera. Nothing, not a single one of the previous will happen since the development is taking place in another country and they will at the very most have a workshop here and that is that. When Rolls Royce a few years back were choosing a country to place their new labs in they settled on Germany, because the UK had such, and has such, unfavourable business environment.

Why would you come here as a defence company, or any company, you might as well head to any other country but the UK for the simple reason that you will make so much more money elsewhere. I say all of this for the simple reason that we are not winning right now. Those of us who are part of the right-wing spectrum of society who believe in a free market (yes I know that contradicts this post, but please read my reasons for putting aside the free market principle just this once), a small state and a strong foreign policy. The left have this country clenched within an iron fist, so ignominious has reasoned debate become that it is pointless to even attempt to start one. The Armed forces have become entrenched in a bloody political war which will lead to them sustaining even more casualties on the battle field because some fucking minister decided that he was lobbied enough to award a contract to the highest bidder, setting aside his duty to Queen and country. Contracts are being rushed in, quicker than ever before (more than £15 billion in little less than five months) to harm the Tories when the Strategic Defence Review does come around. I am no massive fan of the Tories, but this is so wrong but obviously it is not below Labour -nothing seems to be- but they are literally willing to offer lives to save their political skin. This is no different from blood money albeit blood contracts. I think it is so fucking disgusting that I am honestly struggling to write this post, for it is making me physically angry and putting together a string of words with a hint of intelligence is proving quite the chore. New Labour really are a dangerous party and there is no wonder that only 7% of the armed forces would vote for them if there were an election today (compared to 52% for the Tories). And perhaps the Tories wont be better but I think, at the very least, they have enough ethics and ideals to realise that you do not put a human life before short-term political gain (I would like to say 'long-term' but that would contradict the entire history of warfare so I wont).

(The comment section over at Think Defence is raging right about now). Finally to add insult to injury now the fucking super-mong Mr. Moonbat has entered the defence debate (why, god why?) - you know the guy who has been the mouthpiece for the AGW industry since the dawn of AGW, who has been subsequently been ripped to pieces by everyone with an ounce of common sense. Since he failed in adding journalistic value to that sector he has now decided to tarnish the defence vestige as well, fuck...

Sunday, 21 March 2010

A quote

Blogging is very sparse due to immense loads of work. But I do have a quote
“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”

Mr Churchill said that.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

It is late

I really have nothing profound to add to the discussion of life and politics today. I can tell you some anti-nicities which you probably preferred not to know, but then again that would be no fun. My socks smell awful and I think it is safe to say that not even the foul stench of New Labour overpowers my socks - which would put them in the same ballpark as marxists roughly I reckon.

There is a cup of very old tea next to my laptop, the tea has turned, rather unexpectedly I might add, green. This is good old Earl Grey tea and none of that gucci Chinese green tea so you can imagine my perplexed expression when I returned home this evening to find a veritable pond-of-goo next to my beloved computer. Nasty business indeed.

Well that will do for now. Probably the first and last semi-normal post I have ever written.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Cometh the Hour; cometh the Man

'Cometh the hour, cometh the man.' John 4:23 has 'But the hour cometh, and now is' and there is an English proverb 'Opportunity makes the man' (though originally, in the fourteenth century, it was 'makes the thief'), but when did the phrases come together? Harriet Martineau entitled her biography of Toussaint L'Ouverture (1840), The Hour and the Man. An American, William Yancey, said about Jefferson Davis, President-elect of the Confederacy in 1861: 'The man and the hour have met', which says the same thing in a different way. P.G. Wodehouse in Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (1974) has: 'And the hour ... produced the man.'

Earlier, at the climax of Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering, Chap. 54 (1815), Meg Merrilies says, 'Because the Hour's come, and the Man'. In the first edition and in the magnum opus edition that Scott supervised in his last years the phrase is emphasized by putting it in italics.

Then, in 1818, Scott used 'The hour's come, but not (sic) the man' as the fourth chapter heading in The Heart of Midlothian, adding in a footnote: 'There is a tradition, that while a little stream was swollen into a torrent by recent showers, the discontented voice of the Water Spirit was heard to pronounce these words. At the same moment a man, urged on by his fate, or, in Scottish language, fey, arrived at a gallop, and prepared to cross the water. No remonstrance from the bystanders was of power to stop him - he plunged into the stream, and perished.' Both these examples appear to be hinting at some earlier core saying which is still untraced.

All I would like to know is when the hell is the man coming? The hour has been here for the best part of the last 5-6 years.

A Nunn McCurdy Breach - why don't we have one?!

Why in the flaming f**k does not the UK have a Nunn McCurdy breach? For those of you who didn't get the memo a McCurdy breach is this
Then the shit hits the fan, and the politicians get notice and start complaining about stuff they do not really know anything about, when in fact they were the ones who were actively involved in the campaigning of said program. Happy days 'innit'?

