Scraps from the Table

10426859_10152326400948300_3276337881689047356_nGeorge Osborne has announced with some brio: “We are going to step up the aircraft carrier punch of the United Kingdom (sic). We are going to make sure that when these aircraft carriers are available they are going to have planes that can fly from them…”. Which is a great idea (if a little late), and it does open the door to these being more than floating car parks.

Way back in July 2014 Iain Martin (whilst cheerleading for Better Together) noted “Lamentably, the country’s new aircraft carrier, as various commentators keep pointing out rather ungallantly, doesn’t have any planes”.  He wrote: “An aircraft carrier without planes is the perfect metaphor for Britain’s diminished global status.” Well, quite.

Today our Prime Minister is to announce the five-year National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security review to the House of Commons and that he has stumped up the cash for planes for the aircraft carriers. Hurrah! Rule Britannia! Etc On the downside he is cancelling orders for five frigates that were an integral part of the No campaigns promises last year.  Reports confirm that orders for Type 26 frigates from BAE Systems at Govan and Scotstoun will be cut from 13 to eight. I think they still call it pooling and sharing.

CUfXCm-WIAAdfiGStronger Together

Readers with a sharp recall will easily conjure Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, announcing that a final decision on the contract for 13 type 26 global combat ships would not be made until after the independence referendum in 2014. Oh no. The message was clear: if the Clyde wants these contracts then the natives must vote ‘NO’! Many dutifully did.

In fact the use of the military as both powerful threat (Mad Lord George) and the possibly more powerful emotional pull (remember the Blitz! Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover etc etc) was a constant theme of the indyref year. Britain, a powerful military force in the world was one symbol but it was also presented as the source of endless military jobs. Like a Cash Cow or a Golden Egg with a lot more death involved, but basically A Good Thing. The internal logic of this  was always, quietly, that as an economic basketcase, a country like Scotland requires subsidy for its feckless barren economy. The argument was put forward with more or less nuance by a paradise of unionist politicians.

Boom Doom Gloom

Now, there’s a sort of inevitability about these claims as one by one the NO campaigns claims crumble into sand, like: jobs in the steel industry, Federalism, the security of pensions, the security of the NHS or any other hundred failed and lost polices and promises.

We’ve never been comfortable with a shipbuilding industry based on military orders. Instead we’ve argued that diversification and modernisation could bring new orders and new markets. But we do like the Boom Doom Gloom meme developed by Ian Davidson (former Labour MP for Glasgow South West).

Shipbuilding we were told last year was ‘given a stage of execution’.

As Gordon Brown said on 20 September 2014:

“The eyes of the world have been upon us and now I think the eyes of the world are upon the leaders of the major parties of the United Kingdom. These are men who had been promise makers, and they will not be promise breakers, and I will ensure that that these promises that have been made are upheld.”

Ever get the feeling you’ve been had?

Comments (17)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Cllr Craig Fraser says:

    They will probably need bigger engines to get off the aircraft carriers – whoooooooooooosh Craig

  2. Dougie Blackwood says:

    I await the opportunity to get round the doors and to talk to those that thought we would be better together.
    Less frigates will be built and our Portsmouth Navy will, over time become less able to patrol the frozen north. Never mind we may get new maritime reconnaissance planes one day. Our white elephant in the Clyde will continue to be useless against terrorist threats.

    We have the consolation that we have many more Admirals than ships and more generals than regiments. All of these highly paid leaders of our armed forces will have a secure and highly pair job and retirement income to spend near home around Portsmouth or Colchester.

    Sorry to be a little bitter but we need to get the message about that we have been well and truly had by our tame Main Stream Media, including the BBC with it’s chief reporter that took instruction from Downing Street. Their scare stories frightened the old and those terrified of redundancy and those that spun the tale will be rewarded by a grateful Westminster with seats in the gentleman’s club that currently pays £300 a day for those that enjoy a good meal at taxpayers expense.

  3. bringiton says:

    Westminster places more importance on the projection of power (aircraft carriers) than defending our coastline.
    Says it all about the British state’s foreign policy.

  4. Paul says:

    You may also ponder the fact that the aircraft the MOD are purchasing for our shiny new offensive weapons system, sorry aircraft carriers is the American made turkey known as the F35

    1. John Mooney says:

      So very true,this aircraft is an out and out clunker! A supposed Jack of all trades but master of none.Successive Wasteminster governments kow tow to American so called superior kit,the Wilson Gov.and the TSR2(streets ahead of anything at the time) cancellation for the pathetic flying brick called the MD. Phantom,now this lot with the scrapping of Nimrod Mk4 and once again buying second rate maritime surveillance crap from Boeing.The usual suspects making a fortune,but then again they do not have to work with the crap equipment,Same old story,same old establishment bastards!

    2. Alex Beveridge says:

      Thanks for that Paul. And that doesn’t take into account the widely reported equipment problems with the F-35B. By god I wish I lived in a small independent country, who don’t want to pick a fight anyone.

      1. Paul says:

        Alex, it is also worth noting that not only is the F35 a turkey in terms of its capabilities, it is also a hugely expensive turkey. Never mind Lockheed Martin will be happy, oh and btw the same LM has recently been given the contract for work at Faslane and the nukes!

    3. Phil says:

      Not sure just who Pierre Sprey is, or how authoritative, but he does have an interesting CV (Wikipedia, et al) and speaks as though he knows. His descriptive outline of the longevity of dumb ideas is not unfamiliar; eg., the decades of refusal from ‘Detroit’ to bring out anything other than petrol / diesel internal combustion vehicles weighing 2 tons and more.

