The size of the Royal Navy

In 1804 there were 572 fighting ships in  the Royal Navy. The UK was  engaged in a series of wars at the time which encouraged government to keep the force strong. In 1939 as war broke out the UK navy had 332 naval vessels. During the war there was a large expansion  in  the fleet, with 553 new ships added both to replace lost ships and to expand the size of the force. 58 new aircraft carriers were produced during the war years, for example.

Today in  a period of relative peace there are just 67 fighting ships in the navy, including 18 small patrol boats with guns.

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140 Comments

  1. JimS
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:55 am | Permalink

    For at least the last 20 years we have been told that the RN hasn’t enough people to crew the vessels they have.

    That is quite incredible when one considers that the modern warship requires only a fraction of the people that were needed in the days of coaling and steam. (Similar labour reductions have occured in operating the railways and the home energy supply businesses).

    What exactly do the working, in the broadest sense, people do in this country now? Advanced box-ticking?

    • Hope
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      JR, I am not sure that number is correct. It might be the figure for public consumption. OPV’s are hardly fighting ships. They were built to retain ship building skills more than the use they were going to be put! Shocking but true.

      There are more ships in dock under maintenance than operationally deployed. Show me that I am wrong.

      Successive Tory govts have devastated our military capacity, security in police and Border Agency. In stark contrast keeping us safe is the first and foremost role of govt.
      Tories have a shockingly bad record. Mayhab only last week being slammed by Labour for not making it policy to build auxiliary ships in the U.K. Like other countries. This and other infrastructure projects would have been better than quantarive easing.

      Could you tell us the truth about the military strategy. Is it based on an independent nation cooperating with NATO, alternatively, is the strategy built around being part of an EU military capability? The truth please.

      The US has more tonnage in its coastguard than our naval force.

      It is now becoming very clear with the insinuates comments and antics from Hammond, Duncan, Gauke, Lee, Clarkex2 what sort of fanatical Remain cabinet a Mayhab chose.
      Major, Brwon and Blaire almost becoming hysterical today. Just imagine the UK leaving the EU at the request of the public! Yet all three former EU fanatic PMs denied democracy against the wish of the public! All theee should be curled under a stone ashamed of their behaviour in office, yet have the gall to speak out against leaving the EU!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Well given the way the climate alarmist religion and bonkers unscientific politicians “think” the Navy may need even more people soon. This as May, the LibDims or similar dopes will doubtless pass some law saying we have to move to net zero carbon renewables. So sailing, rowing or perhaps some very large batteries, recharged perhaps by solar cells and at night by stationary bicycles connected to generators or mice running in those little wheels perhaps.

      All but a handful of MPs voted for Miliband’s insane & hugely damaging climate change act after all. And nothing has been done to repeal it.

  2. Cheshire Girl
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    I’m no expert on these things, but I’m betting thats not enough. Our Politicians have decided to spend the money on their ‘ vanity’ projects instead.

    We have plenty of ‘diversity’, but not enough ships. !

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Exactly, our society has to choose whether to invest in defence, or housing for young women with several children by multiple absent fathers.

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Dave Andrews

        Would you prefer that these ‘several children’ live on the streets to become the next generation of worthless citizens?

        In preference to pick yet another fight a la Iraq against a country that has never done us any harm?

        In fact if you take a closer look at the history of Iran in the last couple of hundred years you will find we have treated their country abominably.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

          Being a deliberately single mum has become a better career option than being a doctor.

          No free house with appointments. Hostel accommodation or better still, home with her parents.

      • Al
        Posted July 24, 2019 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        Sometimes it is only one father and they would prefer not to be absent. One of the few things I agree with Camerson on was when he revealed just how broken the benefits system was – a complete family with one ill member does not qualify for as much help as a single mother (they are deemed to be in less ‘need’), leading to desperate fathers divorcing their wives to get the support a disabled child or spouse may need. Forcing families apart like this is ridiculous, and the sort of thing benefits reform should fix.

        Another such case I am dealing with now is a retired couple, where one developed a disability. They are struggling to keep a roof over their head and pay for the equipment to manage the condition. The council says that because they are married, the combined pensions mean they don’t qualify for help. If they got divorced, the disabled member would be instantly rehoused in a disabled-accessible house with that equipment, free of charge.

        Why is the system a) breaking up families b) housing one fewer person in each residence than it could and c) removing the member who often earns the income that keeps the family’s head above water?

  3. zorro
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    JR – That’s when we had an industrial base, and a sizeable amount of youth were directed to practical trades rather than aspiring to the heights of media studies type courses!

    zorro

  4. jerry
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    “The size of the Royal Navy [now and then]”

    Mostly cut by reductions in Tory defence spending, and what of the ship yards, also cut/closed by successive Tory govts – all to fund tax cuts…

    As I said the other day, crocodile rears from our host who has been in the front line of such polices for the last 40 plus years!

    • Edward2
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      In 2000 UK defence spending was £28 billion and in 2020 it is planned to be £38 billion.

      Tax revenues were approx £400 billion in 2000 and are expected to be approx £800 billion in 2020.

    • lojolondon
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      The Conservatives are certainly not blameless, but Labour has always opposed any spending on Britain’s defence. Even when the last Labour government declared war, they refused to spend money on protection for our troops, resulting in hundreds of needless deaths and thousands of serious injuries.
      Notably, the last time a Labour PM spent money on the navy, was to close Portsmouth and move all maintenance on nuclear subs to his very own constituency in Faslane. Despicable.

      • jerry
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        @lojolondon; Utter nonsense, Both the Attlee and the Wilson eras were ready and willing to spend on defence.

        Many of the (now) most telling cuts to the RN had nothing to do with the ending of the cold war, for example Portsmouth ceased ship building in 1981 and HM Dockyard Chatham closed in 1984, whilst support for the general commercial ship building industry ended in early April 1979.

