Now reverse the order. The Blair Government having tired of governing has fallen to sleep and is tanking the effective part of the British Navy. They are spent out on weapon systems they will never use and scrapping the parts they will need in the Twenty First Century. Beatty would not be impressed.
Opinion from The Telegraph:
' From Royal Navy to coastal defence force'
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 05/01/2007 The Telegraph
Our status in the world, as well as the security of these islands, depends chiefly on sea power. For the better part of 500 years, England and then Britain inflicted crushing defeats on larger, wealthier and more populous nations because it controlled the main. For much of that period, indeed, foreign vessels had to dip their colours when passing our ships, in acknowledgement of our sovereignty of the seas.
That chapter is to be closed. Of our 44 warships, at least 13, and possibly as many as 19, are to be taken out of active service. At present, we have a Navy with global reach. Our ships are present in the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, the South Atlantic and the Gulf, as well as closer to home. The Government's scheme would reduce the Fleet to little more than a coastal defence role. How have we come to this pass?
There are three principal reasons. First, and most obviously, lack of money. The Government is a great believer in interventions overseas: Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq. Nothing wrong with that, but such deployments are expensive. As we remarked in October, if you want to practise gunboat diplomacy, it helps to have some gunboats. All the Armed Services, not just the Royal Navy, are overstretched.
Second, these reduced funds are often spent unwisely. As we have pointed out many times, the outstanding example of such misallocation is the £20 billion so far gobbled up by the otiose Euro-fighter. When you add a similar sum for the Trident replacement, you have consumed most of the budget. Yet neither project is much use against our current enemies. Our foes these days tend to be distant and sparse: teenage African militias, Ba'athist insurgents, Taliban bombers. Yet we are fighting them with alliances, systems and matériel designed to defend West Germany from a massed attack by Soviet T72s.
Which brings us to the third problem: the Euro-centric nature of our defence. During the second half of the 20th century, Britain's strategic thinking was focused, unusually, on the defence of western Europe.
The end of the Cold War should have released Britain to pursue its more usual vocation as an island nation with interests in every continent. But, as so often, our top brass is gearing up for the last war.
Instead of tailoring our procurement and alliances to suit our needs, we took what we happened already to have — Nato — and pressed it into roles for which it was not designed. The truth is that, as our horizons widen, the Royal Navy should be assuming a pre-eminence it has not enjoyed for 50 years.
We should be building more ships than ever, including unmanned vessels. Instead, we choose to engage in the madness of mothballing the few we have left.