The Morning After

The election campaign has concluded and votes have been cast.

Whether it actually makes a great deal of difference one way or the other is debatable but what does a Conservative victory mean for defence?

A starting point for the hopelessly naive is the Conservative Party Manifesto;

https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/manifesto2015/ConservativeManifesto2015.pdf

The usual collection of vague platitudes and meaningless soundbites but as we approach the National Security Strategy (NSS) review, Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) I think we all understand full well that three things will happen;

  1. Politicians will continue talking the talk about UK defence, focussing on Twitter friendly statements peppered with words like second largest defence budget in NATO, our brave service personnel and investing in high-tech capabilities, whilst desperately seeking ways of reducing the MoD’s actual spending i.e. the whole NSS, SDSR and CSR process will be an elaborate exercise is making the MoD even more ‘all fur coat and no knickers’.
  2. The Service Chiefs will continue their best impression of three ferrets in a sandbag, fighting for their respective corners and to ensure the pain is shared equally.
  3. The resultant package of cuts measures will focus on reducing actual capabilities whilst maintaining outward appearances so the Army will keep 82,000 personnel but overseas training, terms and conditions of service, logistics support, live fire exercises, housing and other welfare type spending will take a battering. The same will happen to the RAF and RN, hollowing out by the tried and tested method of salami slicing and cutting where the Telegraph won’t notice will be the ‘soup of the day’. Also expect some creative accounting when it comes to target percentages such as the much talked about 1% increase in real terms on equipment and a handful of headline-grabbing equipment purchases to sweeten the pill.

Anyone expecting anything radical is going to be as deflated as Ed’s Balls :)

Am I being far too cynical?

Let’s hear your predictions.

 

 

 

 

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Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner
May 8, 2015 9:10 am

I think you have hit the nail on the head.

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 9:21 am

There’s one glimmer of hope: Scottish Fiscal Autonomy.

£9.7b worth of financial support over local taxation that is otherwise contributed.

That money can either:

a) Be used to offset the £17b funds needed from welfare cuts and recovering tax receipts (e.g. reducing tax evasion) to hit the 2019 surplus target; or

b) Be used to save reductions in other department budgets if the “austerity and union” support is seen as a mandate to proceed as planned.

As mentioned in the open thread, I can see the Conservatives going for it. They saddle the SNP with the austerity vs borrowing problem with a transfer of power that the SNP will find very hard to refuse.

Beno
Beno
May 8, 2015 9:25 am

It was Dave C’s face on the big NATO summit, rogering our allies to meet the 2%. He will get crucified if, in the short to medium term ( the amount of time it takes the public and hence the newspapers to forget that summit ) if he does not continue to meet 2%.
There are a lot of ways to put together that 2% and we may see some book cooking. Bringing various thing into the budget to boost it.
However I’m thinking NOT. Right now thanks to Russian ( in reality ) and ISIS et al. ( for public consumption ) its going to be really difficult not to approve the big ticket items at the strategic defence review.
Cons will probably rush this through whilst they have a clear mandate as Vanguard replacement is a sticky point for some people.
I’m not prediction a massive rise with 19 T26 and all your fantasy fleets come home to roost, OR a massive cut. I think like their economic policy they will stick with “what’s working”. That’s what the country has voted on apparently so that’s what they’ve got to do.
Beno

Beno
Beno
May 8, 2015 9:26 am

@The Other Chris

Ooooo good point there. I had missed that one !

Beno

dave haine
dave haine
May 8, 2015 9:34 am

I’m with beno…

More of the same, a bit of tweaking, a load of platitudes.

By the way has anyone seen the ’38 Degree’s campaign- it was basically a social media based campaign, that made it easy for people to make their feelings about the NHS known to all the candidates, using email.

…Strikes me, that we need something similar for defence, instead of all us bitching to each other…

The west have spoken! And clearly blamed the Lib-Dems….

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 8, 2015 9:37 am

I think the SNP have now got the mandate and will ask for/demand the deterrent to be removed from their soil, regardless of the house of commons vote for renewal.

Phil
May 8, 2015 9:41 am

but overseas training, terms and conditions of service, logistics support, live fire exercises, housing and other welfare type spending will take a battering.

Which is where the difference between UK spending and French and Italian spending lies, and which plenty of people here would rather see gone in order to have more headline kit numbers.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
May 8, 2015 10:16 am

#2.0%GDP

Paul R
Paul R
May 8, 2015 10:30 am

The country will regret this decision. As a disabled person I’m not looking forward to the next 5 years.

Chris
Chris
May 8, 2015 10:39 am

Bit of a shame Nigel Farage didn’t get the votes, I was looking forward to him making Westminster career politicians squirm in their seats as he does at the EU. I would have expected him to champion defence matters, certainly more than most of the NHS luvvies. Apart from that, and the skewed system we have (for example where SNP poll 38% the number of votes that UKIP gained but get 56 MPs to UKIP’s one) the outcome is not as difficult as it could have been. Had the result been as per opinion polls, by now we would have been in the middle of a huge Westminster bun-fight with Tories engaging DUP and UKIP and courting LibDems on one side, with Labour desperately trying to backtrack without losing face on the ‘no deal with SNP’ pledge and equally courting LibDems on the other. Lots of argument over which had legitimacy to rule, loads of ‘no confidence’ motions lined up to swing power across the political divide.

As for defence, had we been in the deal-maker bun-fight then you can bet defence would have been kicked further down the priority list as agreements on education health welfare and even foreign aid were much more likely to have cemented deals. We have now no more horse-trading so whatever the plans are, they are unlikely to be trashed in the short term. So we know roughly how bad things are going to be.

As for the SNP mandate to eject Trident, perhaps worth noting their share of the UK vote was less than 5%, with more than 87% of the vote going to parties who pledged to keep the Deterrent.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 8, 2015 10:50 am

You are in a minority lamenting Farages loss. You may think he would champion defence but i can tell you his odious policies are extremely unpopular within the forces.
Another way of describing the SNP stats is that they won 95% of the seats they contested. I am no fan of FPTP but that is the way it works. You get no seats for failing in multiple constituencies as the Greens and UKIP did.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 8, 2015 10:53 am


‘UK vote was less than 5%, with more than 87% of the vote going to parties who pledged to keep the Deterrent.’

That’s irrelevant, they have 56 of 59 seats in Scotland and they have always been against the deterrent being on Scottish soil. It does not matter what someone in Essex, London or Cardiff thinks the only people who can force them to keep it in Scotland if it comes down to them wanting to be awkward about it, is the Scottish electorate.

monkey
monkey
May 8, 2015 11:12 am


Daniel M was bemoaning the Italian lean towards personnel on the French budget thread and it became apparent from other posters that the French have a similar ( all be it less skewed) slant on spending. The service conditions for personnel, housing , schooling , health etc should be a high priority if recruitment and retention are to be enhanced. Its not as if the MoD is short of existing properties or land for new builds for that matter to maximise this asset . Many service personnel cost a huge amount to train but disappear after half a decade to pastures new by enhancing the above surely they could be retained. An example say of an aircraft maintenance bod who looks to work for one of the companies around Heathrow by supplying them with a total package they could not hope to match in the private sector ( and demonstrate that to them! ) you could recruit or retain them . Many large companies make a point of this process to enhance this so the MoD should push this aspect and deliver on it.
In terms of live firing exercises I would of thought enough munitions reach their expiry date for them to be used or are they expensively scrapped by private sector specialist companies?
I can see headline grabbing equipment purchases of ridiculous figures for little kit ( not FRES ) being the Fighting FerretS (FFS from now on ) priority over people to properly crew them. The FFS seem to be very much new and shiny orientated, dropping sound bites on the best, world leading, class beating but when you analyses it by the time they enter service in decent numbers they just aren’t.
A well trained and skilled marksman will take your head off with a century old Lee Enfield .303 @ 600yds while some poorly trained * will miss with his 50cal and computer sights at the same.