The British defence books are in a veritable shit-state as it currently stands, where there is a £21 billion funding gap. I will put that in bold for you lest you missed the gist of that lovely factor of 7 number; £21 billion funding gap. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a ridiculous amount of money. Now Labour presided over this ginormous cock-up but as is always with socialists; they will not foot the bill. We will, the taxpayers. Anyhow, they will be lined up and shot by firing squad come may anyway (figuratively speaking of course).

Cost overruns and delays in long-running equipment projects such as the Eurofighter, the Merlin helicopter, the Nimrod MRA4 subhunter planes and the Astute-class submarines began to seriously affect the MoD's finances as long ago as the late 1990s. Most of these projects are still in the delivery stages, costing heavily, many years after they had been planned to finish and drop down to maintenance expenditure.

Nonetheless, Geoff Hoon - Defence Secretary from 1999 to 2005 - not only failed to deal with this situation but signficantly worsened it. He added new and expensive plans like the Type 45 destroyer, the Future Carriers, the rejuvenated Bowman comms network and the F-35 supersonic jumpjets, all without cutting a single one of the previous projects.

Hoon managed to balance his books temporarily in 2004 by swingeing cuts to existing combat units across all three armed services, most controversially by cutting ten per cent of the Army infantry in the midst of one big infantry war and with another looming on the horizon. He was removed and demoted in 2005, before the new Prime Minister's need to rebuild support in his own party brought him back this year in charge of Transport.

But the slo-mo train wreck in the MoD's budget continues, with a £2bn shortfall foreseen in the coming financial year and no real end in sight before the end of the next decade. By that point, however, the need to replace the country's nuclear arsenal will be pressing and it seems likely that the strains will continue; the more so without any economic growth to swell the tax revenues.

You could of course fix this shit-storm by simply, yes I am going to go against the capitalist ideal now, not buying all that expensive kit or just not as much of it. Douglas Carswell has some good and bad points where it comes to defence procurement and in particular he does not like protectionist spending, he wants the best kit. I am one of those staunch optimists who continue to believe that British kit is in fact pretty good regardless of the Great-Wall of Crap surrounding the manufacturing sector and preventing it from growing. That said our indigenous British defence companies are not without blame, what they normally do is to fire people in a slow steady trickle (BAE Systems, just to pluck a name from the air, has ditched more than three in every four Brits it employed in 1990. The firm has made UK workforce cuts of more than 15 per cent just since 2003.) Politicians find that sort of thing hard to resist, and senior forces officers find it hard to resist politicians. Although they stick the Union-Jack on every piece of kit they make, they are actually not that benevolent as they might seem (you will often see BAE playing the 'victim' card).

The American Breach is at 15% ours would need to be more in the area of about 5% because for some reason, industry here is so unbelievably incompetent when it comes to staying within the budget. Why, I know not. Annoying, yes it very much is.

Finally to top it all of I suggest you read this article by the Times. Four major defence projects have been awarded to four American companies/consortiums in as many months. Protectionism issues or not, the really fantastic thing is this; where the fuck are they getting money for £10 billion worth of kit when they can barely keep the TA running?

Monday, 15 March 2010

A controversial thought...

In the midst of my work, it started thinking if it really could be as such?

Is it quite possible that the bloggers of Britain have become the new intelligentsia of this desolate place? Albeit in a modern form? I so it would be highly insulting to people like the late Mr. Solzhenitsyn, if the same ideals were not adhered.

A note to all you clever writers out there.

Mr Warner on good form this evening

Jack Straw’s vacuous plan to abolish the House of Lords and replace it with a 300-member “Senate” demonstrates that, to the bitter end, Labour is obsessed with the kind of constitutionally illiterate vandalism that has characterised its 13 disastrous years in office. We already have a completely superfluous Supreme Court, on the American model; now Straw wants to add a Senate. American institutions are first-rate – for Americans. They are totally alien to Britain.

The reason for this persistent constitutional tinkering is that Labour (and now its Vichy Tory clones) thinks that such synthetic constructs are more “modern”. A favourite claim is “No other developed nation has a House of Lords”. That reflects the cultural masochism that leads “progressives” to imagine that every other society is superior to Britain. Most “developed” nations have contrived paper constitutions, cobbled together after the overthrow of their monarchies and other evolved institutions provoked periods of revolution, civil war, totalitarianism, general unrest and instability.

We have the inestimable advantage of an organic, evolved constitution that was traditionally the envy of the world. Yet, because it is enveloped in the trappings of past eras, despite its enduring efficiency and adaptability Labour and Tory modernisers want to smash it. It is a characteristic of modern Lab-Con Britain that everything that is unbroken is gratuitously mended, while the many things that are indeed broken are left unrepaired.

It is also significant that Straw’s plan is expected to include mechanisms for gerrymandering the Senate in favour of the usual suspects – women, “faith groups”, etc – as has already been done in the Commons via all-women and other forms of rigged candidate selection lists. The voter is being deprived of choice and is increasingly an extraneous cipher in the process of engineering an appointed parliament in both chambers.

It is widely assumed that Straw’s plan will not progress: but do not underestimate the potential for the Tory traitors to pick it up and run with it. What could “detoxify” a gang of Etonians more impressively (in their own demented imagination) than abolishing the House of Lords? It typifies the decadence of our times that the only section of the membership in the whole of Parliament that has not been mired in expenses and corruption scandals – the hereditary peers – is the one element that is designated for expulsion.

