Friday, 2 February 2018

Politics with a 'C': Theresa May's Conservatives

So yesterday I spent probably the best part of four to five hours writing something, reviewing it, procrastinating, deleting bits, rewriting bits and generally struggling to get my ideas on to this sheet of digital paper. The problem is I was trying to be nice and polite, to present my arguments in a reasonable manner and avoid ranting. Yeah, well, I've given up that route.

Because this Conservative government is such a black hole of ideas and ambition it's depressing.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Wellington didn't have Challenger tanks and satellite guided rockets, Part Two: The Army

So back in August I wrote this
"Further compounding this problem is the reduction in the value of the pound brought on by the Brexit vote, especially when considering the future major purchases of US products such as the P-8 Poseidon and F-35 Lightning. Under normal circumstances you'd expect a big organisation such as the MoD to have taken a sizable hedge position in the dollar prior to the Brexit vote, just in case, given the scale of its potential exposure to currency risk. But then this is the MoD we're talking about, so nothing is certain. We'll find out soon enough I guess."
Yeah, so we found out. They didn't. And now the fresh black hole in the MoD's finances amounts to about £20bn over 10 years. But it's not all currency based, as it has also emerged that the MoD has backtracked on many of its prior pledges to reduce expenditure. Which brings us here, to the second part of this three part series looking at how the UK might plug said gap. That means assessing the army.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The New Army Recruitment Advert

There's been much outcry over the new army recruitment advert, so I thought as something different I'd give it a watch and relate my first impressions.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Something, something, 2018 Strategic Review, Part 1: The Royal Navy

The other day I laid out a few of my general thoughts on where UK defence is headed, what with all this talk of possible cuts on the horizon. I'm sure that in time the government will come up with a staggeringly good management speak term for it all, something like "a strategic reshaping" or "resourcing refinement". For now though I thought I might do a series of three posts taking each service in turn and expanding a bit on my thoughts, as it's been a while since I last mused about the services in such a way and "fantasy fleet" type posts are allegedly a good cash cow. The fact that I'm still using blogger would imply this either a) isn't true, or b) I just don't do enough of them ( so keep an eye out for the forthcoming weekly series "SDSR; Week x").

Saturday, 23 December 2017

A cup of Christmas cheer. Or not.

Tis the season to be jolly and all that, so in the spirit of the Christmas season I'd like to say a mass remembering the birth of our Lord and Saviour...

Ha, no. Just kidding. Christmas is of course about generating massive amounts of revenue for retailers, squeezing a budget to its absolute limits, and teaching kids about how to manage disappointment. What better subject then to encapsulate the true meaning of Christmas than UK defence. With a national strategy seemingly birthed in a stable - long before the three wise men ever showed up - the defence nativity should make some interesting reading.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

A smaller, sleeker army?

So I've been fairly busy of late which has put back a post that I wanted to rustle up last week (or was it the week before? How time flies) when it seemed the wolves were beginning to circle around the British army. With all this talk of a possible "SDSR 2017" etc it seems the knives are out and everyone is after a slice of the budget pie currently tied up in the land domain. Some articles I've seen have been quite interesting, thought provoking and reasonably balanced. Others... less so, shall we say. All though seem to share a similar theme; now that Afghanistan is over and done with we can raid the army for cash for the other two services, justified on the premise that the army is a) a bit knackered equipment wise and b) apparently lacking in strategic relevance all of a sudden.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

SDSR 2017?

As parliament broke for its summer holidays this year, so began the normal cycle of government trying to slip out all the bad news and controversial decisions that it has up its sleeve, while opposition parties got into a frenzy about how terrible it all is while conveniently forgetting it's the exact same thing they used to do when in power and pretending that they would never do something so underhanded themselves if given the chance. Except this year's round of "Have I Got Bad News For You" got tongues really wagging as it was announced that the Cabinet Office is implementing a review of national security policy, including in its scope the progress of the commitments set out in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

France, Germany, five generations and a Typhoon replacment

This last week saw the announcement by France and Germany that they plan to collaborate on a new European 5th generation fighter aircraft, much to the amusement of everyone except France and Germany. The level of amusement was enhanced by a comment from a German official - with absolutely no sense of irony - saying that such a partnership would benefit from not having UK involvement delaying the project.

This apparently overlooks the fact that the two prime culprits for causing delays in the Eurofighter project which ultimately produced the Typhoon were... France and Germany. A side culprit in the Eurofighter debacle was Spain, who jumped in and out at various points. Spain and Germany also happen to have made a joint announcement not that long ago about exploring options for a new fighter, so if France and Germany could get them on board for this project then that would finally complete the holy trinity of European defence collaboration misfits.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Preferred vs Imposed position

In my last post I talked about the Type 26 vs the proposed Type 31(s). Some might have found it odd reading that article and seeing me arguing in favour of more Type 26 at the expense of Type 31, only to seemingly reverse directions in the comment section and agree with a poster who bemoaned the Type 26. This apparent contradiction - coupled with a rather interesting chat I've been having on Twitter with some folks about aircraft carriers - offers me the opportunity to talk about something I've been meaning to get around to for a long while; the difference between the 'preferred position' and the 'imposed position'.