        How many on this site try to invoke a ‘Churchillian’ vision of the UK but at the same time (still) expect Thatcherite economic values that diminished the power of the UK on the world stage.

    • Bob
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      @Jerry,

      What tax cuts?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        Indeed the highest taxes for 5o years and very complex and rather idiotic ones too from Halfwit Hammond. Yet public services are dire and declining and gross public sector waste and misdirection is everywhere you care to look. £2 million wasted by police on the fantasist Carl Beech and yet they cannot even answer serious 999 emergencies. All a question of priories or rather a total lack of them.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Why spend money on our safety and security by properly funding the Police, Border Force and our military when they can give a combined£30 Billion to the EU and foreign aid. Such vote winners for the legacies! After 9 years the Tory’s can no longer blame anyone else. Mass migration really helps the provision of our public services, health provision and our carbon footprint!!!

    • Jagman84
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean during our years of subservience to the EC/EU?

      • jerry
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        @Jagman84; Defence is not (yet…) a EC/EU competence, so no, I mean the years of subservience to Monetarism and tax cuts etc.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          As I showed above there have been no actual cuts in taxation.
          Tax revenues have risen greatly.

          • jerry
            Posted July 24, 2019 at 5:39 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; You have shown no such thing, taxes have fallen (in real turns) since 1979, or are you calling Mrs Thatcher a liar?…

            Also defence cuts started in 1979, not 2000 as you suggest.

    • John C.
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      We have not had a Tory government since Maggie. Dr Redwood is a Tory in a libdem party. Blame him not.

      • jerry
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        @John C; But very damaging and significant cuts were made between 1979 and 1990, very much during the time Thatcher was PM. At best it was short slightness, that future conflicts would be long range, with no need for close quarter fighting or defence.

        As for our host, he was in cabinet govt until 1995, so under the rules that are collective responsibility, yes I will blame him as much as anyone else, he being either an advisor to the PM or in cabinet between 1979 and 1995.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        True, though Thatcher made huge errors too, this despite her doing much good. She gave away far more powers to the EU, appointed Major to be Chancellor and let him take us into the ERM as a precursor to the EURO. Failed to cut taxes sufficiently and the size of the state sufficiently, she fell for the climate alarmism to a degree and worst of all she then let Major become PM and he duly buried the party for many terms after pointlessly destroying the economy with his ERM. Still not really recovered yet and it may well never do so. Still no sorry from Major either.

  5. Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    This is an area that badly needs reinforcing, because I wouldn’t put it past the EU, once they have their own army in place to become a bully to any nation that doesn’t do as they wish – They already do that now, but with an army they will be able to literally impose their will physically. So it is vital we have a strong army, navy and air force.

    Then there is the rest of the world – we cannot allow ourselves to continue to be a weak nation – it’s time we stood up for ourselves and for that we need a real navy.

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      Bryan Harris

      “EU.. a bully to any nation that doesn’t do as they wish –”

      You mean send in a gun boat like we did in the good old days of empire?

      As for standing up for ourselves – who exactly is threatening us? If we didn’t follow the US and constantly interfere in other countries’ affairs we wouldn’t need to constantly be on our guard.

      Let’s invest in our talented youth rather than fight 20th century battles.

      • Posted July 23, 2019 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        margaret howard
        You surely have a warped view of how the EU operates, but perhaps that is part of your mind-set, and no it has nothing to do with how Britain ruled her empire.
        How strange that EU people like you always insult the history of the UK because we came out on top – while all other nations were doing very similar things as us – but criticism is reserved for the UK.
        As for your lack of awareness on conflicts, potential and actual around the globe, I would say there are several possible foes – China now is a force to be reckoned with – Our idiots in government are constantly trying to irritate Russia that will retaliate one day, and then there is the Middle east, a hotbed of aggression that will spill over very soon even without our presence there.
        Although you may have a point about how worthwhile it is to have a large army – perhaps we should do nothing, allow ourselves to be dominated by idiots and just surrender our soul to history – that would be the cowards way out.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted July 25, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        We need increased defence expenditure and we need to recognise that the EU, with its own army as agreed by Macron and Merkel, is a potential enemy in the long term. All of the world’s big Federations – USA, Russia, China, India – are a threat to peace. Because of multi-culturalism, they have no natural internal cohesion, and seek to generate such cohesion by bullying their neighbours. And Margaret Howard views with equanimity the creation of another one.

        Our army is big enough provided that we don’t look for foreign wars and have a TA in support. The expenditure is needed on ships to protect our fishing fleet and fighter aeroplanes.

  6. alan
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Times have changed- we have changed- it’s time to get real about our circumstance and our place in the world

  7. Anonymous
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    What’s the point ?

    The prevailing regimes are only interested in diversifying our nation out of existence. What’s to protect ???

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I don’t want an army, navy or air force if the 5th columnists are in charge of it.

  8. Everhopeful
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Yes well..maybe minds have been too fixed on political correctness, bl**dly equality and the bête noir FAIRNESS!
    All looks a bit stupid really in the face of an actual existential threat.
    A bit ant and grasshoppery …except of course that the grasshopper was enjoying himself and not shoving his berserk ideas down the ant’s throat, stopping her from doing the sensible thing!
    An island without ships!!
    Better not then get led into war by a hawkish ally then!!

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

      …bête noire

  9. Frank
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Some of the news media has announced that the Iranians have hoisted the Iranian flag over the tanker Stena Impero – but wrong again – the Iranian flag is hoisted in the correct place for hoisting the courtesy flag when entering the waters of a foreign nation

  10. Nigl
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Now break down how old they are. Type 23 built to counter Soviet submarines. 20/30 years ago. The latest types coming into service not until the mid 20s.