      However, such technology arguments will not much hasten independence for Scotland and only serve to highlight how poorly the Military-Industrial-Kleptocracy serves us all as a population and how well it preserves its own supplies of annual monies.

      Thanks Paul, this week in particular is a good one in which to be introduced to Mr Sprey; with the Tory PM and the Tory Chancellor playing out several set piece speeches in which twisted, incomplete, logic, meaningless jargon, and barefaced untruths are orchestrated to maintain public approval for the kleptocratic flow of the public’s money toward the industrial giants.

      From an independence point of view it seems possible only to weep and to realise just how powerful the opposing forces are. But to achieve the goal of independence the many elements we have in the story of a successful Scottish people, a successful Scottish culture, a successful Scottish economy and a successful Scottish polity must be woven into the ripost to these industrial giants and moves the 45% on to 60% or to 70%.

  5. muttley79 says:

    The No campaign was a disgrace at the time for all their lies, and it is looking even worse a year after the referendum vote.

    1. Ground zero says:

      The NO campaign may have been a disgrace, but the so called Scots that fell for it were even more disgraceful.

  6. Anton says:

    Hang on. Isn’t it a little early to be crying foul? All the Government has said is that instead of replacing the thirteen current Type 23 frigates with thirteen Type 26 frigates, they’ll be ordering eight Type 26 frigates and an additional minimum of five frigates of a new class yet to be specified. This is entirely in line with Philip Hammond’s remark, which you quote, that at the time of the referendum no final decision had been taken about the replacement of the Type 23 fleet.

    So now they have decided. But there’s no reason to suppose that the new class of frigate won’t also be built on the Clyde. We’ll have to wait and see about that.

    1. Socrates MacSporran says:

      Anton, maybe you were not listening when Hambone was on his feet yesterday.

      He said five or even more frigates CAN be built, IF the circumstances are right.

      CAN, IF, that’s a long way from WILL be built.

      Personally, I think Hambone was lying, after all, he is a politician and, his lips were moving.

  7. Mark McGhee says:

    The unionists promised federalisation or the most autonomy for any nation within a union. What we are getting is one Scottish tory member of parliament over ruling the rest 58 Scottish MP’s. They offer more powers, powers that take more revenue from Scotland to Westminster and the treasury. We were promised more democracy, yet now England not only has a majority rule over the entire UK every project England and London want is funded proportionally from Scottish Welsh and Northern Irish remittances. ie. the new high speed rail which benefits only England, Scots will also fund, the new cross London underground(subway), the London Olympics, etc.. Meanwhile, Scots will have to fund directly our own infrastructure projects a new forth bridge, new hospital, and maybe the extension of trams in Edinburgh. The fear campaign said pensions would not be safe in an independent Scotland, and many Old age pensioners voted no to save their pensions. Now Westminster will cut their pensions anyway. The fear campaign stated that Scots shipping industry is safe in the UK union, now 3000 are to lose their jobs, and now in land revenue will cut further jobs in Scotland another 3000 jobs. The powers that the UK government offer is the ability for Scots government to top up welfare which they are cutting, and yet they will tax that as revenue for the UK treasury. Many people in research industry in Scotland feared the loss of grants and their jobs, if Scotland got independence. So much fear.. And now Scots and Scotland will pay dearly again and again because some were fearful of their own situations. UN investigators stated that the ‘NO’ Campaigns’ Unionist propaganda that Scotland was subjected to was as bad as NAZI Germany.. It made me reflect on Pastor Martin Niemöller’s Poem..
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me

  8. George Gunn says:

    Johnny Rotten

  9. john young says:

    It will not change the order of things in this benighted land,they “headed us off at the pass” hundreds of years ago,this country is awash with backsliders/kow-towers that do not see themselves as Scots the flagbearer being the Orange Order and al their silent adherants,you then have the Masons followed by the die-hard Labour followers not to mention the Tories,so you can see the mountain that has to be climbed,we will never ever shift any of the above in sufficient numbers,60% would be an absolute stretch.

  10. Willie says:

    In many ways you have to think that Scotland is getting what it voted for.

    Folks were well warned and now the axe is falling and the squeals are harrowing. But they were warned, they had the opportunity and they voted for better together – with the promises of jobs, pensions and the benevolent hands of the caring United Kingdom.

    English Votes for English Laws but the English rejected every amendment proposed to the Scotland Bill by 98% of Scottish MPs.

    And TTIP, Trade Union Reforms, increased Austerity, the removal of feed in tarrif for Scottish Renewables in favour of guaranteed subsidy to nuclear in England – the joy just goes on and on. But hey, that’s Scotland for you. It was Scotland’s choice and England has got them where they wanted them – on their knees.

    What a poor servile nation. However, with a bit of luck, if you can call it that, Jock will be back in action soon providing, as it always has, more than its fair share of the foot soldiers to fight in the ever increasing theatres of foreign war.

  11. Clydebuilt says:

    Front page of yesterday’s Herald……. Not cutting Tax Credits means Osbourne is Gambling on the Economy Growing………


    To buy over a 100 F35’s, renew Trident, Increase the Security Budget, Build 8 Type 26 . Frigates And bombing Syria (fingers crossed….. His not mine) ….Gideon doesn’t need a growing Economy………. Priorities out in the open…….

    Dya think he cares. Independence, closer every day!

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.