Chris
Chris
May 8, 2015 11:40 am

DN – I appreciate the mood of the politics. But consider if the CASD base & depot had been in Falmouth and the local people there wanted it removed, as part of the UK they would not get the veto – true? It would be a decision made by the UK parliament based on the needs of the UK. When last I looked Scotland was part of the UK, equally remote as Cornwall and with a similarly strong sense of identity, but it is endowed special status. I’m not decrying the SNP for getting as much for their part of the UK as they can, but I do find the disparity between Westminster responses to the Scots’ desires and to those of other parts of the UK difficult to reconcile. Much along the same lines of argument that Nick was using yesterday on the subject of special leniency for Muslim criminals because of Political Correctness ideals – everyone in the nation should obey the same laws, each should be judged by the same criteria as any other, and each should be treated equitably under common rules by the state. In my opinion.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 8, 2015 11:59 am

Scotland is part of the UK but it is also a country in it’s own right with it’s own parliament and in some cases laws. The idea that Scotland objecting to the deterrent on their soil as the equivalent to Falmouth council trying to veto it, is clutching at straws a bit.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 8, 2015 12:01 pm

It is not difficult, the UK was a union between countries of which Scotland was one. Cornwall never has been. I am afraid that and the natural resources North of the Border will always see it treated specially for as long as it chooses to stay :)

monkey
monkey
May 8, 2015 12:04 pm

I am with Chris on the aspects of all parts of the UK being treated equally. If a region needs some special help to develop or maintain its existing level of development , special enterprise zones or the Crosslink for instance but using such as the Barnett formula for an entire nation which its leading political party shouts is already a world leader in you name it is BS . Unfortunately crossparty promises were made in the Scottish independence referendum that will only enhance this disparity. Its all part of the SNP plan though to cause as much friction between Scotland and the rest of the Union ( wait for them to start up giving advice to the Welsh ) so that an early as possible iScotland2.0 vote is run with a strong anti- Scottish rhetoric being fuelled by the SNP south of the border. Lets hope SalmondSturgeon (SS) stay out of Northern Ireland and do not shit stir there as they have suffered enough from loud mouthed twats causing mayhem for their own narrow little centuries held bigotries with out the Scots rabble rousing .

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 8, 2015 12:08 pm

@ Monkey

A considered post there. You summed it up with the use of the word region.

Monty
May 8, 2015 12:17 pm

Apparently, the country has voted for more of the same. Notwithstanding several rash election promises made, the Conservative Government now has to fulfil its primary mission to cut the deficit. That means more austerity. Of course, DC and his gang have been extremely reluctant to say exactly where the axe will fall. Now we’ll find out. Whatever is done, there will be an outcry. With an election victory in their pocket, it is all smiles today, but all of the easy wins have been won. Now they have to get their hands dirty. Everyone suggests that benefits will be cut, and i’m sure that’s right, but will defence suffer? I tend to think it will not be unscathed. Yes, the equipment budget is intact and Trident seems set in stone, but if further cuts are to be made, it is hard to say where they will be made.

I can see the return from Germany being accelerated. I can see the Type 26 build being delayed. I can see a delayed decision on further F-35s too. But I don’t don’t see the fundamental size of the Armed Forces being cut or major equipment plans shelved. The Army Reserve plan could be abandoned in favour of retaining existing manpower levels within the Regular Army with no change before 2018. That would help.

The bottom line is that the world is a very different place than it was in 2010.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
May 8, 2015 12:25 pm

“Bit of a shame Nigel Farage didn’t get the votes, I was looking forward to him making Westminster career politicians squirm in their seats as he does at the EU”

ROFL! Farage doesn’t do anything at the EU! He never turns up – just takes the money and stays at home thinking up his next sound bite to appeal to the tattoo’d fuckwit faction . . .

Basically UKIP has less integrity than Sinn Fein who don’t sit as MPs on principle and don’t get their salary or pension (although they do claim allowances and expenses).

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
May 8, 2015 12:27 pm

Contingency planning, TD? Too right there should be some! Personally, I’d dump the scottish regiments that can’t recruit without going to the bonny wee toon of Fiji on the Brae – but then I’m just vindictive . . . :-)

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 12:52 pm

@TD

We don’t have enough underground bases IMHO and, as we’ll have lots of tunnelers coming off the crossrail project, yes!

http://meisterplanet.com/journal/wp-content/uploads/2006/04/underground-submarine-base.jpg

http://forum.keypublishing.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=15177&stc=1&d=1076319147

monkey
monkey
May 8, 2015 12:53 pm

@APATS
I think you and I think the Union should remain , excuse the presumption, intact and that the SNP by their very nature are divisive as far as the UK is concerned. We can’t stop them , that’s the democratic process , but how can we counter them and show that the Scottish peoples interest is best served by a stronger Union as part of the greater European Union not an individual element of 6m people in Brussels? If moving the CASD is required then so be it , a new base built over 10 years at a billion a year could be done. Bribing the Scots though is just going to cause further divisions as elements of the UK try for the same deal and the 60m remaining resent the special ‘status’ given to the others. Its a tricky path DC has to weave.

Chris
Chris
May 8, 2015 12:58 pm

TOC – ref your second image – are you advocating we equip RAF with MIG-21? Well… at least they’d be cheap which would keep the Treasury happy

DanielDarling
DanielDarling
May 8, 2015 1:00 pm

This comment by Beno: “There are a lot of ways to put together that 2% and we may see some book cooking.”

The only things I would change would be substituting “will” for “may”, and adding “very creative” between “some” and “book cooking”.

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 1:13 pm

I might try and Photoshop in a Lightning for the official proposal!

Not a Boffin
Not a Boffin
May 8, 2015 1:27 pm

TF for that. Least worst of possible outcomes.

Not quite sure why the move Trident planning is necessary now. Its a simple equation – the UK voted for a party wanting to renew the deterrent. Scotland is part of the UK (irrespective of Wee Jimmy Krankie’s proclivities). If they don’t want Trident, then clearly Faslane, the submarine related ranges (and their jobs) are similarly unwanted.

Bid invited for Coulport replacement (the really difficult bit), new acoustic ranges (non trivial but doable) and selection of an operating base. Closure and clean-up study for Faslane announced. Contracts to be announced in 2020.

Leave surface shipbuilding alone for now. …….you may vote when ready.

TAS
TAS
May 8, 2015 1:29 pm

Trident is going nowhere. Sturgeon can pontificate all she likes about nuclear disarmament, but is she really going to strip the Clyde of the significant employment benefits that HMNB Clyde brings? Remember, if the bombers leave the Gare Loch there is no need for any warships to be based there at all. I think Trident is pretty safe.

RUSI have published a report recently (yesterday I think). However, I can’t post the link, as our state of the art computer system has RUSI on the list of blocked websites. Can anyone else find it?

I love the political system we have. UKIP got 12% of the vote and one seat. The SNP got less than 5% of the vote, and have 56 seats. Something is seriously wrong with that – not that I want UKIP anywhere near Westminster, mind.

TAS
TAS
May 8, 2015 1:35 pm

My mind wandered – I should say that the RUSI piece was a series of considerations for SDSR 2015.