The implications of all these incoherent attempts to ape less mature and successful constitutional models is ultimately republican. The monarchy is the eventual target of the so-called modernisers. Pomp and pageantry are anathema to them. The grey-suited, serially corrupt apparatchiks of the European Union are their role models – and don’t forget what a plum the office of President would offer to a succession of retiring expenses junkies.

It is not the House of Lords that the public would prefer to abolish, but the House of Commons. The loathsome canaille on the slime-green benches – despite the sycophantic vocabulary of journalists such as “dedicated public servant”, “devoted constituency MP” and suchlike crony-guff – are detested by the electorate. They have banned country sports, driven smokers out of pubs, irresponsibly flooded the country with immigrants, handed us over trussed and gagged to Brussels, harassed the nation with “green” tyranny and political correctness, persecuted Christians and remorselessly robbed every taxpayer in the country.
The public knows, however, that there is no means available to it of abolishing this chamber of horrors. So, cleverly, it has opted to neuter it. An opinion poll recently showed that 34 per cent of voters actively want a hung parliament. That provoked spluttering outrage among the political class. Did these clowns of voters not understand that a hung parliament would destroy confidence in Britain’s ability to fix its economy? How stupid could they get?

The voters are not stupid at all. They know what they are doing: reducing the political class to impotence. And not before time. The transparent lie that the markets will trash Britain because of a hung parliament – when most of the countries whose bonds they purchase are in a state of permanent coalition government – impresses the British public as much as global warming scares. The difficulty about securing a hung parliament is the mechanism for engineering it. The only secure method is to deny votes to the three major parties. It is time to put them – not the peers – out of business.

FRES fail by Labour again....

Again I am going to let the eminent Howard Wheeldon take the lead on this one.

Howard Wheeldon on a supposed press leak from government suggesting a US firm will be chosen over BAE to supply 750 armoured vehicles...

Not content with attempting to give regulatory control of the UK banking industry away to our competitors and potentially killing off thousands of what one high ranking supporter of ‘New Labour’ called ‘unnecessary UK banking industry jobs’, it seems that the government has the same in mind for thousands of UK based defence industry jobs as well! In what appears to have been a deliberate and time sensitive leak to a very well heeled financial newspaper it seems that the government has ‘decided’ that US based General Dynamics with its untried and unproven ASCOD-2 vehicle as opposed to BAE Systems with its already battle proven CV90 was to be awarded the initial block 1 batch of up to 750 armoured vehicles – part of the proposed and already long delayed Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) family of military combat vehicles.

Official confirmation might come as early as this week we are told. However, given the nature of the government beast plus that we are talking here about spending money on defence – something that is abhorrent to Gordon Brown – it may also be a good idea not to take this particular government leak for granted!

Included in the leak was also that the crucially important and urgently needed Warrior armoured personnel carrier upgrade program would again be put back by at least another year, despite BAE Systems having put £50m investment into de-risking the programme and demonstrating the MTIP FRES demonstrator on the back of funding concerns. This particular part of the leak is as appalling as it is believable. So, it might on first sight appear that the government, just ahead of an election and in a constituency widely regarded as an absolute Labour stronghold, is prepared to see thousands of jobs at the former Vickers tank factory at Newcastle-upon-Tyne thrown to the wall. Why is it that I think not? OK, so I am taking a bit of a gamble here and while I readily admit that I could be wrong, I see more into this particular press leak than some others. But on the very basis of best product for the mission and that in the case of BAE Systems there are so many UK based jobs involved, plus events in the US this past week that show protectionism is not only alive and well but positively thriving, there is no reason why BAE Systems should not be awarded the first stage of FRES.

Perhaps though we might dig just a little deeper into what might also lay behind reasons for this rather surprising let alone strange leak:

Try this for one possible scenario: Rather than spin and then subsequently announce what most had been led to believe awarding a contract intention for between 600 and 750 FRES vehicles sometime later this week, my guess is that given the current MoD funding status and budget shortfall and given the unlikely prospect that any part of the long delayed FRES requirement would likely be based on an Afghanistan type UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement) that for the government to agree a contract of this size before the election and, more importantly, before the result of the upcoming Strategic Defence Review would be very unlikely. OK, the government could order now and cancel later – even completely reversing the decision of who it awarded the contract too perhaps. More likely though is that to save its own skin it will slip the potential of an award being made to the most unlikely candidate, let the arguments and angst commence and then blame the cries from the so called loser as reason enough to delay!

And another on the same theme perhaps: It seems to me that with the government knowing that if GD was to be awarded a contract of this size with a product that had not even been seen let alone tested by the MoD (a quite impossible scenario surely?) that BAE Systems would quite rightly scream more than enough of a scenario has been created to delay not only Warrior upgrade but also this first phase of FRES yet again.

