Brexit Wars 3



JW, you can ‘sex up’ the figures and make projections to make the case for any project (see ‘garden bridge’ & ‘possibly’ HS2)…so being ‘business-like’ in government is just a euphemism for justifying vanity projects. How did the MOD ever think they could afford 2 (two) aircraft carriers?


How did the MoD ever think we could afford not to have any aircraft carriers?


Eadwig, that’s not really an answer to my question is it? I didn’t say the MOD shouldn’t have ‘an’ aircraft carrier…but can we afford two. It isn’t just a case of ‘buy one get one free’ is it?..there’s operational costs, expensive aircraft to go on the carriers, support vessels, ‘probably’ vessels to provide a protective shield around the carrier…carrier’s are an expensive bit of kit…2 (two) carriers are twice as expensive (or so I would have thought). I suppose they can always turn one into a prison.


I wasn’t trying to answer your question.

However, I would say that 2 aircraft carriers are a minimum requirement given the time such ships spend having maintenance performed etc

Little point in having 1 carrier as a deterrent when those who you are deterring know they simply have to wait until the next refit is due then can carry on with whatever it is they are planning.

As a permanent member of the security council and an island with a strong naval tradition it beggars belief that we came to a point where we decided that no carriers at all was a tenable and valid position to take up. As was scrapping the Harriers which had proved themselves so well in actual combat as well as taking top gun against all US opposition. Yes, they were aged, but the US Marines still use them and there is nothing aged about the latest sidewinder missiles they are fitted with.

The RAF say they can provide a deterrent anywhere in the world so there is no need for the Fleet Air Arm, but its rubbish, frankly.


Eadwig, I suppose you’re trying to say: “Why didn’t we develop a new updated version of the Harrier jump jet suitable for the 21st century?”…no idea. I hope you weren’t suggesting that Harrier jump jets from the 1970’s (??) would have been a sensible choice for the new carriers!

Possibly a better choice would have been drones…use the carrier as a floating drone attack vessel…full of teenage drone pilots on monkey dust.


They are unequalled as a combat-tested weapons platform versus other fighters and could still have had a part to play as we still don’t really know just how good the F35 will be.

And they were British and we could still be making them for countries that have no STOVL capability.

Its the missiles that matter in terms of modernisation, the platform doesn’t have a great deal of improvement needed.

The U.S. Army still uses 0.5 cal machine guns as their standard heavy weapon. They don’t throw them out just because they’re over 100 years old.


2017 exports spot the problem Massive export to EU NONE to faroe Islands
United States $59.09B Germany $46.64B France $32.86B Netherlands $27.43B
Ireland $24.90B China $21.45B Switzerland $20.25B Belgium $17.77B
Spain $13.46B Italy $13.19B United Arab Emirates $9.61B Turkey $9.55B
Hong Kong $9.32B South Korea $7.48B Japan $7.35B Sweden $6.80B

Never mind ONLY benefit to leaving from the Brexiters here was from How Jarse saying missing my post was it…


I think the wall and the Bridge were/are two of the easiest things to get a business case for and then to have measurable results against what was forecast ie. reduction in recorded arrests of illegals, reduction in drug trade etc… and for the Bridge… improvement in tourism figures, number of visitors etc.

As for the UK Aircraft carriers… at a cost of £6bn+ each… the talk of “deterrent” is quite interesting. Who are we deterring from doing what and where in the world?
Guess I’ll wait for Falklands to be mentioned now.


We don’t know, which is the whole point, especially when you’re one of five members of the U.N.'s permanent security council.


Need I add that you’d be extremely naive to think that position doesn’t factor into trade deals one way or another.

It is about prestige and its about clout and its about having hard power to back those up. That’s the bottom line.

Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just telling it like it is. I’m not saying its right or wrong, I’m just talking about playing the hand we were dealt when born into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.


Eadwig, a bit of a silly example. A machine gun isn’t the same as an aircraft built with 1970s (??) technology.

Sure you can upgrade the weapons but if your aircraft are too easily shot down then that rather negate the benefits of those improved weapons. Then there are servicing costs for older aircraft & reliability to take into account. Never mind the embarrassment factor of having a state of the art carrier wit planes from the cold war.


The true horror to come is that the policy response to Brexit will be ultra loose monetary policy with loads of QE as it seems like a get out of jail free card and worked for the 2008 crisis. I suspect it will have a rather different outcome this time in an economy whose productive capacity is being hollowed out by Brexit.
Severe inflation.