Rum in the Sun
Rum in the Sun
May 8, 2015 1:45 pm
Chris
Chris
May 8, 2015 1:47 pm

TAS – this might be what you saw: https://www.rusi.org/publications/newsbrief/ref:A554391E6CCBF9/ titled “Improving Defence Acquisition: The Debate Continues”, RUSI Newsbrief, 1 May 2015 by Professor Trevor Taylor. In the same issue is this: https://www.rusi.org/publications/newsbrief/ref:A55438D879538C/ titled “The 2015 UK Election: A False Sense of Security” by Calum Jeffray & Clare Ellis.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 8, 2015 1:48 pm

@TAS

FPTP is archaic and pretty unfair but as I said earlier the SNP won 95% of the seats they contested. You do not at the moment get awarded for simply fielding candidates and counting losing votes.

monkey
monkey
May 8, 2015 1:48 pm

I think the SS want Scotland removed from the first strike target list that HMNB Clyde brings them by hosting the CASD . The SSN aspect ‘ hopefully ‘ is not an issue but we do have already have alternatives to that , dredging allowed . I submit something that might please the FFS , the Ferrets , HMS Ferret in Lough Foyle as an alternative to HMNB Clyde. Direct access to the Atlantic , loyal population , well away from London, well that London not Londonderry, jobs for NI stopping the SS divisive tactics, what’s not to like :-)

Chris
Chris
May 8, 2015 1:51 pm

Nope – wrong – it was this: https://www.rusi.org/publications/other/ref:O5549511BC04CA/ “Briefing Paper: A Force for Order: Strategic Underpinnings of the Next NSS and SDSR”

TAS
TAS
May 8, 2015 1:56 pm

That’s it Chris, cheers. The last one.

APATS, well aware of the system thanks, simply commenting on the bizarre state of affairs.

Richard_L
Richard_L
May 8, 2015 2:12 pm

Parliamentary discussion about alternative sites for the deterrent can be read here:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmscotaf/676/67607.htm

If we do have to relocate it then it’s probably best to do a really thorough job of decommissioning and demolishing Faslane, just in case the SNP have a change of heart about nuclear weapons when they realise just how much they could lease the site for and it ends up like Olavsvern :)

@TAS

The Greens received nearly as many votes as the SNP – which party would you rather had 56 seats in Westminster!

TAS
TAS
May 8, 2015 2:25 pm

The Greens of course! Free the fluffy bunnies!!

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 3:28 pm
Reply to  Think Defence

Shiny!

Replies and Voting system too.

Edits: Check. 30m time limit.

Strong and italic formatiing?

[quote]Quotations.[/quote]

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 3:33 pm

Tweet embedding?

So ask a simple question. Has the risk of Trident needing to be moveddecreased, increased or remains the same. I think it has increased— Think Defence (@thinkdefence) May 8, 2015

monkey
monkey
May 8, 2015 3:40 pm

I truly think there is a need to disengage the SDSR from the National election cycle , anyone up for a petition ? I am sure me a the Fighting FerretS would be up for the first four names , if you add in the ranks just below them that’s at least another thousand votes :-)

Rocket Banana
May 8, 2015 3:51 pm

Wow! How cool is this?

I think the election outcome is rather as expected (with the exception of the majority Government). In other words we really need to sort out Scotland.

Simply put. They need to be given a massive amount of independence. Unfortunately we also need to look at moving the boats out of Faslane. This is due to the need to maintain the union both for ourselves and the Scottish.

So, regardless of weather or not people agree with my need to move them, if we “had” to move them, where would they go?

Strategically there are few other locations as sensible. Humber estuary? The wash (shallow)? Other than that we’re into the south coast of Wales and/or the Avon… or, rather sneakily, a new base at Mullaghboy?

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
May 8, 2015 4:09 pm

…a couple of observations on Trident…the best opportunity the Scottish People had to express a view that it should be removed from Faslane was at the Referendum, when they could have voted to leave the Union and guaranteed that outcome, not least because by the end of that campaign the question was absolutely front-and-centre as an immovable red line, more solid even than an independent Scottish Currency…and that vote was lost by ten points. Telling us that the SNP want rid of Trident; the 45% of Scots who supported the SNP proposition at that vote were happy to see it go; but the majority of Scots either did not take that view or did not think it more important than other matters, which led them to stay put. There is an important distinction to be made between the SNP, those who support them on any given vote, and the Scottish People as a whole…these three groups are not interchangeable, they are quite different…

This time around, a bit different…NOBODY was offering to work with the SNP, much less remove Trident at their behest, so although it clearly is central to the 100,000 people who have joined the SNP, only they can be definitively identified as Scots who want to remove Trident…clearly, some of the other Scots who lent the SNP their vote this time will agree with them…but we do not know how many, and we certainly do not know if most of them voted SNP to be rid of Trident or for some other reason.

So at most we can say at this poll that 100,000 SNP Members want to get rid of Trident, and enough Scots lent them their vote this time to suggest that about half of the electorate might favour that outcome to a greater or lesser extent.

I’d say the proper verdict on the proposition that all Scotland want rid of Trident is Not Proven…

GNB

XBradTC
XBradTC
May 8, 2015 4:19 pm
Reply to  Think Defence

There’s probably enough room at King’s Bay, GA to fit a few more boats.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 8, 2015 4:25 pm

@GNB

But you know yourself that it does not work like that, not every one who votes for a political party agrees 100% with their manifesto and vote because maybe they agree with 70% or maybe just one issue such as the economy sways their vote. Regardless of the reasons for voting you are still voting to give a mandate to the party to follow it’s full manifesto.

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 4:27 pm

@Simon

Why do we need a coastline for a secret undersea submarine base? ;)

Rocket Banana
May 8, 2015 4:28 pm

Funny you should ask that. I had some immediately more interesting ideas as soon as I hit submit.

PS: I’m trying the reply to your particular comment to see how it comes out on the comments page.

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 4:30 pm
Reply to  Rocket Banana

I got a nice email saying you replied specifically to the comment.

Rocket Banana
May 8, 2015 4:33 pm

GNB,

“I’d say the proper verdict on the proposition that all Scotland want rid of Trident is Not Proven”

You can use statistics if you like (my favoured approach) but you also have to include a bit of psychology (something I can’t spell). Those parked next to a nuclear power station or weapons are not likely to be very happy with the notion.

Removing a major problem for the Scottish might make them realise being part of the UK is still good (enough) for them.

PS: I’m very excited about where I’m going to move our boats to when I become Dictator… sorry, Prime Minister ;-)

John
John
May 8, 2015 4:38 pm

Read page 79. Commitment to 1% above inflation rise in equipment budget over parliament, bring both QEs in service and no further cuts to frontline troops. Looks like steady as she goes to me.

Rocket Banana
May 8, 2015 4:43 pm

Interesting that it doesn’t “nest” on screen.

Thinking about it, it is probably better that it doesn’t.

Sorry if you get another email about it, but I thought I’d just test the point again ;-)

mr.fred
mr.fred
May 8, 2015 4:53 pm

There was an experiment with nesting comments a while back. I couldn’t get on with it because it made it very, very hard to follow a conversation. I don’t think I was the only one either.

Rocket Banana
May 8, 2015 5:03 pm

TD,

Your post says: “A starting point for the hopelessly naive is the Conservative Party Manifesto;”.

I thought I’d mention that I completely failed to post the responses I got from my MP candidates. I received only two responses: Conservative and Lib Dem. I asked about the 2% NATO figure and CASD in general. The following exclude the normal pleasantries that were present in each communication:

Lib Dem Response

The liberal democrat manifesto does not commit to 2% NATO recommendation – but proposes a review of defence spending and including in that review not just defence spending but also cyber defence and soft power interventions. We also propose to step down the nuclear ladder by procuring fewer replacement submarines to the current trident deterrent. I personally believe that as a country we should explore the option of not replacing the nuclear deterrent but use the funds to properly equip the conventional defence forces.