And what about this one: It is just possible of course that by dropping the suggestion that GD as opposed to BAE Systems had won to the press (just as the government had done through a similar press and media drop several years ago when it was suggested that Thales as opposed to BAE had won the design contract for the CV aircraft carrier program – something that I was later able to dispel) it just may be that the government could be doing this just to put pressure on BAE Systems to sweeten its deal.

Not surprisingly and quite rightly in my view BAE Systems has risen to the bait throwing its toys out of the pram big time on the basis that:

1.) The government should not be buying a completely unproven product that has never been deployed on operations from a competitor and that maybe two to three years behind the CV90;

2.) Giving part of FRES to GD would potential destroy more UK high end defence industrial capability;

3.) In the wake of the ‘forced’ decision by EADS and its Northrop Grumman partner that it had no choice but to pull out of the US tanker program because of US based protectionism;

4.) Following significant work by BAE Systems to generate cost savings on the program that benefit the taxpayer and given that the CV90 is already a well proven product there is in my view no reason to not award the first phase of FRES (should this really be about to occur) to anyone other than BAE Systems.

If through this leak the UK government is intentionally attempting to buy itself more time whilst at the same time also attempting to appease public concern that it is failing to order equipment that troops urgently need all that I can say is that it is going about it in a stupid and very dangerous manner. At this stage I am left to conclude that we probably will not see any order being given to General Dynamics or BAE Systems later this week for anything other than a handful of vehicles for test purposes. Mind you if I am right then I guess that the government will cover its tracks by making additional promises. We will see!

Howard Wheeldon, Senior strategist, BGC Brokers


A great and mighty world empire a mere 50 years ago, now brought down to a self destructive society, bent on cultural suicide. What is the point of continuing?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Nightmare Lisbon Treaty

Well, chaps, I am off this weekend to do some training. In the meantime I would like to note this piece by Open Europe. I wrote a full page article in our student newspaper about the whole shambolic set-up that was the Lisbon Treaty, and referred to the same things that the piece by Open Europe refers to. Naturally though, it being a student newspaper, no one gives a shit. But hey at least I tried. It is not just that it is ambivalence, the whole thing just does not work. It really is as simple as that. This of course makes me very happy. While eurosceptics are exerting their non-existent force from the outside and watch it fall upon deaf ears, there is solace to be found in the notion that the EU is so incompetent in its own supine raison d'etre, that we really should just all chill out and let it implode.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti

The Lion lies in his lair in the perpendicular face of a low cliff — for he is carved from the living rock of the cliff. His size is colossal, his attitude is noble. His head is bowed, the broken spear is sticking in his shoulder, his protecting paw rests upon the lilies of France. Vines hang down the cliff and wave in the wind, and a clear stream trickles from above and empties into a pond at the base, and in the smooth surface of the pond the lion is mirrored, among the water-lilies.

Around about are green trees and grass. The place is a sheltered, reposeful woodland nook, remote from noise and stir and confusion — and all this is fitting, for lions do die in such places, and not on granite pedestals in public squares fenced with fancy iron railings. The Lion of Lucerne would be impressive anywhere, but nowhere so impressive as where he is.
– Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, 1880

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The General Election, the outcomes

The general election has three possible outcomes:
  1. The Conservative Party will win with a workable majority.
  2. The Labour Party will win with a workable majority.
  3. There is a hung parliament.
Nr 3 is of importance here because it is by far the most interesting one. This country does not do hung parliament as does the continent. They just break down completely. Some might argue that we had a coalition government during WWII, and we did but the keywords you are missing are in those two 'W's. There was a World War going on, not cooperating means loosing, it is as simple as that. Hence that is a completely moot argument because that was an extraordinary situation handled by an extraordinary government.

Further, Nr 3 is interesting because it presents some very curious consequences. If there is a hung parliament there will almost certainly be a leadership election in either party. Simply because either has failed in gaining a workable majority in the Commons. What is also certain is that there will be another general election within months to sort out the mess that currently inhibits the great halls of Westminster.

This is interesting particularly for real conservatives (with a small 'c') like myself. There is the real possibility that a real conservative takes the helm of the Conservative Party and delivers a manifesto that us conservatives can relate to. I think it is no a secret that most of us are leaving in droves to parties like UKIP and UKLP (scaremongering rarely works such as "a vote for any party but the Conservative Party is a vote for Labour" - bollocks to that). Whilst I see no light in the end of the tunnel with Mr. Cameron there is certainly enough brains and talent in the Conservative party, to produce a leader worthy of the helmsmanship. I am not going to insult the reader's intelligence by listing those people for he or she is most likely more knowledgeable than myself.

We have not had a lot of hung parliaments (for reasons explained above). The most recent elected hung parliament in the UK was that which followed the February 1974 general election, which lasted until the October election that year. Prior to that the last had been following the election of 1929. Hung parliaments can also arise when slim government majorities are eroded by by-election defeats and defection of Members of Parliament to opposition parties. This happened in 1996 to the Conservative government of John Major (1990-97) and in 1978 to the Labour government of James Callaghan (later Lord Callaghan of Cardiff) (1976-79). You can clearly see thus, that the track record is not good for that type of governing in the UK.