    It seems to show a complete dereliction by successive governments in ensuring our fleet is large enough, modern enough and therefore fit enough for our protection.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      And it is interesting that USA marines extended (their version of) Harrier until 2028 whilst awaiting sufficient F35Bs. It has been reported as not just in service but also active in Yemen (al qaeda targets). Makes one wonder how things would have been different if UK has maintained a Harrier carrier.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Just 67 fighting ships and 33,280 Regular, 3,040 Maritime Reserve, 7,960 Royal Fleet Reserve staff. Rather a lot people for just 67 fighting ships. How do so many pass their time I wonder?

    Polishing their musical instruments, shoes and their uniform buttons cannot take all that long can it?

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      We provide more troops for ISIS than we do our own armed forces.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      The betting on next Chancellor makes Javid favourite. He is not the right person at all JR or Mogg would be far preferable. JR not even getting any odds it seems.

      When Sajid Javid put his rivals on the spot over a Tory party ‘Islamophobia” enquiry it was a very foolish thing to do. It would be a huge mistake. Boris has quite enough to deal with why create more problems?

      Dominique Grieve on yet again about choosing between the party and the country. His stance (I will never facilitate a no deal Brexit) is hugely damaging to the negotiation, the country and will bury and party as well. Time to grow up and stop being a petulant child and sore loser. You make a no deal more likely with your actions. You are not against no deal you are clearly against leaving at all and against most of the voters.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Sea Warrior had his first shore appointment at the age of 36! Prior to that, his only shore time had been on training courses. The ‘Regular’ total above includes about 8000 marines. Care to join up? If so, you can expect a fair amount of sea-time. I loved it.

    • Daniel James
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Of those ship numbers, only 19 are actually front line warships, ie. frigates and destroyers.
      Of the personnel numbers, once you remove the Royal Marines (7500ish), those who don’t serve at sea and long term sick (5000ish), you are left with a lot less.

  12. Pete S
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Although a British flagged ship has been hijacked, it is owned by Sweden. What assets is Sweden using to get it back. The point I am making is that many countries benefit from the UK’s expenditure on defence, but they have a free ride.

    • cosmic
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      About the only British thing about it is its registration. Crew, owners, and cargo are all not British. It’s not entirely clear why we are supposed to get worked up over it.

  13. APL
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    “In 1804 there were 572 fighting ships in the Royal Navy.”

    Of course, the reach of a Royal Navy ship in 1804 was quite limited.

    Today, a Royal Navy vessel might have missiles that have range of a thousand miles.

    Even in 1916, British warships had main armaments with a range of twenty or thirty miles, although somebody did have cause to remark, ‘there is something wrong with our bloody ships today’.

    Maybe we don’t need 572 ships today, but we probably don’t need quite so many Whitehall Admirals either.

  14. Fred H
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    We now need to secure the Channel and protect our fishing rights more than we have in recent decades. The regular Russian threat to ignore national areas of the seas must be monitored and chased off. Ship building must be re-planned to commence in England, with the risk of losing the capability in Scotland due to the growing possibility of their independence in the years to come.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      What is this Russian threat?I hate to disappoint you but the UK is an irrelevence to Russia and it’s ambitions.

      Remember the St Petersburg G8 sumit seven or eight years ago?Over an early disagreement re Syria,a Russian representative dismissed the UK as “a small island off the coast of Europe that no-one listens too any more.”It must have hit a raw nerve because,instead of shrugging it off,David Cameron held an impromtu press conference the following morning,saying we weren’t an irrelevance because we’ve given the world the Beatles,Spice Girls,etc.

  15. formula57
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    It might be a service to point out that the wars to which you refer were all against states that are now our E.U. enemies. The Evil Empire was not doing a very good job of “keeping the peace in Europe” (as Remoaners like to tell us) in those days!

  16. Alex
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    It would be a period of actual peace if western governments didn’t keep starting and supporting wars.

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      It’s desperation on the part of the West,particularly USA and UK,as they fearfully watch the rise of the East;the EU seems to be coming to terms with it-they do,after all share the same bi-continent as the rising powers.

  17. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    During the 60s I served in the Royal Navy latterly in Nuclear Subs. We had over 300 ships and submarines. We had armed forces which could do the task in hand.
    It is ironic that the majority of the cuts have been down to the Tories probably following EU policy.
    You should hang your heads in shame.

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      You could perhaps enlighten us whilst we are on the subject which other EU countries has Naval support vessels built abroad. Certainly not the French, German or Italians.

  18. Lifelogic
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Boris in the telegraph today:- if man could find a way to get to the moon and back 50 years ago, “we certainly have the technology” to solve the Northern Irish border problem – the one thing standing in the way of a Brexit deal.

    No, no, no it is not the “one thing” standing in the way. The W/A is totally unacceptable and very many ways – even without the back stop!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Excellent piece in the Telegraph too by Matt Ridley today:- It’s time for a bonfire of the regulatory quangos that are destroying our democracy.

      It certainly is. As is the BBC with its absurd propaganda agenda.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Something you will appreciate from the Business New Europe twitter feed over the weekend,LL:-

        “This week’s wind drought in Germany;around 60gw of capacity is producing less than 5 gw.”

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Indeed and that is just % of electricity output not the far larger total energy usage. They hardly make enough energy to cover the energy used in their manufacture, installation, maintenance, the cable links needed and all the gas back up needed to cover the winds intermittency. They mainly farm tax payer subsidies not wind.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Good new anyway the dreaful & bitter remoaner Sir Alan Duncan has quit as a minister at the Foreign Office. Boris is having quite a good effect – even before he actually takes office.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        St John’s Oxford – politics and economics yet again.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        Hurrah…..hope he’s organising a leaving party for a couple of dozen like minded souls.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

        The sight of Duncan sucking up to Mike Pompeo at the UN;to be the first to follow the USA and recognise Guaido as President of Venezuela was disgusting.And now,we have egg on our face as a result ….again.

    • Nigl
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Yes. We will be sold out.

  19. Andy
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    The clue is the 1804 bit.

    It’s now 2019.

    Remember the ‘Great’ colonial past you seek was built on the foundations of oppression, slavery and pillaging abroad.

    And on inequality, destitution and suffering for the masses at home.