Conservative Response

I am sure you will appreciate that no country in the world can invest in, maintain and support their Armed Forces while having a broken economy, a soaring budget deficit and unfunded spending commitments. Having plugged the £38 billion black hole left behind in the defence budget by the previous administration, I am encouraged that this Government plans to spend £163 billion on new equipment over the coming decade. This will ensure our Armed Forces retain their formidable range of cutting-edge capabilities and ability to project power across the globe.

I believe firmly that in order to counter the world’s security threats it is important that we continue to invest in Defence. Current defence spending gives the UK the second largest defence budget in NATO and the largest in the European Union, and the Government is committed to spending 2 per cent of GDP on Defence with decisions on spending after the financial year 2015/16 to be determined in the next spending review.

The investment being made will provide new strike fighters, more surveillance aircraft, hunter killer submarines, two new aircraft carriers, the A400Ms transport aircraft and the most advanced armoured vehicles – all of which will keep Britain safe. I would like to assure you that the UK remains a truly global military power with more than 90,000 servicemen and women deployed last year on more than 300 commitments in 50 countries.

Challenge: I then challenged the “…the Government is committed to spending 2 per cent of GDP on Defence…” statement because of the vagueness. The response was:

It means exactly what I said, that the Government will spend 2% of GDP on defence until the end of the 2015/16 financial year when decisions will be determined based on the next spending review.

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 5:06 pm

Fallon to remain as Defence Secretary.

https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/status/596709700248465408

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 8, 2015 5:07 pm

Polling showed Trident did not make the top 7 issues in the referendum. So whilst the majority opposed it they did not see it as crucial enough to be a deciding influence on their vote. Likewise this election was about punishing Labour for campaigning quite so smugly with the Tories during the referendum (from the Yes voters) and a combo of that and their lurch to the right from their traditional base of voters.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
May 8, 2015 5:14 pm
Reply to  DavidNiven

I think we may be agreeing with one another…my point is that the SNP policy on Trident is to be rid of it, but the only safe assumption we can derive from that is that SNP Members want it gone…and SNP voters at any given election will go along with that in the aftermath of that vote…but that this is very different from asserting that “All of Scotland wants Trident gone, and therefore it must go”.

My concern about all Nationalists, is that they both define themselves against “The Other” (in this case, we English)…and that they claim the loyalty of all of “Their Own Folk”, even when individuals within that group don’t subscribe to their views, or offer that loyalty (hence all the crap about “Quislings” and such)

Has the potential to turn very nasty in my view…and important to keep in mind that even after this stunning victory that the SNP is a political party in Scotland with 100,000 members that just won 50% + of the vote…it is not the Scottish People as a whole (almost half the vote disagreed with them, some didn’t vote at all)…so disagreeing with the SNP is not the same as being an enemy of the Scots, or a traitor to Scotland…

GNB

Rocket Banana
May 8, 2015 5:27 pm

GNB,

“All of Scotland wants Trident gone, and therefore it must go”.

No. I agree. 37.5% want SNP and 37.8% want independance. The others can’t be bothered to vote or voted wrongly ;-)

What we can say is that it’s likely that 37.5% want SNP and independance and only 75-85% of Scots can be bothered to vote. Putting the chance of anti-Trident at about 50%.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 8, 2015 5:57 pm
Reply to  Rocket Banana

So cuts then in the 2016/17 budget and onwards. I don’t think a new MPA, T26 etc will be at risk either due to jobs and contracts or political embarrassment with a gapped MPA capability.

Training will take a big hit with probably only units earmarked for the reaction role receiving a decent enough training budget while the rest get the bare minimum to pass annual tests and role requirements.

Repulse
May 8, 2015 6:05 pm

I think 2% of GDP is more likely as Cameron will need to keep the right wing happy to keep his government together.

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 8, 2015 6:15 pm

Oh no! Change! It all looks different and stuff!

My guess is that the 2% will be held up as being met but with a degree of budget-shovelling behind the scenes. Not an easy time for defence. On the up-side, if the economy starts motoring apace, then defence would get some of the windfall (after NHS education welfare DfID and NHS of course).

Aubrey's Shadow
Aubrey's Shadow
May 8, 2015 6:22 pm

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had to plan for deterrent to move, and I still maintain this is sensible. @GNB – agree the case is ‘not proven’, but I think that it is too much of a big issue in Scotland, and we can’t take the risk of investing for Astute and Successor infrastructure up there any more, especially after this SNP mandate. The only sensible option is to move it south – now for Astute, and 2028 for successor.

Portsmouth needs to be maintained as a major warship manufacturing facility, plus other yards too, if we can. I think this vote has raised the vulnerability of RUK to dependence on ‘foreign warship manufacture’, and again, if we regard naval warship building as a crucial strategic asset, we have to maintain a capability.

No need for panic with any of this, but time to move from reacting and putting heads down holes, to actually making sensible decisions based on reality, and pay the price if it is critical enough.

Fallon also is ‘not proven’ but looks like he might be stubborn enough to stand up for defence. Probably wishful thinking though…

Dave Haine
Dave Haine
May 8, 2015 6:29 pm

I’m bored with all this election s**t- Can we have something on containers and/or bridges please?

…Oh and I’ve been away….so who the hell are ‘The Fighting Ferrets’?

monkey
monkey
May 8, 2015 6:40 pm

“Likewise this election was about punishing Labour for campaigning quite so smugly with the Tories during the referendum”
Did Labour have a choice APATS? Dammed if they did and dammed if they didn’t. It has played into the Conservatives hands in stripping so many Labour MP’s from the commons but has replaced them with a vehement more anti-Tory group than Michael Foot or Red Ken could of dreamed of. Will the SNP play nice and vote in the best interest of the British people , I doubt it but their will be enough Labour back benchers ( even front benchers) voting to ensure some form of reasonably functioning government can continue in these times of massive economic and politics strife without the children from the SNP fu*king it up for the other 60,000,000+ of us who don’t live in the beneficent land the Scots.

Stewart Hitchen
Stewart Hitchen
May 8, 2015 7:06 pm

If Mr Fallon could get some backbone and sand up for the Government’s first responsibility Defence! Maybe if he is stubborn enough with the treasury to get the fabled 2%. We could have a sensible S.S.D.R. not rushed as per treasury driven one in 2010.
Hopefully the embolden right wing on the government’s back benchers will keep some pressure on the government about the Armed Forces.

monkey
monkey
May 8, 2015 7:14 pm

Just to cheer everyone up Kuwait have deceided not to by Typhoon but are buying F18 Super Hornets instead.
The Iraqis are about to be booted out of their largest oil refinery complex by ISIS insurgents as they are at times unwilling to open fire incase the blow the place up which doesn’t deter the ISIS bods as they want martyrdom plus the Iraqi troops are running short of food and water , airdrop anyone?

Richard_L
Richard_L
May 8, 2015 7:19 pm

@ Simon

I wouldn’t consider Wales as a potential location for the deterrent if Faslane has to be abandoned. The Scottish nationalists have managed to make Trident a major feature of their campaign. The Welsh nationalists, on the other hand, are currently going nowhere fast, so why hand them one of the main weapons of the Scottish independence campaign?

The way I see it, there only three sensible choices for the relocation of the deterrent.

1. Bowness-on-Solway
2. Berwick-upon-Tweed
3. The People’s Democratic Republic of Brighton Pavilion

@ Think Defence

One minor quibble with the new comments system. I like it but… I’m writing this in an area the shape of a letter box that’s only 3.5 lines high. I used to be able to resize the comments writing area but I can’t now (Firefox & Vivaldi).

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 8, 2015 7:38 pm

The Tories are just as happy to cut defence when they need to as any other political party, defence will not be spared cuts.