And finally, as always, a real conservative would have Britain tell the EU to Foxtrot Oscar.

The Kiwis know how to get things done

This is quite frankly a remarkable piece by one Maurice P. McTigue who is an ex-minister of the New Zeeland government. The Devil has a much more comprehensive summary of McTigue's extremely interesting piece here, but let me just quote a paragraph:
When we started this process with the Department of Transportation, it had 5,600 employees. When we finished, it had 53. When we started with the Forest Service, it had 17,000 employees. When we finished, it had 17. When we applied it to the Ministry of Works, it had 28,000 employees. I used to be Minister of Works, and ended up being the only employee. In the latter case, most of what the department did was construction and engineering, and there are plenty of people who can do that without government involvement. And if you say to me, “But you killed all those jobs!”—well, that’s just not true. The government stopped employing people in those jobs, but the need for the jobs didn’t disappear. I visited some of the forestry workers some months after they’d lost their government jobs, and they were quite happy. They told me that they were now earning about three times what they used to earn—on top of which, they were surprised to learn that they could do about 60 percent more than they used to! The same lesson applies to the other jobs I mentioned.
He could be talking about Britain safe for the solution proposed and implemented by his government.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Guess what becomes fully operational this month

Why it couldn't be could it (no you super-mongs it is not the Death Star)? Yes it could, why it's a Brazilian Aircraft Carrier - bang on time as well! Now is that not very convenient for them.

Why is this of some importance? Well the Brazilians just put a not-so-polite request to the UK, along with a load of other South American countries, to hand over the Falklands. This new aircraft carrier puts the ball firmly in their court when it comes to leverage. Hopefully this is only a lot of hot air fuming from a bunch of people on a power trip, hopefully. The only good thing about this horse dump of a situation, is that the aircraft carrier is French built so it will probably surrender if good turns to bad.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Crown the Clown Brown

Our finest hour

...was in 1689 but by God was it a fine hour indeed:

English Bill of Rights 1689

An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown

Whereas the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster, lawfully, fully and freely representing all the estates of the people of this realm, did upon the thirteenth day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-eight [old style date] present unto their Majesties, then called and known by the names and style of William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, being present in their proper persons, a certain declaration in writing made by the said Lords and Commons in the words following, viz.:

Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom;

By assuming and exercising a power of dispensing with and suspending of laws and the execution of laws without consent of Parliament;

By committing and prosecuting divers worthy prelates for humbly petitioning to be excused from concurring to the said assumed power;

By issuing and causing to be executed a commission under the great seal for erecting a court called the Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes;

By levying money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by Parliament;

By raising and keeping a standing army within this kingdom in time of peace without consent of Parliament, and quartering soldiers contrary to law;

By causing several good subjects being Protestants to be disarmed at the same time when papists were both armed and employed contrary to law;

By violating the freedom of election of members to serve in Parliament;

By prosecutions in the Court of King's Bench for matters and causes cognizable only in Parliament, and by divers other arbitrary and illegal courses;

And whereas of late years partial corrupt and unqualified persons have been returned and served on juries in trials, and particularly divers jurors in trials for high treason which were not freeholders;

And excessive bail hath been required of persons committed in criminal cases to elude the benefit of the laws made for the liberty of the subjects;

And excessive fines have been imposed;

And illegal and cruel punishments inflicted;

And several grants and promises made of fines and forfeitures before any conviction or judgment against the persons upon whom the same were to be levied;

All which are utterly and directly contrary to the known laws and statutes and freedom of this realm;

And whereas the said late King James the Second having abdicated the government and the throne being thereby vacant, his Highness the prince of Orange (whom it hath pleased Almighty God to make the glorious instrument of delivering this kingdom from popery and arbitrary power) did (by the advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and divers principal persons of the Commons) cause letters to be written to the Lords Spiritual and Temporal being Protestants, and other letters to the several counties, cities, universities, boroughs and cinque ports, for the choosing of such persons to represent them as were of right to be sent to Parliament, to meet and sit at Westminster upon the two and twentieth day of January in this year one thousand six hundred eighty and eight [old style date], in order to such an establishment as that their religion, laws and liberties might not again be in danger of being subverted, upon which letters elections having been accordingly made;

And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare

That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;

That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;

That the commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes, and all other commissions and courts of like nature, are illegal and pernicious;

That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal;

That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal;

That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;

That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;

That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;

That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;

That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;

That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders;

That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;

And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held frequently.

And they do claim, demand and insist upon all and singular the premises as their undoubted rights and liberties, and that no declarations, judgments, doings or proceedings to the prejudice of the people in any of the said premises ought in any wise to be drawn hereafter into consequence or example; to which demand of their rights they are particularly encouraged by the declaration of his Highness the prince of Orange as being the only means for obtaining a full redress and remedy therein. Having therefore an entire confidence that his said Highness the prince of Orange will perfect the deliverance so far advanced by him, and will still preserve them from the violation of their rights which they have here asserted, and from all other attempts upon their religion, rights and liberties, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled at Westminster do resolve that William and Mary, prince and princess of Orange, be and be declared king and queen of England, France and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, to hold the crown and royal dignity of the said kingdoms and dominions to them, the said prince and princess, during their lives and the life of the survivor to them, and that the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said prince of Orange in the names of the said prince and princess during their joint lives, and after their deceases the said crown and royal dignity of the same kingdoms and dominions to be to the heirs of the body of the said princess, and for default of such issue to the Princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of her body, and for default of such issue to the heirs of the body of the said prince of Orange. And the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do pray the said prince and princess to accept the same accordingly.