JW, exactly right…it’s easy to make a business case for any project…“improvement in tourism figures, number of visitors”…based on ‘estimated’ increase in tourist numbers and tourism spend…but once it’s built it’s built it’s difficult to ‘unbuild’ something…and if the ‘actual’ figures fall far short of ‘estimates’ then it’s too late. That’s why the ‘estimated’ figures can be open to abuse & manipulation to suit a purpose.

A380 was projected to build 1500 planes but only managed 250…I’m sure the business case for the A380 was ‘sound’. I wonder at what point they realised they were building a white elephant.


Airframes last for decades. Missiles and radar can be updated (and were) as you go along. What about the embarrassment factor of having state of the art aircraft carriers with no planes at all?

Easily shot down? You missed the bit about the Harrier easily shooting down all-comers from the US air force, typically a kill ratio in the harriers favour of about 5:1 (mainly against F16s).

You know, those missiles you see on James Bond that fire off in any direction then find and lock onto their target are a fiction? Plus there is no plane that can outrun a missile anyway. Its all about getting your weapons and radar pointing in the right direction at the time of release. While still operating there was no plane that could beat them at that.


In today’s world Aircraft carriers are useless unless you want to invade somewhere like Vanuatu.

They would be sitting ducks against an adversary such as Russia or China or one of their proxies. They are just large targets. I’ve been on one and the only good thing about them is that they are big enough to give you a nice, smooth ride even in choppy waters.

Also, because they are so tall in the water they afford good views, such as one of the best sights in the world: Southampton receding into the distance.




I was reading about the A380 history and some of their ex-COO Leahy’s comments just recently… interesting stuff.
I wouldn’t class the A380 as a white elephant but it’s certainly turned into a commercial failure.

“…it’s easy to make a business case for any project”
“…and if the ‘actual’ figures fall far short of ‘estimates’ then it’s too late.”

Going back to things like the wall and the bridge… I don’t think it is difficult to create credible business cases at all personally… not if you have the right type of people evaluating the likelihoods of achieving the benefits upfront. The problem is when those things get politicized or left to those Departments with blinkered views and/or who act out of pure self-interest.
In the US, the wall has become something that’s no longer about whether it would work or the economics of it… it’s become a general free for all argument about immigration and is now firmly associated with the latest turd in office (Totus).

I’m aware that most politicians have short political careers in contrast to some of the projects they might start but it isn’t about them… it’s about the country and whether the benefits are eventually realised or not so the reviews years later on what was done, whether objectives were achieved, if it was a success etc. are all important else you either never end up investing anything or worse just lurch from one disaster to the next.

As an example, every time you hear the drumbeats sounding for “action” somewhere around the world, be it Syria, wherever… then the first thing people should be reminded to do is dust off and re-read Chilcot’s report from the Iraq Inquiry.


I’m sure you are right that for superpower countries like Russia, US and China their military capability is a factor that can be used for some form of leverage in trade deals. That would be one of just many factors that are important of course.
However, for the UK… the fact that it has sunk £12bn+ (plus ongoing maintenance costs) into two aircraft carriers is neither here nor there when it comes to negotiating any future trade deal.
I really don’t think that the military capabilities of the UK in negotiating Brexit with the EU would have played any part… nor with any future trade deals… or continuity agreements.

It’s OK saying that they are to meet a threat that today we don’t know about… but then that argument could be used for almost anything being spent on any future military project.

Plain fact is that these ships… once ready in a few years time… are going to wallow around for the following decade until they are scrapped forever with a small armada of support and protective ships with no real purpose.

As SBUK alluded to… I would be amazed if the already-in-existence new generation of anti-ship missiles that are relatively cheap, stealthy, supersonic, sea-skimming, autonomous, adept at evading defences… and generally very devious… wouldn’t be able to hunt down these slow moving massive targets at the first sign of any real conflict.


Eadwig, do you have a link?


You need impartial organisations to run the cost/benefit numbers…taken out of the influence of politicians.

And you need politicians with vision who can push forward improvements for the long term good of the country. We don’t have such people - look at how long Heathrow expansion was kicked around - and this makes any chance of Brexit being a long term success seem a little uncertain (IMO).


I think you are wrong. Brexit puts France in poll position to be the one representative, with VETO power, for the European region once (probably) India’s calls to replace one of the two on the security council can no longer be denied with a straight face.

Whether or not we veto the proposal or step aside will no doubt be put out as a referendum question.