    But at least we had a lot of ships. I guess that matters more to some than all the people who died in the process.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      And by the 1807 abolition of slavery act that navy was deployed stopping Atlantic slave ships.

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Anonymous

        Not abolition of slavery but the slave trade. Slavery went on in the colonies for many more years.

        • Richard1
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

          slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1833. The post above is rubbish.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

          What’s slavery in the empire to do with the Navy ?

    • Gareth Warren
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Britain was great in 1804 because of democracy and trade, everyone else was also quite warlike at the time and employed slavery – but did not achieve our success.

      We then went on to invent the industrial revolution which in turn allowed Britain to abolish slavery and gave the rest of the world unprecidented prosperity.

      I am very proud and grateful to inherit the world Britain of the 1800’s created, they gifted us so much prosperity that even the pooprest in the UK live better than medieval kings.

      • margaret howard
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Gareth Warren

        You really ought to invest in some proper history books not those recommended by the likes of the Telegraph and Daily Mail.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      Nonsense it was largely built on trade. Certainly it was oppressive & discriminatory by today’s standards – although less so than other European empires and than the indigenous regimes which proceeded it.

      Study a bit of (proper) history

    • Richard1
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      It was the British empire which abolished slavery & enforced its cessation globally. You really do need to inform yourself a little better!

      • Andy
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

        Not in 1804 it didn’t. Would you like another go?

        • Richard1
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

          Abolished in Britain in 1807 and thought the British empire in 1833. Your post is rubbish

        • sm
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          No, in 1804 Britain was fully employed attempting to stop Napoleon’s ambitions across Europe. You are obviously unaware of the fact that Dutch, German, Prussian and Russian governments not only asked for Britain’s military support but were also substantially funded in their own efforts by Britain.

    • Pud
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      Do you ever worry that the Three Billy Goats Gruff are passing unimpeeded over your bridge whilst you take time off to post here?

    • Cheshire Girl
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 5:05 am | Permalink

      Andy:

      Rubbish!

      It is generally acknowledged, that we left a lot of places better than we found them. The fact that they declined after we left, is nothing to do with us.

      • sm
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        According to Sth African historians, a major cause (eventually) of the Boer War was that the British, when ruling the Cape Colony, wanted to give black people the vote and the right to own property – it was the established Dutch and French communities that were horrified by such notions and therefore began to retreat north and plant the seeds of apartheid.

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          sm

          Oh, is that why 50 000 Boer women, children and their servants were murdered in British concentration camps there?

          Where DO you get your history from?

  20. Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I would like to ask how many admirals there were in the time of Pam and how many there are now.
    I would also like to ask how big the Admiralty was in the time of Pam and how big it is now.

  21. J Bush
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    And it is worth noting the depletion of our armed services across the board, is a direct result of politicians.

    The first duty of government is public safety and defence of the realm. We have had 5 PM’s in a row who not only failed this duty, but have done the opposite. Let us hope the next PM puts policies in place to ensure this duty is upheld.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      J.Bush….. but you don’t mention the internecine conflicts that went on for decades amongst the Joint Service reviews.
      ‘You can have the ridiculous £4bn carrier if we have the 138 F35s (£6bn) to land on it. ‘They are not designed to land on the carrier’ – What! – no problem, we’ll sort it later, maybe the French will let us land on theirs’. The US points out problems with software and other bugs. Who would have thought it?

      A couple of years later when the pen pushers added up the numbers….’Hey, Defence has over spent by £20bn’ Whoops….Tell you what, unload all the service staff.
      And so it goes on….

      • J Bush
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Oh, I agree with you.

        In the not too distant past, the DPA were proficient and professional. Now it seems to be stuffed with illiterate and innumerate bean-counters who spend their days ticking boxes.

  22. Mark B
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Good morning – again

    Back in the day Great Britain had trade routes, an Empire and agressivly hostile neighbours. We needed all those ships. The technology of the modern wooden warship moved very slowly. Only until the industrial revolution did naval design explode.

    The cost of a modern warship, its weapons packages, defences, sensors and crew, including its maintenance, is very expensive. We do not need loads of the latest design of Jack of all trades. What we need is a range of vessels that can work a number of jobs at less cost. A small corvette or gunboat would have been as an effective deterrent as the latest destroyer.

    It is not just about raw numbers but capability and force projection.

  23. Christine
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    I think it is important that our armed forces are self-sufficient. We cannot be held hostage by the EU in future. This country needs the capacity and capability to be able to build and maintain our own military equipment. All future contracts must be awarded to UK companies. We also need more patrol boats to police our own shores against fishing incursions and illegal immigrants crossing from France.

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      EP again:
      ”The safety of this island nation reposes upon two pillars. The first is the impregnability of its homeland to invasion by air or sea. The second is its ability and its will to create over time the military forces by which the last conclusive battle will be decided. Without our own industrial base of military armament production neither of those pillars will stand. No doubt, with the oceans kept open, we can look to buy or borrow from the other continents; but to depend on the continent of Europe for our arms is suicide.” (1989)

  24. DaveM
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    During this time when obvious events have focused eyes upon the RN, Mrs May has shown the kind of steel we expect and which she kept hidden during her premiership.

    Oh wait….no, as usual she has used a COBR deep underground to hide her fear, incompetence and uselessness. Even one of the pigeons who live on the roof of Downing Street would make a better leader. Good riddance.

  25. Chris S
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    The suggested total of 67 fighting ships is totally misleading. There are only 22 major surface ships in total and 10 submarines. In 2019 I believe that only 12 ships and submarines are on active duty.

    The backbone of any Navy is the Destroyer and Frigate fleet. That has been reduced to 19 from the 31 the Navy had as recently as 2005. The excuse used by the Treasury has always been that the newer ships like the Type 45 are much more capable.

    Recent events demonstrate the fallacy of that argument. Numbers really do matter because to provide the kind of protection needed in the Straights of Hormuz requires close protection and that means ships on the water.