And that the oaths hereafter mentioned be taken by all persons of whom the oaths have allegiance and supremacy might be required by law, instead of them; and that the said oaths of allegiance and supremacy be abrogated.

I, A.B., do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to their Majesties King William and Queen Mary. So help me God.

I, A.B., do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest and abjure as impious and heretical this damnable doctrine and position, that princes excommunicated or deprived by the Pope or any authority of the see of Rome may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever. And I do declare that no foreign prince, person, prelate, state or potentate hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, superiority, pre-eminence or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me God.

Upon which their said Majesties did accept the crown and royal dignity of the kingdoms of England, France and Ireland, and the dominions thereunto belonging, according to the resolution and desire of the said Lords and Commons contained in the said declaration. And thereupon their Majesties were pleased that the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, being the two Houses of Parliament, should continue to sit, and with their Majesties' royal concurrence make effectual provision for the settlement of the religion, laws and liberties of this kingdom, so that the same for the future might not be in danger again of being subverted, to which the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons did agree, and proceed to act accordingly. Now in pursuance of the premises the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled, for the ratifying, confirming and establishing the said declaration and the articles, clauses, matters and things therein contained by the force of law made in due form by authority of Parliament, do pray that it may be declared and enacted that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and claimed in the said declaration are the true, ancient and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom, and so shall be esteemed, allowed, adjudged, deemed and taken to be; and that all and every the particulars aforesaid shall be firmly and strictly holden and observed as they are expressed in the said declaration, and all officers and ministers whatsoever shall serve their Majesties and their successors according to the same in all time to come. And the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, seriously considering how it hath pleased Almighty God in his marvellous providence and merciful goodness to this nation to provide and preserve their said Majesties' royal persons most happily to reign over us upon the throne of their ancestors, for which they render unto him from the bottom of their hearts their humblest thanks and praises, do truly, firmly, assuredly and in the sincerity of their hearts think, and do hereby recognize, acknowledge and declare, that King James the Second having abdicated the government, and their Majesties having accepted the crown and royal dignity as aforesaid, their said Majesties did become, were, are and of right ought to be by the laws of this realm our sovereign liege lord and lady, king and queen of England, France and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging, in and to whose princely persons the royal state, crown and dignity of the said realms with all honours, styles, titles, regalities, prerogatives, powers, jurisdictions and authorities to the same belonging and appertaining are most fully, rightfully and entirely invested and incorporated, united and annexed. And for preventing all questions and divisions in this realm by reason of any pretended titles to the crown, and for preserving a certainty in the succession thereof, in and upon which the unity, peace, tranquility and safety of this nation doth under God wholly consist and depend, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do beseech their Majesties that it may be enacted, established and declared, that the crown and regal government of the said kingdoms and dominions, with all and singular the premises thereunto belonging and appertaining, shall be and continue to their said Majesties and the survivor of them during their lives and the life of the survivor of them, and that the entire, perfect and full exercise of the regal power and government be only in and executed by his Majesty in the names of both their Majesties during their joint lives; and after their deceases the said crown and premises shall be and remain to the heirs of the body of her Majesty, and for default of such issue to her Royal Highness the Princess Anne of Denmark and the heirs of the body of his said Majesty; and thereunto the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do in the name of all the people aforesaid most humbly and faithfully submit themselves, their heirs and posterities for ever, and do faithfully promise that they will stand to, maintain and defend their said Majesties, and also the limitation and succession of the crown herein specified and contained, to the utmost of their powers with their lives and estates against all persons whatsoever that shall attempt anything to the contrary. And whereas it hath been found by experience that it is inconsistent with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom to be governed by a popish prince, or by any king or queen marrying a papist, the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons do further pray that it may be enacted, that all and every person and persons that is, are or shall be reconciled to or shall hold communion with the see or Church of Rome, or shall profess the popish religion, or shall marry a papist, shall be excluded and be for ever incapable to inherit, possess or enjoy the crown and government of this realm and Ireland and the dominions thereunto belonging or any part of the same, or to have, use or exercise any regal power, authority or jurisdiction within the same; and in all and every such case or cases the people of these realms shall be and are hereby absolved of their allegiance; and the said crown and government shall from time to time descend to and be enjoyed by such person or persons being Protestants as should have inherited and enjoyed the same in case the said person or persons so reconciled, holding communion or professing or marrying as aforesaid were naturally dead; and that every king and queen of this realm who at any time hereafter shall come to and succeed in the imperial crown of this kingdom shall on the first day of the meeting of the first Parliament next after his or her coming to the crown, sitting in his or her throne in the House of Peers in the presence of the Lords and Commons therein assembled, or at his or her coronation before such person or persons who shall administer the coronation oath to him or her at the time of his or her taking the said oath (which shall first happen), make, subscribe and audibly repeat the declaration mentioned in the statute made in the thirtieth year of the reign of King Charles the Second entitled, _An Act for the more effectual preserving the king's person and government by disabling papists from sitting in either House of Parliament._ But if it shall happen that such king or queen upon his or her succession to the crown of this realm shall be under the age of twelve years, then every such king or queen shall make, subscribe and audibly repeat the same declaration at his or her coronation or the first day of the meeting of the first Parliament as aforesaid which shall first happen after such king or queen shall have attained the said age of twelve years. All which their Majesties are contented and pleased shall be declared, enacted and established by authority of this present Parliament, and shall stand, remain and be the law of this realm for ever; and the same are by their said Majesties, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons in Parliament assembled and by the authority of the same, declared, enacted and established accordingly.