Richard_L
Richard_L
May 8, 2015 7:47 pm

Any more info on the Kuwaiti Super Hornet purchase? Is it for standard E/F models or is their order the first contract for the new Advanced Super Hornet proposal that Boeing have been hawking around?

The Other Chris
May 8, 2015 7:55 pm
Reply to  Richard_L

28 x F/A-18E/F

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 8, 2015 8:41 pm
Reply to  monkey

THE only childish thing is the language employed in your posts.

Simon257
Simon257
May 8, 2015 9:02 pm

@ Richard_L
I wouldn’t right Trident in Wales off just yet. Carwyn James has said in the past he would welcome the Trident Fleet. Obviously though he would demand a high price. About 2 Billion for starters!

http://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/news/11754126.UPDATED___MOD_looking_at_Milford_Haven_for_Trident_nuclear_submarines_fleet_/

CheshireCat
CheshireCat
May 8, 2015 10:07 pm

Like the new look by the way . . . almost back to to the beers and lattes’ scoring system.
Does this mean we can forget about the ‘other place’?

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
May 9, 2015 12:42 am
Reply to  DavidNiven

A mandate ? They are under 5% of the total UK vote, very similar to the Greens. The outsize proportion of the votes in the Commons (8.5%) delivers precisely nothing. The referendum decided ‘for a generation’ whether it was their soil. But they wanted to keep the pound, the queen and the BBC
At least Sinn Fein had the integrity to not take up their seats ( but still do constituency work) when they campaign on a separatist platform.

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
May 9, 2015 12:51 am
Reply to  DavidNiven

Sorry but your reasoning is irrelevant, the referendum decided that. There is no such thing as ‘sovereign scottish soil’
At most they can claim to represent just over half the Scottish voters. With further devolved powers lets see if they can be truly scottish about saving money instead of borrowing it

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
May 9, 2015 1:01 am
Reply to  Rocket Banana

The Quebecers got tired of the independence thing eventually. They see it as a vehicle for politicians. That Scotland would have eventually the same ‘independence’ as say California in the US is neither here nor there once the dust settles and everyone gets used to it.

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
May 9, 2015 1:07 am
Reply to  XBradTC

Kings Bay ? You may as well move it to Barrow. At least its right next door to the manufacturer and saves a bit on building a lift dock.

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
May 9, 2015 1:14 am
Reply to  DavidNiven

An opposition party doesnt get to carry out its manifesto. And SNP lost the referendum question which would have given it some ‘power’ Third place on the podium doesnt get your anthem played to the spectators. But the tories could cut naval shipbuilding on the Clyde just to give them a taste of independence

The SNP once was for a ‘socialist republic’ too but like Snow White, they drifted.

dukeofurl
dukeofurl
May 9, 2015 1:18 am
Reply to  Richard_L

Why not Barrow ? A bit of dredging, plus its on site for the manufacturer. You have the Irish Sea and its shipping for the boats to hide in on going out on patrol.

Jed
Jed
May 9, 2015 1:31 am

Meanwhile some of the press is finally catching on to the fact we are all fur coat and no knickers given that we hVe only one serviceable Astute and one serviceable T class available and. Ore fires on SSN’ in the last four years than even the Russians could manage….. Doomed I tell ya, doomed……..

Donald of Tokyo
Donald of Tokyo
May 9, 2015 3:41 am

Good news that Conservatives won. Also the SNP “almost monopoly” in Scotland is impressive. If they “want” to remove Trident bases out of Faslane, I am interested in its possibility, or cost.

Thus, one simple question from stupid Japanese from the other side of the world.

Why not Plymouth? Its population is 26k, a half of that of Glasgow. French navy has it near Brest, which is near Plymouth. Population is 14k (Brest).

Barrow-in-Furness is also good candidate, looks like.

The two candidates look like “relatively cheap” alternative, (of course looking from out side, I am not familiar with politics in GB.)

Obsvr
Obsvr
May 9, 2015 6:39 am

Obviously, if the SNP want Trident out then all costs of moving should come from Scotland’s funding. Perhaps lower unemployment benefits would be a start.

Some may remember that a bunch of Glasgow thugs tried to start an PIRA ‘me too’ group in the early 1970s, it was short lived. They are not very bright in that neck of the woods.

Fluffy Thoughts
Fluffy Thoughts
May 9, 2015 8:22 am

TD:

Has there been a new software upgrade that has banned paragraphs (and other forms of white-space). Parsing some of these comments (see above) invoke a head-ache…! :(

Bumpkin
Bumpkin
May 9, 2015 8:25 am
Reply to  Dave Haine

Couldn.t We put the SSBNs on the Canals?

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 9, 2015 8:32 am

Jules, Fluffy – the link tags the site as secure, but that seems to be incorrect. Try this: http://www.defenseworld.net/news/12856/China_Eyes_Type_054A_Frigate_Sale_To_Russia

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 9, 2015 8:38 am

Spending And Review Top Tory Defense Priorities

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/2015/05/08/election-win-for-tories-sees-defense-focus-on-spending-cuts-and-review/26976845/

‘LONDON — Britain faces a defense and security review dominated by budget issues instead of strategy, according to analysts here just hours after the Conservative Party secured power for a second term in the May 7 general election.’

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 9, 2015 8:53 am

TD – comment box just after the latest comment makes sense to me, otherwise we might have several pages of scrolling to get to look at the comment we are responding to? Followed by just as much scrolling back to continue writing.

Yes still struggling with comment submission.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 9, 2015 9:10 am

@dukeofurl

Scotland does have some sovereignty over it’s land in the planning process where if issues raise matters of genuine national concern they can be forced through by ministers, which means ‘Scottish’ ministers.

It is hard work forcing through planning in a democracy just look at HS 2. What do you think would happen in England if an area of the country realised that 100’s of Kt of nuclear weapons would be 20 mile from their children’s schools?

We also have the referendum on Europe in 2017 to consider. If the majority in England and Wales etc decide to leave but not the majority in Scotland then it will probably trigger an other referendum on independence, all this can happen in less than a decade.

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 9, 2015 9:18 am

DN – as I commented a few days ago in response to (I think) Martin’s view that England wouldn’t like it – AWE is nestled fair & square in Tory heartland of Berkshire, with warhead design manufacture servicing and presumably disposal all happening just outside Reading. So possibly a bit blinkered to view the presence of weapons as a uniquely Scottish burden to bear?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 9, 2015 9:38 am
Reply to  Obsvr

Not very bright in that neck of the woods?

We’re you born an obnoxious prat or did the army teach you?

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 9, 2015 9:42 am
Reply to  Jed

Totally wrong on SSN availability

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 9, 2015 9:51 am

Chris – I don’t think it is purely a Scottish burden to bear, but Aldermaston has been in it’s present location for decades so will have a certain amount of it’s always been there from successive generations, although there are still organisations that campaign for it to be removed. People can be very awkward (a view which will depend on which side of the argument you belong) at times so moving the deterrent and is going to be a very expensive and complicated affair, and will not be as easy as quoting % of votes and then bulldozing an area in the country especially when the costs are made public for a weapon system that divides opinion already.

I think we need to start planning now and building up a nice contingency of ‘incentive funds’ for the area chosen (especially if it is in England).

Mark
Mark
May 9, 2015 10:02 am

“It is the view of the current Scottish Government that a referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. This means that only a majority vote for Yes in 2014 would give certainty that Scotland will be independent.”

Or is the snp turning into the EU and planning to vote every 5 mins until it gets the answer it wants. There economic polices didn’t add up the last time they add up even less now.

Obsvr
Obsvr
May 9, 2015 11:58 am

@ apats

I was born with a low tolerance level for buffoons, that’s why I’ve survived unharmed a few years on the two way range. The Glasgow wannabees were not terribly smart and easily dealt with (and jockplod was allowed to take the credit, which suited everybody). Two short planks is probably overestimating the average intelligence level in that neck of the woods, probably a consequence of the alcohol consumption rate, it’s what happens when generations of conception occurs to pi$$ed mothers.

