People or War? 124

We could have built 120,000 new homes, desperately needed. Instead we spent the money on a bloody big ship. To what purpose? An aircraft carrier is of no use to defend the British Isles – land based planes can do that much better. It is to enable our armed forces to operate elsewhere, far from here. In other words, it is not for defence, it is for attack. It was ordered in the Blairite era of enthusiastic invasion of other countries.

Look what that left us. The Middle East in turmoil, half the world hates us, a wrecked economy. Oh and a bloody great ship. Thanks for that.

Not only could 6.2 billion pounds have built 120,000 social housing units around the country, but doing that would have created 200,000 more jobs, and helped cool the housing bubble, as well as giving families nice places to live.

Next time a disabled person has their benefits cut, we can say “Aah, but look, we’ve got a really good boat!”

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124 thoughts on “People or War?

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  • Ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)

    You’re forgetting the £2.5Bn we contributed to the F35-B’s that will (it is hoped) fly off the bloody thing.

  • Porkfright

    Got it in one, Craig. The cost of these two projects could do untold good for our population. Instead have state-of-the-art killing machinery to deal with terrrrrrsts, or indeed anyone else we don’t like or who disagrees with our wonderful leaders and their masters.

  • arsalan

    Well, they can always ground it off the coast and use it for social housing?

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    And let’s not forget that other bargain, Trident. As Frank Zappa said, government is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.

  • Rob Royston

    It was built as a defensive ship though, to defend Labour’s chances of remaining in power. It probably won them a few MP’s in the shipyard areas but they lost the battle and the rest of us lost a lot of wealth.

  • lucythediclonius

    Been tried before
    Hitler’s rearmament program was military Keynesianism on a vast scale. Hermann Goering, Hitler’s economic administrator, poured every available resource into making planes, tanks, and guns. In 1933 German military spending was 750 million Reichsmarks. By 1938 it had risen to 17 billion with 21 percent of GDP was taken up by military spending. Government spending all told was 35 percent of Germany’s GDP.

    Many liberals, especially Paul Krugman, routinely argue that our stimulus programs in America aren’t big enough, so when they fail it’s not an indictment of Keynesianism. Fair enough. But no-one could say that Hitler’s rearmament program was too small. Economists expected it to create a multiplier effect and jump-start a flagging economy. Instead, it produced military wealth while private citizens starved. Employed on the largest scale ever seen, military Keynesianism created only ruin.

  • Je

    £6.2 billion is just to build the ships. Add the cost of the aircraft, operating costs and the cost of escort and support ships and onland support. A truly enormous figure that they are in no rush to calculate for us.

    Its a strange design – the size and cost of a conventional carrier, but only able to carry VSTOL aircraft.

    And if the build quality turns out to be anything like HMS Astute…

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸¸a.node

    Best guess for the cost to the UK of the big bank bailout was 11% – 13% of GDP

    GDP in 2011 = £2296 billion

    £2296 billion x 12% = £276 billion = 5,341,935 new homes


    Just looked; it seems that images were never copied from the old Moveable Type blog; I can’t find any pictures or other media pre-March 2011. They could be copied from a back-up if anyone still has one; I can’t find one myself.

  • guano

    Just the insulation of existing homes would have kept the construction industry alive during the recession. Many trades would have been involved in additional improvements.

  • Mary

    Not forgetting the £2bn cut in the NHS budget, the handing over of £13bn of contracts to the privateers and the closure of care homes and day centres.

    No doubt it has been a boon to BAE, Thales and Babcock.
    ‘They are both termed Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and are being built by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), a partnership of BAE Systems, Babcock, Thales and the Ministry of Defence. Overall, six shipyards around the UK – Appledore, Birkenhead, Govan, Portsmouth, Rosyth and Tyne – have been involved in building various parts of the carrier.’

    I name this ship ‘A bloody great waste of money and God bless those who never put to sea in her’ and bang goes a lovely bottle of single malt from Islay

    The true cost of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth

  • Mary

    HMS Not So Astute here + some photos.