    Furthermore, the Navy’s new ships have all been beset with problems. We know about the serious flooding in HMS Queen Elizabeth but let’s just look at the Type 45 :

    We have only six. At any one time two will entering or undergoing refit. That reduces the number to four. Currently HMS Daring is laid up as a “harbour training ship” in Portsmouth because the Navy has neither the budget or the crews to sail her. That reduces the active fleet to three.

    But it’s worse than that :
    Electricity generation provides the power for both the propulsion and electronics in the Type 45. Because the Civil service and the Treasury wanted to save money, the advice of the designers was ignored and inadequate generating systems were specified.
    As a result, the ships have proved unable to carry out full war-fighting duties and several have come to a grinding halt during exercises because their el3ectronic and propulsions systems have crashed.

    In 2018 the MOD agreed a solution : All six ships are to have their two main generators replaced . That involves cutting big holes in the sides of each vessel in order two install three more powerful diesel generators and at an estimated cost £280m, but probably much more.

    The first conversion will not be completed until at least 2021, fully 12 years after the first Type 45, HMS Daring was commissioned.

    It seems likely that a fleet of nineteen Frigates and Destroyers really means that no more than six at most will be available for operations at any time.

  26. Martyn G
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The reason we are in the position of being virtually incapable of defending our nation, either in the English Channel or elsewhere, is because cutting the defence budget has always been the easiest of all to do. No government is going to cut the budgets of the NHS and other UK-based mainstream projects, because that would cause immediate public outrage.
    I forget which Marxist or Communist leader once said many years ago ‘if you undermine a nation’s faith and trust in its armed forces, its police and the education system, then you can bring it down without the need for armed attack’.
    Are we not now in that position, with hundreds of hugely expensive and unaccountable quangos (e.g. one that purports to tell us how many hours sleep we need), with a left-leaning civil service and weak governments intent on ruining our nation and seeking to control our lives in ever-increasing fine detail?

    • Andy
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      No. We are in a world where, thanks to the EU and other international organisations set up after WW2 we do not need to waste vast sums on the military anymore.

      Most of us have realised that helping people is better than killing them. Both at home and abroad.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Andy …Like Afghanistan, Syria, Crimea, Chechen, Somalia , internal wars like Turkey, Hong Kong?

        We’d like to help, but ?

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 23, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

          Fred H

          What had any of them got to do with us?
          I can’t remember seeing hordes of Syrian, Afghani etc soldiers marching down our high streets or bombarding Dover. In fact we invaded Afghanistan 3 times during the 19th century (and got a bloody nose every time). And I expect the only Turks any of us will ever encounter here will be on a building site.

          We were furious when America interfered and supported the Irish during the troubles and gave them millions to buy weapons. Any attacks on us today are mainly to do with retaliation against us interfering in their affairs in the first place.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 24, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

            YOU miss my point. Those places have suffered military conflict without us being involved, and Andy argues no need for arms as there is no conflict anywhere in the world. Peace in our time? I wish.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        How naive you are.
        The EU is expanding rapidly and wants more members and territory.
        Its policies in Crimea and in former USSR counties will prove distabililising to peace on its borders.

  27. rick hamilton
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    If the Guardian readers who infest academia and the media didn’t spend so much time and energy encouraging people to behave like crybabies, blubbing about every minor hurt and imagined slight, then we might raise a generation that had the sort of spine and determination that won WW2. There might then be a call for a stronger military presence that gives us back our long-lost reputation as a tough country that opponents dare not mess with. I just hope Boris is elected and can inspire that sort of attitude, which I believe is already dormant among a silent majority.

    • Andy
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      No amount of big ships will restore the reputation which Brexit has destroyed.

  28. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I believe the royal navy is far too small today, it is half the size of the navy that retook the Falklands and even then it was a struggle.

    One peice of logic we must accept is that systems fail and ships will be sunk. Here we rely on this not happening for our type 45 destroyers, each being required to protect a ocean. Originally the plan was for 12 such ships, this was reduced to 8 and then 6.

    We also lack a sufficient escort for our carriers, here a prolonged ship building campaign can help support jobs in the economy and safe guard our global trade.

    Today the problem is Iran, tomorrow it likely will be China, the only thing a bully respects is force and we just be able to enforce dire consequences if picked on.

  29. BOF
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    In other words, the RN could not even provide support for the new aircraft carrier.

    Pitiful, and successive Governments should be ashamed, but of course they will not be!

  30. Geoff not Hoon
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Incredible numbers Sir John. I bet even more incredible is the number of admirals, rear admirals and other so called top brass to do what one asks?

  31. bigneil
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    We could always add all the rubber dinghies that get here from Calais. Plenty of those.

  32. Bob Dixon
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    How many Admirals does the Navy have at present?

  33. Fed up with the bull
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Laughable John if it weren’t so serious. Serious for the servicemen and women we expect to fight our corner. It’s not just the navy that has been depleted. It’s all the services which have been allowed to run down and produce low esteem amongst our brave young people. Apparently the houses for the families of these service men is dire in a lot of cases. Surely they deserve more. Our men were poorly equipped in the Falklands conflict and it doesn’t sound as though it has improved. Our next PM needs to look at our armed forces seriously. We send so much money abroad but isn’t it time some of this was spent at home? Instead we find Saint Theresa sending more.

  34. Polly
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I so hope all Conservative members have written ”neither of the above globalists thanks” on their ballots.

    Then the Globalist Party will collapse, and we can have Nigel.

  35. BR
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    The arrogance and complacency of the European countries in staggering. With threats from Russia, China and Middle Eastern countries in particular and even Argentina and the ‘unknown’ of the future, we need to be defending ourselves better than this.

    Trump is right that not even meeting the minimum NATO commitment is untenable. The problem is, that like an insurance policy, if you don’t pay the premiums then you may find that the company doesn’t pay the benefits, come the time.