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 9, 2015 12:51 pm

Cannot log in, no way to see posts taken to second page!

Pongoglo
Pongoglo
May 9, 2015 2:56 pm

Slightly depressed that this debate like that in the election itself has swung round to focusing on Trident yet again as if their were’nt any other defence concerns at all. Other nations without the ‘luxury’ of CASD seem to be able to have an educated and informed discussion about matters conventional so why on earth cant we ? I believe in Trident, CASD, and the four boat solution to boot, and accept that it is the Deterrent that ultimately underpins pretty much everything else we do, but I also believe that it is there for tomorrows threat, and not that which we face imminently today. Some who might be better placed to know Putins mind better than I might however disagree.

Brian Black
Brian Black
May 9, 2015 2:59 pm

When folks are discussing the SNP and Trident, remember that their policy is one of nuclear disarmament. It’s not simply an issue of wanting it located out of Scotland; they want rid of it altogether. They also prefer the money to be spent on social departments like health and education.

So relocating the Trident subs in England or Wales isn’t going to satisfy.

The suggestions, that Scotland is already a separate country, and that the SNP landslide means that their nuclear policies carry more weight, are wrong.

If Scotland had voted for independence, then they could do whatever they please; but Scotland is still part of the UK, and defence is not a devolved issue.

If the SNP had all 59 seats, they would still be a minority UK party with a minority nuclear weapons policy. That all their Westminster seats are concentrated in one area of the UK is irrelevant. Unless they can win a few hundred seats in England in 2020, or Labour reinvents itself as anti-nuclear, then relocating submarines or scrapping Trident are irrelevant issues.

Pongoglo
Pongoglo
May 9, 2015 3:06 pm

Is it just me or has something gone seriously wrong with this site? You cant login because theres no login box to be seen and you cant comment vbecause when you try to it says your email address is already registered so use the login box which doesnt exist!

DGOS
DGOS
May 9, 2015 3:08 pm
Reply to  dukeofurl

We have been here before.

At least it would get a decent road in the 590 is effectively only way in the railway although used for Sellafield is a bit marginal.

The channel in is close inshore and a bit tortuous not sure how you would prevent noise signature security.

However there is decent easily worked sandstone for deep nuclear storage, plenty of room for more housing and a reasonably sensible local attitude to defense.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
May 9, 2015 4:33 pm

This is my last comment about the detterent in Scotland.

There are two events that together can have an impact on the deterrent
Scottish MSP elections 2016 probable big win again for SNP after tories announce big welfare cuts etc possibility of UK leaving the EU being the trigger for an independence referendum being in the SNP manifesto.
EU referendum 2017.
If I was in the MOD would I plan for the worst? Definitely.

Sealgair
Sealgair
May 9, 2015 5:43 pm

On Scotland, the SNP and Trident:
The results of a social attitude survey carried out in January of this year for the Wings Over Scotland blog make interesting reading.
http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-same-and-different/#more-65583

The UK should continue to have nuclear weapons.

Scottish Public:
Agree 44%
Disagree 36%

rUK Public:
Agree 51%
Disagree 27%

(The remainder of respondents being don’t knows)

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
May 9, 2015 9:38 pm

…very different issue, but Parliament abolished the death penalty in 1965, and have maintained that position in defiance of public opinion for almost fifty years because they believed it to be right…a small majority finally started to agree with them in 2015 (52% now plays 48%).

Absolutely no obligation in our system for Parliament to do what they see as the wrong thing even if most of the public disagree with them…much less if the public are actually on their side…Trident stays as long as Parliament decides not, no ifs, no buts.

GNB

Nick
Nick
May 10, 2015 6:33 am

re SNP/Scots politics

One thing Cameron has already committed to do is fully implement the agreed additional devolution measures. Scotland will become more devolved. He will also implement “English votes for English laws” (essentially turning Westminster into an English parliament apart from Defence, Foreign affairs and the Economy. Defacto Westminster will morph into the English Parliament over time. This breaks the union. The major problem with this is that the Barnet formula links English (or E&W depending on the existing Welsh devolved measures) to spending in the rest of the UK.

Disallowing the SNP (plus other Scottish, N Ireland and Welsh MPs) from voting on “English” matters in this simple way is likely to drive an even bigger wedge between Scotland and the rest of the UK than devolution/Scottish parliament already have. It would also reinforce the SNP’s core message.

The big election PR claim that voting SNP will increase Scottish voice in the UK parliament obviously would only be true in Hung Parliament. As it is they have the worst possible outcome (Tories in power) given their election aims, but the best possible outcome for near term independence.

It also seems that the Tory attack line (minority Labour government under the SNP thumb) on the back of Sturgeon’s visibility may well have been a decisive factor in the election.

If Cameron is clever, he will federalize the UK to keep the Union in place. I doubt this will occur though. He might also use the additional devolution powers act to amend the Barnet formula to equalize UK government spending levels . This would play well with his supporters and is hard to argue against on the basis of “fairness”; he has nothing to lose in Scotland either.

If Osborne is clever, he would continue to manage the Economy and deficit as currently. Again, this seems unlikely. If he follows his initial pattern, then there will be deep cuts in the next 2 to 3 years followed by an easing in the run-up to the 2020 election. Its very likely that all the “easy” cuts have been found and implemented. These cuts will be painful and its very hard to see Defence not seeing a further cut given the promises on spending and taxation. The SNP will (of course) use this in their UK exit strategy.

The next 5 years are certainly going to be interesting. They may well break the Union for good. Will Cameron be able to get a deal (for what ?) from the EU ? A large chunk of his party is EU exit orientated. It will be hard for him to gain the support of his own party. It seems like the EU referendum is going to be a re-run of the Scottish devolution vote except the News papers will argue for exit, while business will not. The public are split fairly evenly right now. I doubt it the result will be clear cut. Since Cameron plans to retire as PM after the Euro-referendum (leaving 1 to 2 years for Boris – or whoever – to win the 2020 election) it doesn’t look like it will be his problem.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
May 10, 2015 7:50 am

Nick, pretty much what I, too, think.

Nuancing a little:

– with devolved taxation powers, declared budgetary consolidation and an independent Central Bank at most what you can say is half-running the economy from Westminster?

Osborne will change his “pattern” if he aspires to be in the running to be Cameron’s heir. Boris, yes. Theresa… wonder how she has survived all the fumbling (probably bcz no other heave weight has been willing to take on the poisoned chalice. Gore (he may be able to recover over the coming long-ish period from his man-management gaffes, and is undoubtedly very intelligent… but so is Grayling).

Referendum? OK, get the new EFTA and we can shrink the defence commitments to re-enforcing northern Norway (Switzerland does not need re-enforcing) and forget about the Lisbon Treaty. All the trade multiplyer effects would set in reverse, even more so because the UK would not be the easiest stepping stone into Europe anymore, for the global players. Thus reducing our ability to pay, for anything, not just defence. Splendid. My biggest criticism of Cameron has always been that he uses foreign policy as a card in domestic politics, with the tabloids obliging every time.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
May 10, 2015 7:59 am

@TD, liked Chris’s comment immediately after your list of questions. Then tried to open the balance for likes/ dislikes (OK, there were no others, but as a test) and that made me dislike what I had just liked. I.e. they are too close for touch screens (I am not even on the 7 inch for now!) – Easily rectified by moving the balance between + and -?
– BTW, will you be showing the call signs behind the votes?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
May 10, 2015 8:26 am
Reply to  monkey

An example would be the Danish x-party agreement, negotiated for 5 years. well, they don’t have a fixed Parliament, but easy the make the periods overlap by 50%
– Frenchie might want to enlighten us whether the periodic “laws” in this respect are done on a similar basis, or by the ruling coalition (thereby subject to being overturned by the next?)