    Royal Navy chiefs left red-faced after brand new £1.2bn nuclear submarine is left high and dry off the coast of ScotlandBy David Wilkes and Steven Henry
    Updated: 17:12, 24 October 2010

    Commanding officer could face court martial over blunder
    Royal Navy experts launch service inquiry after early-morning accident

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸¸A.Node

    Cost to taxpayer of private finance initiative (PFI) = £300bn

    £300bn = 1000 brand new hospitals plus 5000 brand new schools plus quadruple scientific research funding plus give £1000 to everybody in the UK plus a bloody big ship


    “The average cost of a new secondary school with 1,300 pupils and a sixth form in a high-cost inner-city area is £25-30 [5000 x £30m =  £150bn]

    A general hospital would cost considerably more – at least £50m, and very probably twice that [1000 x £100m = £100bn]

    The Science Budget is administered through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It was £3.1 billion in 2005-06 and rose to £3.2 billion in 2010-11. At Treasury’s request the Science Budget is ring fenced. [3 x £3.3bn = £10bn]

    bloody big ship = £6.2bn


  • ESLO

    Lets not mention that in an Independent Scotland that the First Minister would still be keen to sell bloody big ships to goodness knows who – presumably depriving the buyers of funds that could be spent on schools, hospitals and education.

  • Mick

    I may not find much of an audience for my opinions on this topic but let’s see…

    Yes £6.2 billion could have built many thousands of new houses but in reality it would have been spent on another pointless government scheme, probably something to do with IT which would have cost three times the budget, would have never worked and then would have been scrapped. Social housing was not a piority under Labour and it certainly is not one under the Tories. At least with a tangible asset like an aircraft carrier the nation has something useful, to both us and to the international community. One needs to only think of the humanitarian relief operations which the Royal Navy has been involved in over the past decade to understand that RN’s function is not confined to bombing from the sea and gunboat diplomacy. Britain is not just a maritime nation in a historical sense it continues to be one by the fact we import the vast majority of goods by ship. It stands to reason that we should have a strong navy.

    That said, while a blue sea navy with aviation assets is a powerful thing to possess it would have been far more sensible to invest in a greater number of the versatile Type 45 Destroyers and to speed up the design and construction of the Type 26 Frigates. T45s can operate independently and with the correct payload can still ‘project’ power while doing more useful things such as sea-lane security, air defence, counter narcotics and counter piracy operations. Same goes for the T26s minus the power projection as I don’t believe they are being designed to carry land attack cruise missiles. At a build cost of £1 billion for a T45 we could have built six more for the cost of the carriers, which added to the current six in service would be an appropiate surface fleet for a nation of our size with our global responsibilities.

    These carriers started life as something of a vanity project and are certainly the result of New Labour’s belief that Britain should be the USA’s partner of choice in military operations – the fact the Americans insisted that the next generation of RN carriers were larger and able to integrate into an American carrier battle group underlines this point.

    Now we have them, well half a one with another building, the onus is about using the carriers responsibly and that is down to the politicians not the Admirals.

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸¸A.Node

    ESLO 4 Jul, 2014 – 1:06 pm

    “Lets not mention that in an Independent Scotland that the First Minister would still be keen to sell bloody big ships to goodness knows who – presumably depriving the buyers of funds that could be spent on schools, hospitals and education.”

    I genuinely believe that that is the most pathetic comment I have ever read on this blog.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)

    Its a strange design – the size and cost of a conventional carrier, but only able to carry VSTOL aircraft.

    I believe the original plan was to carry the F35A, not the VSTOL B. Then someone discovered that the deck catapults wouldn’t work with the A, and we went for the B, with a smaller payload (as you say, rather negating the need for a floating city) Then, of course, we discovered that landing a F35B which hadn’t dropped its ordnance on brown people would be impossible/dead tricky as it relied on some forward way to stay airborne. So we had to have the B’s further modified. Something like that, anyway.

    IOW a cockup from start to finish. (F35 has been the most expensive project ever conducted by the US military, btw.) Meanwhile the US Marines are still using our old Harriers. Their description of this fine a/c is a glowing one, rightly.

  • ozwry

    craig: “we can say “Aah, but look, we’ve got a really good boat!”

    ozwry: [loathe to criticise, or suggest edits…]
    suggests replacing “good” with either:

    feckin’ big
    big feckin’

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸¸Mary

    Just playing with your signature A Node. How do they do that?

  • Mary

    Lots of porridge in the diet today being handed out by the judges.

    18 months for Coulson and 5 years 9 months for Harris.

  • Ba'al Zevul (Chimp Assassin)

    Habbabreak ™ works for ————·´`·.¸¸¸Mary , too.

  • ESLO

    Anode – believe what you want but this is what the SNP are saying:

    “But a spokesman for Scottish government veterans minister Keith Brown said UK military contacts could still be carried out in an independent Scotland.

    He added: “Scottish companies will be able to bid for Ministry of Defence contracts that are put out to competitive tender so UK military orders could, and should, still come to Scotland.”

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸¸A.Node

    Your comment was pathetic for reasons unconnected to SNP policy.

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