II. And be it further declared and enacted by the authority aforesaid, that from and after this present session of Parliament no dispensation by _non obstante_ of or to any statute or any part thereof shall be allowed, but that the same shall be held void and of no effect, except a dispensation be allowed of in such statute, and except in such cases as shall be specially provided for by one or more bill or bills to be passed during this present session of Parliament.

III. Provided that no charter or grant or pardon granted before the three and twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred eighty-nine shall be any ways impeached or invalidated by this Act, but that the same shall be and remain of the same force and effect in law and no other than as if this Act had never been made.

The last shards of yesteryear

This is not one of those posts where I shall try to impose upon the reader a shocking piece of disbelief yet again washed up upon these, oh so cold shores. No, I will not join in on the recycling of arguments and information that makes up a great deal of blogging. A lot of us just comment upon the news that are dug up each day by journalists and we mostly claim that their conclusions are crap and wholly biased in favour of their political stamp. Sure, we are probably right most of the time but certainly wrong a lot of it as well. What baffles me is why we continuously seek out misery, why there is an urge to find what is so wrong with this country. We probably wont be able to fix it and the few people who would have serious shot at fixing the country, whether left or right wing, will not be given a chance because the media has labelled them 'extreme'.

But in the hype of 21st century Britain where everything is racist and everyone is politically correct, I do not really think there are any grounds at all for calling anyone racist. Newspapers often come out with grandiose comments on why this or that person is bad, based on their quickly polled focus grouped opinions. For you see it is not their opinions they are conveying in that comment, no, it is opinions of the focus group whom they commissioned to make the opinions for them. Me on the other hand, well, let just put it this way; I think most of what comes out of the media is pure BS and as a result I fall out with a lot of people. Mostly people who cannot really accept the prospect of the media being wrong, hence mostly people for whom independent thought is an alien concept altogether.

Virgil said that fortune favours the brave, but what do you do when there are no brave men left to favour? I do not even know why I am writing this, there is really nothing of interest in these incoherent words that are dressed up as factual criticism of an established political elite that has done its utmost to destroy a country which previously boasted of having the best ubiquitous quality in its people, ingrained since the dawn of England and Britain; fair-play. There is not even a struggle anymore, just the slow silent march towards consent, in whatever form it may be.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A400M is shit and delayed; to add insult to injury the British parts are to be made in Spain instead

It cannot be said enough: I loathe everything and everyone related to the Labour party. Brits used to be famed worldwide for their fair-play but I think we can safely assume now that we are the laughing stock of the world, 'pushovers' and 'suckers' that is us.

Howard Wheeldon on reports that Britain may allow A400m work to go to Spain...

It seems that in his hatred of anything to do with defence spend our extraordinary Prime Minister is even now even prepared to risk UK based manufacturing jobs being given to Spain!

Last evening, by courtesy of Tim Hepher at Reuters, I learned what I had feared for several weeks – that by prevaricating on how it might fund a share of the package that would allow the A400M military heavylift to proceed, PM Brown is prepared to risk UK based jobs being stolen by another A400M partner – Spain. The bottom line of what Spain is saying is that if Britain is not prepared to join the other six partners on a similar basis of A400M refunding then it should not be allowed to retain the existing levels of work share on the actual program. No one is commenting of course – not EADS, not Spain and certainly not the UK government – but having been personally aware for some time that a problem existed on the A400M UK funding process I have absolutely no doubt that the Reuters account published last night is 100% correct.

Before providing a damming view of what such policy could mean – for British based manufacturing jobs plus for future defence partnerships between Britain and Europe – let me say here that for once there is absolutely no blame attached in my commentary to the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson. Indeed, it is true to say that Lord Mandelson and Minister of State for Trade Promotion and Investment Lord Davies really have worked tirelessly to ensure that Britain plays a full part in the A400M manufacturing process. The problem it seems is fairly and squarely behind the doors of Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street. Sadly it seems that the legacy of Baroness Shriti Vadera and the hatred by this government of anything to do with defence lives on!