Nick
Nick
May 10, 2015 8:38 am

ACC

The big myth is that Governments run the economy. They don’t. They set some of the key criteria (mostly taxation and government spending) and to some extent interest rates, but the big drivers (exchange rate, growth rate, interest rates, trade surplus/deficit, employment levels, salary levels) are really set globally these days. This was always true, but globalization has made us all more inter-connected.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
May 10, 2015 8:45 am
Reply to  Nick

Nick, quite right. The indicator to look for is when the external balance and the internal balance start to feed each other, in a snowballing way. We know the way Rome went with that… and has been true ever since.
– Imperial overreach has never helped, but pulling back from some ill-conceived policies has now made the (UK’s) pendulum swing too much the other way. I am talking about using the Forces for symbolistic or token measures, without proper and thought-out follow through. May look good on the day, but will not help Britain’s place in the world.

Challenger
Challenger
May 10, 2015 9:43 am

http://www.mirror.co.uk/incoming/raf-wants-new-2bn-aircraft-5545908

The rumour mill has already started. If only ‘want’s’ actually meant ‘will get’.

The fact that it’s the Mirror, it’s talking about 12 instead of 5 and giving a sum of £2 billion (wouldn’t it be closer to 3?) means it really should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Barbarossa
Barbarossa
May 10, 2015 10:03 am
Reply to  Bumpkin

Errr. No the diameter of an SSBN is somewhat more than the width of even the manchester ship canal…..unless that was a joke

All Politicians are the Same
All Politicians are the Same
May 10, 2015 10:13 am
Reply to  Obsvr

What an arrogant little pr!ck. especially from an essentially non com artillery wallah. You would last about 30 seconds in Glasgow with that attitude and would be lectured by people cleverer than you before they fillled you in.

barbarossa
barbarossa
May 10, 2015 10:16 am

Did you do the poll at the bottom of that article? It’s interesting that 95% are up for improving our defences against the russians.

….Of course, that could just mean that a few TD subscribers have been banging away at the ‘yes’ button….Although I doubt GNB would read the Daily Mirror, or RT would even have heard of it….

WiseApe
May 10, 2015 10:59 am

“The RAF is calling for 12 planes and surveillance drones to monitor our coast in the wake of the renewed threat from Russia.” – Is that 12 planes plus drones, or 12 planes/drones in total. Either way, having a laugh for £2 billion. Unless the drones are ScanEagles. :-(

Obsvr
Obsvr
May 10, 2015 12:19 pm

@apats

Oh dear, how sad, I seem to have struck a nerve. Not another drunk jock crying in her beer I hope, I do try not to upset the ladies. Still, reminds me of Germany, our divisional admin area included 12 – 15 major units, but 50% of the military crime was committed by just one. Guess where they primarily recruited from, yep, Glasgow. Says it all really, a town of drunken criminals.

The Other Chris
May 10, 2015 12:34 pm

Let’s have a look at how some of those values could stack up:

12 x P-8A’s = £1.2b (USN paying $150m ea.)

12 x MQ-9= £200m (USAF still paying $17m ea.) with wriggle room for Seaspray 7500e pods (q.v. Sovereign Payload Capacity Demonstrator). Needs further development though.

MQ-4C is currently more than a P-8 but expected to drop to a similar cost once full production is underway. Think along the lines of a modest number in addition to the 12 or as part of the 12.

We already have a fleet of 54 Watchkeeper on order equipped with the Thales I-Master SAR which is capable of an ISAR “maritime mode”.

Facilities already largely exist for all fleets that we’re talking about. Seedcorn/Reaper/Watchkeeper personnel already on the payroll, would need to be increased for a full fleets but cheaper to expand our existing personnel than create a whole new capability.

In summary, a ball-park £2b worth up front capital cost seems reasonable for a 12 plus Drones fleet. Then add ongoing costs, taking into account what we’re already paying.

All Politicians ar the Same
All Politicians ar the Same
May 10, 2015 12:34 pm

“Drunk jock crying in his beer?” Your slurs become funnier and more pathetic every post. Care to name the unit and back up your current slur with figures and references? Your average intelligence ones is total nonsense.
i sense a probably retired did not quite make it even in the artillery embittered bigot.

Richard_L
Richard_L
May 10, 2015 12:54 pm

I would guess that it’s 12 a/c + drones total with a roughly equal split of P-8A Poseidons and MQ-4C Tritons. Flyaway cost seems to be around $200M for a P-8A and $140M for an MQ-4C, giving around $2B for 6 of each. Convert to GBP and that’s £1.3 Billion, so optimistically speaking, there’s even a little cash left over to buy enough spanners and sticky tape to keep them flying.

Immediate retirement of Tornado and Sentinel to pay for it, I presume? :(

Pongoglo
Pongoglo
May 10, 2015 1:45 pm
Reply to  WiseApe

No surprises there, the loss of MPA was the greatest travesty to come out of SDSR 2010. Yes, there may have been serious problems with MRA4 and perhaps it might have cost far more to put right than we actually thought but to scrap it without replacement and to leave us as the only maritime power in the world without any MPA at all was foolhardy in the extreme. We could just as easily have run on a limited number of the best air-frames from MRA2 without AAR to cover the gap until we worked out what to do. Putin’s Bears are way older and many of the Orions which are still flown quite happily by our allies are much older too. Can see why the RAF want P8 but personally I liked Lockheed’s proposal to convert some of our C130J’s. They had a model at Farnborough with RAF roundels and armed with Harpoon. Would prob work out much cheaper than P8 not least because we wouldn’t have all the problems of introducing yet another new type into service and the training pipeline and logistics are already in place

WiseApe
May 10, 2015 2:04 pm

Don’t forget “UK spec” – We can expect to pay twice as much for half as many.

barbarossa
barbarossa
May 10, 2015 4:40 pm
Reply to  Think Defence

Embarrasing, yes….but funny too!! (In a John Cleese/ Fawlty Towers kind of way)

barbarossa
barbarossa
May 10, 2015 4:43 pm

Go on….someone say something about the carriers….

The Other Chris
May 10, 2015 5:35 pm

Build a third one, buy the Mistralski’s or start churning out VLS equipped LPD-17’s.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
May 10, 2015 9:46 pm

…given that it’s now very difficult not to ask the West Lothian question, I’ve always believed that the most elegant solution was to establish an English Grand Committee comprising all English MPs…and all members of the Government (wherever their seats are, because they are, after all, the Government). They could then give advice to the whole House as to what England and Government think…and the House would then accept it, or not. The benefit being that all MP’s would be equal, and there would be no impediment to a Scottish PM or Ministers…but if the English view on an English matter was ignored, the price (if any) would be a political one paid at the next election. Bearing in mind the comparative size of the Nations of the Union, this seems to me perfectly adequate to the case.

The matter of greatest regret to me is that Cameron was so pre-occupied with party management that instead of making an obviously conciliatory and Unionist speech the morning after the Referendum, he started “showing off”, as we in the North have it, about “English Votes for English Laws” straight away and quite unnecessarily…he should have made a speech much more akin to the one he made on Friday, in my view…

I am therefore still very Gloomy :-(

Nick
Nick
May 11, 2015 8:15 am

Gloomy

I think we need to bite the bullet and opt for a federal arrangement, with Westminster become the English parliament with a much smaller UK wide parliament representing the interests of the UK as a whole. This chamber would govern defence, foreign affairs and overall economic policy (including national infrastructure issues) and perhaps control how national tax funds are distributed to the nations (or more likely devolve most tax raising powers and have a low income tax to fund UK wide costs).