    Roderick Stewart is, as usual, talking complete tosh when he talks about “soft power”. That will do you no good when someone walks in and takes our country, along with its soft power.

    And if we’re going to be part of enforcing sanctions by seizing one country’s vessels near its homeland, then we’d better be able to project hard power across the globe. The nature of hard power these days is such that having technology much more advanced than the enemy is key to overwhelming superiority – it’s not just about building ships, it is about having the people to develop the technology to make them superior to your potential enemies.

    That means that it all starts with education, social mobility is all well and good but when rafts of ‘working class’ kids are brought up to look for a job in a warehouse if they can’t be a footballer or pop star… the talent pool is gimped by the social problems.

    We also have to start paying these people properly – many are earning less than dustmen and tube drivers and are seen as ‘nerds’. Hardly conducive to sowing the seeds of a modern economy with defence capabilities to match.

    Part of the problem is having autonomous government departments. How can we have education policy that is not properly linked to long-term defence policy, immigration policy, health policy etc? Individual ministers with their own brief and agenda just doesn’t work any more.

  36. Robert Valence
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    According to the Telegraph, there are 8 Type 26 Frigates being built for the Navy, but none will be ready soon. Additionally, I thought there were more Fishery-protection boats on order: we currently have 3 (with another 3 on the drawing-board??) Whereas Italy, which has less coastline than the UK – has 600!
    It seems as though Defence has been a dirty word to successive governments who rather throw our money at Overseas Aid, the EU, the NHS and Social Security – whether it’s been earned or not. Strange choices our electorate has made for its leaders.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

      Type 26 Frigates – -I seem to remember that the engines were found to produce insufficient electricity for the demands above the engine room. I expect all the crew had electric blankets, and incandescent light bulbs lit the ship? They could always turn off the radar? No? Maybe not,then.

  37. agricola
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    While I accept your figures, why do we keep reading that the total is only 19 fighting ships.

    It is a difficult time to plan a navy. There is the strategic big player threat of Russia and China. Second there is terrorism in which I put the current Iranian problem. Then the third threat is cyber warfare. I assume we are currently playing catchup in all three areas. To offer serious advice I would need to be privy to all the available intelligence, so I cannot offer anything specific. What I would say is that our potential enemies should be aware of our strength in all three areas such that they do not push their luck too far and get badly bitten. The principal worked well during the Cold War and can continue to do so. As an afterthought I would as, where are the EU in defence of their own sanctions against Iran. A question to be asked of those with remain inclinations.

    Reply 19 is I think carriers, destroyers, frigates but does not include fast patrol boats, ,minesweepers, subs etc

    • Posted July 22, 2019 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_Royal_Navy_ships I count 19 Major Surface Combatants, but that includes Daring Class HMS Duncan which I hope will be renamed soon!

    • Fred H
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      reply to reply…..minus those being repaired, reconfigured doesn’t leave many!

      • ChrisS
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        My estimate is that there are only six or, depending on the exact point they are at in the refit schedule, at most eight surface ships, available for active service at any time.

        The other vital question is, has manpower been reduced so that the Navy only has enough crews to put eight ships to sea ? I suspect it has.

        Scandalous.

  38. John Leak
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Most of those aircraft carriers were American escort carriers supplied under Lend-Lease. Our own contribution was heavily armoured but small ships that carried too few aircraft.

  39. Leslie Singleton
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Dear Sir John–The wretched EU will have had its influence over where we are today with its views as they no doubt see it about how excessively militaristic we are. Perhaps they would like all 28 to have the same number of the same type of ships so we could be homogeneous or some such bilge–or of course a EU Navy, perish the thought. Meanwhile Germany cosies up to and relies on Russia for gas so spends very little on defence. And I for one will not readily forget how Belgium would not sell, repeat sell, us ammunition we needed at the time of Falklands. That alone should have caused us to resign on the spot. Trade is of course important but there is much that is even more important.

    • Robert Valence
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Leslie – Belgium refused to supply us, the Brits, with tank shells – which were part of their NATO contract. That was at the time of the First Iraq War – to remove Saddam from Kuwait as part of the International Coalition led by the US.
      Fortunately, we had other suppliers

    • Mitchel
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Germany and Russia are cosying up in all sorts of areas,including railways.Germany understands the power bestowed by being part of Eurasian integration of which Russia is the centre and great driver-assisted by China.Russia is spending billions on electrification,digitisation and expansion of it’s already huge rail network(Siemens is a significant beneficiary)-before too long you will have an integrated freight and passenger network from the Pacific coast to the German heartland and from the Arctic southwards through the Caucasus(connecting with Central Asia) to the Iranian coast connecting with India’s attempt at a mini-Silk road.I see the former Austrian Chancellor(who had previously been CEO of Austrian Railways) is joining the board of Russian Railways as Austrian Railways integrates with the Trans-Siberian.

      The maritime trade routes are diminishing in importance compared with land-based alternatives,particularly for Europe which may be why the EU is not much interested in the current spat in the Persian Gulf.

      Add in the impact of new hypersonic missile systems and seapower is of limited potency.

  40. BillM
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron and his crippling Strategic Defence Review have much to answer for.

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Yep – a ‘Conservative’ PM who slashed the armed forces by a quarter while it was fighting a war in Afghanistan. Neither Defence nor Police expenditures were responsible for the mess that Gordon Brown made of our finances. The star policy of the Hunt campaign was an increase in Defence expenditure. If Bo Jo follows suit he needs to:
      a. Improve recruitment, by upping pay.
      b. Ensure that our existing forces have the logistic support they need to be at high readiness.
      c. Restore some of the cuts to force structures.
      d. Tackle cost growth in some key equipments. Why, for example, does the USN envisage getting its next frigate for $850m, while a T26 will cost us over a billion pounds?