Spain, in which nation the A400M will be finally assembled, is apparently demanding that Britain now shifts considerable composite related wings work, including jigs and cradles, from Filton near Bristol to Spain. It is of course a ridiculous notion and will not occur for the simple reason that just doing this would put the already three-year delayed A400M program back by at least another year. The method in Brown’s madness though is most probably in my view that he hopes that if Britain prevaricates on funding arrangements enough with a bit of luck the whole A400M program that the RAF (Britain is down to buy 25 A400M aircraft) plus the other six partner governments are now so desperate to see moving to full production will get killed off. With it of course would go about 8,500 directly employed jobs and thousands of other indirect jobs in the UK.

Even if there was now to be backtracking on the part of Britain and maybe even Spain the damage done by the UK government to this program and indeed the prospect of future industrial partnership between Britain and any of its European partners is enormous. It may well be that Mr. Brown and his cohorts have signed the partnership’s death knell. It begs the question on other partnership programs such as Eurofighter Typhoon and maybe even the UK government participation partnership with Lockheed Martin on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. After all, why should anyone ever trust Britain again if this is how it attempts to turn the screw on official manufacturing partnerships?

The damaging action of the British government that will in my humble view do such serious further damage to the future of the A400M program shows conclusively that while other nations – despite having similar economic problems to Britain – are prepared to treat their respective aerospace and defence manufacturing concerns as huge strategic assets to the economy, Britain couldn’t care less about the future of the remaining 140,000 jobs that remain in the UK defence industry as a whole let alone those employed right across the aerospace industry. (Worth noting here that in 1990 numbers of personnel employed in UK defence was around 555,000. By 2000 that number had essentially halved and today is has halved again. And yet in terms of actual UK export note that in 2007 Britain achieved a record £10bn of defence equipment exports that brought substantial benefit not only to the exchequer but also helping trade figures and employment.)

Back to the central issue though – could any of us imagine that Britain might one day attempt to stitch up Spain, France or Germany in the manner that Spain appears to be doing on the A400M manufacturing issue? No….we have not even got the guts let alone the inclination! Indeed, one might say that if allies such as Spain are attempting to do something like this what on earth would our enemies be doing if they are given the chance? And that thought makes what Spain is trying to do in stealing away UK technology, UK skills and jobs, UK research and development, UK based expertise, UK industrial advantage look the equivalent of a second armada sailing up the Bristol Channel! The trouble is that today we do not have a Francis Drake – we have a burnt out unelected Labour politician at the helm and one that is prepared to throw not only important manufacturing assets to our European competitors for nothing but also virtually all future decisions that effect the British economy as well.

I conclude by asking the following: When will the UK government finally wake up to the importance of its defence and aerospace manufacturing champions? When will Britain learn to treat our manufacturers in a similar manner to the way our competitors do in the US, France, Germany and Spain? When will our miserable government realise the importance of employment created and maintained by the defence manufacturing industry in Britain? When will it realise the export potential of what we do, the mass of research and development effort put in by the private sector and to an extent by the government as well that not only provides our troops with excellent equipment but also creates the potential for exports? When will they learn to support the defence industry, to support our troops by providing sufficient equipment, to provide our troops and their families with the huge support that they both need and deserve? When will they stop cutting corners attempting to do everything in defence of the realm on the cheap and risking the lives of our soldiers? When will they accept that as a proportion of GDP and despite self inflicted wounds of the economic crisis that we must still put defence of the realm at the top of the tree?

Friday, 5 March 2010

Personal Freedom

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The EU and the Falklands

I felt obliged to post this very interesting piece by Katabisis, snippet...
What isn't being discussed is the enormous elephant sitting silently between Argentina on one side and Britain and the Falklands on the other. That is the EU and the commitments, now EU law, as ensrhined in the Lisbon Treaty amendments. Of interest in particular is Article 42, Section 7 of the Lisbon amended Maastricht treaty. It states:

"If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power."
What is going to happen in the very unlikely event that Argentina attacks? The EU is going to tell the UK to fuck off, tell us to continue to pay the EU bills and finally tell us to stop complaining and impose all the EU directives which have no semblance of democracy. That in one form or another is what always happen when a lesser member state needs help.

(Do you know what the really ironic thing is? Article 42 was put in the Lisbon Treaty to undermine NATO, which has an identical clause, but NATO will do squat all without the US saying so first. Which the US has said succinctly; they will do squat all.)

But do you know what happens when you tell the EU to fuck off? You get fined €2,980. Which means that when they eventually pass the EU legislation, forcing bloggers to reveal their true identity, I am going to have accumulated enough 'EU-fuck-off-tickets' to leave me in the red for the rest of my life. A curious parallel, if you will, to the state of the British finances.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Tuesday is Hardcore night

I have loads of topics that need to be discussed but I do not have any time so they will be stored in the 'to be written' pile. But, here is some music (in my ongoing quest to break Calling England, he he he)....

In my opinion this is one of the best songs ever written, no BS just pure feeling (and best of all no PC whatsoever), enjoy!

Also do read this extremely good piece by EUROSOC.