I don’t see this happening though. More likely Scotland will secede from the Union. English votes for English laws creates two classes of MP in a single parliament, which alongside SNP propaganda about disenfranchising Scotland from the UK parliament ought to be enough over the next 5 years.

Rocket Banana
May 11, 2015 8:26 am

I’m not Scottish but the way we govern Scotland seems very much like how we governed our Empire. i.e. not really thinking very much about what they actually need and concentrating too much on England/London and/or the bigger economic picture.

The Barnett formula is case and point, as are statements suggesting that a whole country being painted yellow is irrelevant.

We have a Scotland that has voted for representatives that oppose Trident and we have a Scotland that very nearly got its independence. However much we stick our heads in the sand saying “there’s not going to be another referendum for a generation”, I can’t see that being the case. If Scotland want to vote for independence next year and we don’t uphold our own values of self determination then we should expect the USA to help liberate Scotland from the evil empire.

The more we alienate their requirements, the more support for an independent Scotland will increase.

We have to give some ground…

…or rekindle shipbuilding on the Mersey with steel and engineering in Leeds and Shefield ;-)

Obsvr
Obsvr
May 11, 2015 8:48 am

@ apats

do I detect an embittered Glaswegian? If so I suggest laying of the wobbly water for a week or so, try a lie-down too, it might help your affliction.

wf
wf
May 11, 2015 9:38 am

, @APATS: Army units should be measured in this forum on their ability to fight. Their behaviour on nights out, whether in fighting their way through half the local nightclubs or shagging their way through unreasonable numbers of the attractive or not so attractive, should be of tangential interest. Since no one I know has cast doubt on the abilities of the Scottish regiments to fight the Queen’s enemies, whether staffed by true blood Scots or loyal Fijiian’s, what’s the big deal?

wf
wf
May 11, 2015 9:49 am

@Simon: the huge majority of Scottish rule is originated in Edinburgh now. Not sure how that resembles the Empire per se. I agree that that a federal UK is the only way forward, and it has been since Scottish devolution. The present issue IMHO is caused by the Scottish government making merry with other people’s money, which the English see as them sponging, and the SNP and the like see as an excuse to blame the English whenever their incompetence comes to the fore.

Give all 4 constituent nations the right to raise all their spending locally, with national obligations allocated on a per capita basis. Scotland can keep it’s oil, and England can keep it’s shale. A bit of local responsibility added to all to all these “rights” will do wonders for government all round…

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 11, 2015 10:13 am

Talking of doing wonders, I think there would be significant value in replacing the EU’s human Rights Act with a British Bill of Responsibilities, not a Bill of Rights. The two define the same interaction, except by talking of individuals’ and the state’s responsibilities the focus is on the giving, not the taking. Instantly the clarion call of the political martyr “I know my rights!” becomes void; although I doubt many would cry out “I know my responsibilities!”

In my view such a change of focus would be the political invocation of JFK’s famous demand placed on the American people “Ask not what the Country can do for you, ask what you can do for your Country.”

Just a thought.

Rocket Banana
May 11, 2015 10:35 am

wf,

The only way it resembles Empire is with our omnipotent negligence. I would imagine some of the northern counties would feel much the same since we’ve let some pretty wonderful places fall to rack and ruin.

Nick
Nick
May 11, 2015 11:12 am

Chris

Tongue in cheek, what are our responsibilities as a UK subject of the Crown (not Citizen as we have no written constitution) ? To pay taxes and obey the(criminal) law ?

The Human Rights legislation doesn’t originate with the EU it an international treaty (European Convention of Human Rights) which is administered separately. EU membership does require signature of the Convention though (I believe).

trt
trt
May 12, 2015 8:48 am

It bears repeating that the coalition increased spending by £70bn.

trt
trt
May 12, 2015 9:05 am

*not in defence obviously

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 12, 2015 9:10 am

trt – I don’t have figures to argue, but in any case they all come from accountants so are the product of data and spin. Like the miraculously vanishing £34bn MOD Black Hole that evaporated without seemingly changing any spending plans. What I do think however is that over the same period using the same accounting function a second term of Gordon Brown would have spent/borrowed more, based on evidence of the previous government.

Look on the bright side – the £70bn overspend is easily saved by cancelling HS2. Job done. (I think there is validity in HS3 – linking the cities either side of the Pennines by something that travels faster than an ox-cart.)

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
May 12, 2015 10:05 am

@Chris…Oy! nowt wrong wi’ oxcarts!

More seriously, although I think the jury is out on HS2…I would certainly like to see the infrastructure in place for Osborne’s “Northern Powerhouse” (HS3)…and there might be some merit in starting HS2 as a part of that…as long as it was built North to South towards London, and South to North towards Scotland.

All part of my cunning plan to renew the infrastructure for the reborn Kingdom of Northumbria that I have in mind if this devolution business doesn’t hit the buffers…

GNB

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 12, 2015 10:37 am

Gloomy – as I noted at the moment travel over the Pennines is unreasonably slow and indeed fragile – when I was in Bradford I can recall many a snowy day where the only open road was through Todmorden, that unfortunate town taking all the M62 traffic. The trains are slow too. Daft to consider flying from Manchester to Leeds/Bradford as a realistic alternative. So HS3 has much to commend it. HS2 on the other hand does not.

The road and rail links between Brum and London are pretty good, if very busy. There is marginally better rationale to fly between the cities as they are a modest distance apart. All HS2 shifts are first class passengers (can’t imagine cattle-class on that service) so taking a few out of the existing train services and a few from air travel. The stations are as far apart as airports anyway. I’m sure MPs will enjoy their first-class travel on the line.

Had a more rational plan been investigated that looked at more than just swish transport for the rich – including freight hubs for example – then maybe the new trainset would have had value. But it wasn’t and it hasn’t. In my opinion.

If the grand plan is to connect Eurostar with t’North, then maybe one of these might do just as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_2#Alternative_plans perhaps with a loop around the north-east of London for non-stop connectivity.

Chris
Editor
Chris
May 12, 2015 11:34 am

Neither Lords nor Public Accounts Committee seem convinced either: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32041167

mickp
mickp
May 12, 2015 11:35 am

Bradford / Leeds to London by train is a relatively easy trip as it stands, and pretty reliable. However, if I have to travel to Manchester or Liverpool, Hull or even Birmingham From Leeds- its a real car / train debate, often car winning. HS3 and a generally improved Northern Rail network would be a massive boon for the region. I remain unconvinced about HS2 but do wonder if on the East Coast anything could be done about the slow Doncaster to Leeds stretch

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
May 12, 2015 5:58 pm

@Chris/Mickp – I’ve certainly seen the old Great Central line proposed as being a better way to bring Eurostar North, and then link in to the European network…I believe that from Gloomyville POTENTIAL journey time by rail only exceeds that by air once you get to Milan and I’d argue that aiming for that is a better idea than yet more air travel…cheaper, greener, better for goods, less pressure on land for airport expansion, , more civilized (never more than a carriage length from the bar and less bloody queues!).

With all this cheap money about, the thing Government should borrow for is a radical re-appraisal and rationalisation of local, national and international infrastructure…ideally burying high speed data cables, power and gas lines, and a national water grid along existing rail beds and motorways…but systematically tidying-up and re-wilding all the routes we don’t need and creating high-quality green corridors along the ones we do. Personally, I’d use chain-gangs of non violent offenders for the tidying-up exercise…6 hours work, 3 hours education, living under canvas in the middle of nowhere…what’s not to like?

I’d also be building tunnels, starting with one linking the Northern Powerhouse with it’s Ulster equivalent.

Won’t happen though, so still Gloomy. :-(