06 January, 2007

Royal Navy scuttled.

This is what passes for a defence policy from Tony Blair's Labour government.

  • No Royal Navy promotions for five years;
  • All Type 42 frigates to be mothballed;
  • Another 2 Type 42 destroyers to be mothballed;
  • Possibly no new aircraft carriers.
The Daily Telegraph has the wretched details, here and more here, and if you can it stand there is even more here.

Across the pond, the American Thinker picks up the story, and points out some salient lessons for America from the debacle, all of which are depressingly accurate and have been made on Crumbling Spires in the past. In paraphrase they are: the UK government puts social and welfare spending before defence spending the UK government prefers supra-national military forces to its national ones; and Europe may be anti-American but it expects Uncle Sam to defend them when necessary and to pick up the tab.

Remember, this is a government that puts soldiers injured in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan in civilian hospital wards where they have been verbally assailed by Muslims; and which has put troops injured in combat on civilian hospital waiting lists; and which has cut the pay of troops on combat duty; and which provides service families with accommodation that is little better than Victorian slums. They care nothing from the bravery and sacrifice of our servicemen; indeed, such qualities are an embarrassment to the majority of social inadequates and dishonest chancers amongst ministers.

No doubt the the many anti-military extremists in the Labour party will be celebrating.

Previously on CS: Britannia used to rule the waves; and Britannia used to rule the waves 2.

Views on Saddam's execution.

In the Independent, Robert Fisk is at his most sanctimonious.

The lynching of Saddam Hussein - for that is what we are talking about - will turn out to be one of the determining moments in the whole shameful crusade upon which the West embarked in March of 2003. Only the president-governor George Bush and Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara could have devised a militia administration in Iraq so murderous and so immoral that the most ruthless mass murderer in the Middle East could end his days on the gallows as a figure of nobility, scalding his hooded killers for their lack of manhood and - in his last seconds - reminding the thug who told him to "go to hell" that the hell was now Iraq.
In the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore struggles to reconcile his liberal conscience with the necessity to execute Saddam and manages some common sense.
In the case of Saddam, I find it hard to believe that many people are really outraged, except about the taunting and the unauthorised filming. I suspect that they are using it as yet another way of attacking Blair and Bush.
In the Times, Graham Stewart has an interesting little piece on historical examples of execution.

05 January, 2007

Human rights for murderers.

Unlike their colleagues in Manchester, Derbyshire Police have refused to publish pictures of two escaped murderers for fear that it will breach the murderers' human rights. And no, neither I nor Metro invented the story.

No doubt some senior officers are seeking to ingratiate themselves with the Home Office in the hope of promotion.

According to the Manchester Evening Post, the Lord Chancellor is not impressed with such arse-licking. For its part, Derbyshire Police is floundering about with a load of irrelevant drivel, the worst of which is,

This decision was based on the fact that there was no policing purpose to be served by the release of these photographs in Derbyshire, as inquiries indicated that Croft and Nixon had fled the county and posed no risk to Derbyshire residents.
How do they know they are not in the county, since they obviously have no idea where on earth they are? The best bit of the statement is saved till last, "GMP [Greater Manchester Police] took over primacy for the investigation in December."

I cannot help wondering what the ordinary coppers make of their wretched senior officers.

A quick update with a link to the Derby Evening Telegraph which started the affair by asking the Derbys Keystone Brigade for pictures of the murderers. I will update tomorrow night if the Post has more from its Saturday edition.

Update 6.1.07

The Daily Mail weighs in with typical gusto in an item entitled, "Wanted: for crimes against common sense."

Cartoon demonstrator now singing a not so merry melody

Umran Javed, a British Muslim from Birmingham, has been found guilty at the Old Bailey of stirring up racial hated during a demonstration against the infamous Danish cartoons. The BBC reports:

Javed told a crowd of hundreds at the February 2006 protest: "Bomb, bomb Denmark, bomb, bomb USA."

He had claimed the chants against the two countries were "just slogans" and that he regretted saying them.

Remanding him in custody, Judge Brian Barker said he would not pass sentence until several other trials relating to the protest had concluded - expected to be in April.

The maximum penalty for soliciting murder is life in prison.
No doubt now we will now get demonstrations calling for Javed's release.

Most the press coverage - for example the Daily Telegraph and the Times - is as yet straightforward factual reporting, but the Guardian's Comment is Free section runs a weird piece about the case and post modernist irony; make of it what you will.

It seems a safe bet Javed will be released on appeal, when the fuss has died down.

Mubarak on Saddam.

Hosni Mubarak, President of Egypt has said that the "revolting and barbaric" scenes at Saddam's hanging has turned him into a martyr. Both the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph seem to think it is front page news.

I fail to see what was either revolting or barbaric about the execution. I bet Saddam was treated with a great more dignity and respect than any of his victims.

Afghan-Pak border problems.

So much for Christmas and the New Year. Little seems to have changed although, after the ritual exchanges of insults, Pakistan and Afghanistan seem to be at last to be moving towards getting down to some serious negotiations over an Afghan-Pak jirga.

Pakistan is pressing on with its "Marshall Plan" which in part, at least, seems to be offering Kabul financial assistance to help cope with the stream of refugees that President Musharraf would like to see returning from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

The International Herald Tribune also covers the story, with a focus on cross-border tensions.

31 December, 2006

A Happy New Year to everybody.

I am off to visit family so Crumbling Spires will be back on the 5th or 6th.

Britannia used to rule the waves: 2

Back in October, Crumbling Spires reported that the Royal Navy was unlikely to be able to play a role in enforcing any sanctions on North Korea because it did not have the ships. After this government has finished with the Royal Navy, Britannia might just about be able to rule a duck pond.

Now, the Times reports that half the Navy's ships are to be mothballed and the final two orders for new Type 45 destroyers have been cancelled. The problems? As the Times says, cost over-runs and Treasury refusal to find the money. To which Crumbling Spires will add Chancellor Gordon Brown's refusal to divert money from social programmes designed to make him popular enough to become Prime Minister.