      • Stephen O
        Posted July 24, 2019 at 5:05 am | Permalink

        I think the answer to your quest of why the USN will pay $850m and while the T26 costs a billion pounds has two parts: first the USN will build a lot more than 8 and economies of scale will bring the cost down. A 9th T26 would probably cost a lot less than the average for the first 8, probably a lot closer to the USN ship.

        Second the T26 is a designed to be the very best ASW frigate in the world. This makes it a bit more expensive, though it is also the reason Canada and Australia are buying them which will help reduce costs for the UK.

  41. Geoffrey Berg
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    In 1804 there weren’t any aircraft or long range missiles. A surface fleet can’t survive air attack or even missiles from another country (the best it can do is protect against freelance pirates). So a surface fleet won’t really solve the Iran problem.
    Nor will diplomacy. The Iranians know the secret of diplomacy- you just say No and nothing happens (we can do that to the E.U. – Poland and Hungary are already doing that within the E.U. with any supposedly common arrangements they don’t like!).
    We should bomb the Iranians out of the sea (along with their embryonic nuclear facilities, as the Israelis did with Iraq about thirty years ago) and destroy their ports. Then rogue states will start to take Western countries seriously and fear (unlike Iran now) not to keep to agreements or to commit outrages against Western countries. Perhaps their piracy wouldn’t have happened if President Trump had actually gone ahead with bombing them a few weeks ago!

  42. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    If we had a Navy worthy of the name there would not be a such a shortage of recruits. And I dare say the endless talk of diversity and inclusivity puts off the very people we need. I hope Boris demands the Navy behaves like a fighting force and drops its ambition to be a force for social change.

  43. Sea Warrior
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    In 1939, up to the end of August, the Royal Navy placed orders for 56 Flower class corvettes. These were ships of limited utility for peacetime operations. They were ordered because the Admiralty, the Treasury and the government cared about the defence of our maritime trade and they could see a crisis coming. When this one is over the MoD needs to go to the PM and ask for the money to build up light forces for ‘defence of trade’ in the Gulf.
    P.S. And after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany, it ordered another hundred or so Flowers.

  44. acorn
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Worth having a read of the Irish Republic’s Brexit contingency action plan. https://merrionstreet.ie/MerrionStreet/en/News-Room/News/Brexit_Contingency_Plan_July_2019.pdf

    I am assuming that Boris will tick the “reciprocate” box on all 19 EU Brexit Contingency Actions; this not being a HoC competence. Again assuming the ERG doesn’t start screaming Brino Brino Brino!

  45. TomTomTom
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I know nothing about international shipping, hoping some of the esteemed brains on here can help me understand it.

    This ship that has been seized by the Iranians belongs to a Swedish company and is crewed by a very international selection of people, none of whom are UK nationals.

    Was it delivering crude to the UK market? Or taking UK produced crude to a foreign market?

    What does it mean to have a countries flag on your ship? Does the company pay the UK for the privilege? If so, how much? And does it cover the cost of having warships escorting it?

    Does Stena Bulk pay tax in the UK? If not, why should the navy protect it? Surely the Swedes should do so instead?

    • agricola
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 4:55 am | Permalink

      Shipping in international waters merits protection from any piratical rogue state. While Iran has historic cause to be sceptical of UK behaviour in the Middle East they are undoubtedly a rogue terrorist supporting state and have been for many years. Navigation at sea is covered by international agreement. Flags of convenience, ownership and crewing have become multinational. No longer do we have a British merchant fleet on both cost and tax grounds. Nevertheless freedom of operation is vital to the interests of almost all nations. Merchant ships are the Ford Transits of international trade. Interference in their freedom to operate within a legal framework is contrary to international convention. They therefore merit the protection by the navies of all democratic powers. By supplying oil to Syria the EU decided that it was a contravention of their sanction policy. The EU used the Royal Navy at Gibraltar to arrest the Iranian sanction busting tanker. It is now time for the EU to step up and provide the necessary naval support for the freedom to navigate the Straits of Hormuz by any legitimate merchant ship. A rogue state like Iran needs to be contained until such time as she realises her behaviour is unacceptable whatever her historic distrust of the UK or USA. Iran brings this problem and it’s solution upon herself.

  46. Rhoddas
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir John,

    Re: Alan Duncan’s Ministerial resignation…. Build a reservoir – my tears brimmeth over!!

    Expecting the Opposition to try a No Confidence vote on Thurs, possible GE in 6 weeks, heyho it’s all grist to the mill when it comes to draining the swamp – it’s about to begin in earnest, not just the remoaning cabinet majority!!

  47. Iain Gill
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Thousands of navy officer’s in desk jobs though

  48. Gareth Warren
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    One thing I would like to make a point of is that we always want to have overwhelming force when possible, anythging less invites the enemy to “have a go”.

    A 12.7mm heavy machine gun is a powerful weapon within a mile or so capable of passing right through most ships.

    So when I hear people suggesting the minesweepers should be used for Iranian protection against speedboats armed with machine guns. These ships lack even a metal hull, it would be a dangerous fight if 3-4 Iranian boats took one on.

    Here I would suggest we could use lightly armoured small boats that were safe from ramming and speedboats and could be useful in an anti-piracy and fishery protection vessels. An armoured hull would also be a benefit in artic waters.

    Reply The threat to tankers in these waters is also mines attached to hulls

    • Gareth Warren
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      True, mine disposal is a problem, but those placing them are doing so from a speedboat armed with a heavy machine gun according to US footage.

      There has been one confrontation where HMS Montrose was present threatening to open fire with 30mm cannon, the speedboats wisely withdrew.

      While our minesweepers have a similar armanent they have glass reinforced plastic hulls, against several speedboats there is more of a chance one would “have a go” if allowed close enough. Likely with suicidal results, but I’d fear there is a small chance of success.

  49. miami.mode
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Sky is saying that Jeremy Hunt is trying to raise a UK-led European maritime force to provide protection in the Gulf. Does he not like Americans, because the US generally does not allow their military to be foreign-led. Good luck with that.

    I’m sure we can rely on the Germans, French, Spanish, if we can get them away from harassing Gibraltar, and with perhaps some assistance from Switzerland and Hungary with pedalos!

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      They’ve got more sense than to fight our post colonial wars.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 23, 2019 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        MH..ah….like when Germany annexed Austria, Czechoslavakia in 1938 you mean?

  50. Fran
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Once again our Foreign Secretary has it wrong about the taking of Grace 1 in the Gibraltar straits. In the HoC today in answer to questions from the Labour side he still maintains that Grace 1 was passing through Gibraltar waters but this cannot be so. Gibraltar has a territorial limit of only three nautical miles, but inbound vessels through the IMO seperation scheme pass through the straits nearer to the Moroccan coast, and so this has the Grace 1 passing nearest point about six miles from Gibraltar.

  51. Michael McGrath
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Meanwhile, we are told that HS2 will be over budget by possibly 30 billion, which takes the cost to ?86 billion.

    You could build a lot of ships with that

    • Fred H
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

      does not include a forecast £10bn for rolling stock.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      Crossrail is doing 60 miles slow for about 20 billion. HS2 is good value (as long as other sensible rebalancing policies are followed…which admittedly…), though I do not understand Old Oak Common to Euston in Phase 1.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 24, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

        a curious opinion. So Crossrail moving daily millions about an ever increasing commuter nightmare, west to east, in the most profitable city in the UK, is not as good value as HS2 moving 10,000 business people back and forth Birmingham to London saving 15 minutes? Final cost probably HS2 4 times Crossrail.

  52. Kevin
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I thought making the HM government (including its royal boats) as small as possible would be viewed more positively in the ultra right wing websites like yours.

  53. Colin Rennie
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    As usual we British have to do the dirty work for the useless Europeans without any help from them and we take the blame and cost. They are all a load of spongers and the sooner we are out of their useless little club the better.

  54. Prigger
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    The Lib Dem Leadership Election was undemocratic by its own standards.
    28% didn’t vote for anyone.
    Put the 28% with the numbers who voted for her opponent then she has not won at all.
    She does not command respect from the majority of Lib Dem members.
    Also : How many young people voted for her as opposed to old people? ( Vince’s old decider)
    How many Lib Dems in Scotland voted for her, also Wales?
    How many men voted for her?
    How many ethnic minorities?
    By their own hideous standards they should campaign for a People’s Vote of LibDems to oust her! What do we want, not her!! When do we want her out ? Now!!!!!
    People didn’t know what they were voting for!!!! In the case of the Lib Dems that would be correct!

    • Prigger
      Posted July 22, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

      There will be bread-rationing after this LibDem coup d’état . Planes will not fly. no aspirins. A dire shortage of prophylactics and other milk products

    • agricola
      Posted July 23, 2019 at 5:07 am | Permalink

      Who cares. At best they are a bolt hole for disaffected labour MPs and some voters. A natural home for protest without responsibility. Come a GE they are a side show. Socialism under a yellow flag. The yellow of quaranteen I would suggest, go there at your peril.

  55. Size matters
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    “The size of the Royal Navy”
    Didn’t it used to be called HM Royal Navy but HM had to be taken off the signs for new ships to fit on their hulls?

  56. Stranger than all
    Posted July 22, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Shock of my life.
    Several Council Workers descended on me the other day. I expected general glumness, average politeness, leaving an additional job because of slipshod work and bad attitude.
    I got the exact reverse. Overwhelming politeness, good natures, lightening speed quickness, precision and fantastic senses of humour.
    I have never witnessed this before in workers anywhere and I have worked everywhere except in your home, work, and street, possibly.
    Something has changed suddenly. Everyone is in the most excellent spirits. Never seen it before, ever! At least with me. I, haven’t changed. New political atmosphere afoot?

  57. Stephen O
    Posted July 24, 2019 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    British defence capabilities have been run down due to the low priority Defence has received in government spending plans, with the MoD determining force levels based on the minimum appropriate based on increasingly over optimistic assumptions, to fit the budget it has been given.

    I believe the driver for this state of affairs is a general lack of interest in or understanding of Defence and geopolitics among MPS and Ministers with little recognition that the world has changed since the 1990s. Most MPs still think the west faces no significant security challenges and the armed forces primary purpose is for pseudo-policing operations which are typically best opted out of.

    In the 1990s the cold war had just ended and the only significant totalitarian state had just collapsed, leaving the few remaining bad states isolated. However the world has moved on. Now another totalitarian state is on the rise and set to become the world strongest economy. Russia has been revived as a force in the world and is intent on challenging western interests as a way to increase its own international status. Meanwhile Europe including the UK have run down their Defence forces. This means power is moving away from the west and states such as Iran are less isolated and encouraged to cause trouble.

    The US has considerable international interests, but a strong military to support them. Europe is far weaker militarily but has fewer international interests it needs to protect. The UK has the worst of both worlds, considerable international interests but a relatively weak military. This makes the UK the perfect target for countries like Iran and Russia, vulnerable yet weak.

    Meanwhile, the UK’s defence spending is too low to satisfy a USA which knows it needs to increase its focus on the Pacific and has become impatient with its commitment to defend a Europe which is unwilling to spend on its own defence. The UK’s slightly better defence record compared to the rest of Europe does not help much.

    The UK Government needs to wake up to its primary duty is to protect the national interests and it can not do this with the current levels of defence spending. The Royal Navy should be the priority for increased defence spending though the Army and Air Force are also far too weak and need investment. The UK military is far to weak for the current and near future international environment.

  58. Edwardm
    Posted July 27, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    The Cameron and May governments have been assiduous in their run-down of the Navy – scrapping many good vessels – such as the mini-carriers and selling HMS Ocean (to Brazil).

    Under such leaders, normal conservative priorities, values, standing up for the UK and free world, need for adequate armed forces and standing by them, have been traduced.

    Hence some sick state like Iran can run rings around us and the free world.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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