More on the cuts

Still far too many people dependent on public money

HMS DreadnoughtHMS Dreadnought
More on the cuts. This time it's the Navy and EUReferendum has posted an opinion based on a Guardian article. Both are interesting and EUReferendum has a comments section. In the the Guardian we see -

The navy's Caribbean patrol was originally set up to guard British dependencies in the West Indies. In recent years, it has taken up a joint role countering drug runners and coping with humanitarian disasters during the June-October hurricane season.

A comment on EUReferendum says -

So it starts out as a wholly military patrol going back to the days of the Empire. Then there's a bit of mission creep, mind you, there always is! The idea that a warship has a role in the 'war on drugs' is open to debate. Like the war on terror the war on drugs is either going according to plan and is success all the way; or it's not going very well.It really does depend upon who is doing the measuring. You would have thought that 'know your enemy' would be an essential prerequisite for any military operation. However, something is wrong. For what ever the 'success' of these Caribbean patrols the fact is UK prisons are awash with drugs. The logo on EUReferendum says 'Regime Change Begins At Home', indeed it does. So start on the prisons?

As usual EUReferendum is very supportive of the armed services and says -

I bet there are an awful lot of people who were cursing Brown over his "meanness" on defence spending, and went rushing to the polls to vote Tory in order to get a better deal for the Forces.

Ah well, there's a thing, this bet could be money lost! They do say all politics is local. On that score it is hard to imagine an awful lot of people who are bothered about what is happening in the Caribbean sea. They are more likely to look around their own district and see opportunities to spend money. But then they might also put Gordon Brown's meanness alongside the navy's madness and curse them both. It may suit some to blame the last government for the folly of not one but two stupidly expensive aircraft carriers, but no aircraft, but for the fact they did not act alone. The navy would have been with them every step of the way, so curse them both.

And there's more, the Guardian also tells us -

The navy operates with ships from other countries, including the US, the Netherlands and France. Its patrols in the area have made a significant impact on drug trafficking.

So it's not any old ship but it's that other 'special relationship' again, it's the prototype EU navy in the shape of France and the Netherlands on manoeuvres. And just to confuse things the original special relationship, with the US as well, oh what sailors get up to when they are away from home; this is 'vital' to UK interests alright!

For this is implied by Gisela Stuart,

A Labour member of the commons defence committee, condemned the move. "My view is that where we have a national interest, and a historic responsibility and where we can make a difference, we should act. Countering drugs smuggling in an area which covers British territories falls into that category. As an island we rely on our navy to ensure national security. It seems to me to be a short term decision that is simply wrong.

Well thank heaven Stuart is a member of the commons defence committee otherwise it would look like an even bigger case of simple opportunism. For she is a Midlands MP without any reason to comment otherwise. But then no doubt she and others on the commons defence committee have been energetically lobbied by all the branches of the armed services.

And have you ever come across a public servant, in uniform or not, who thinks other than the sky will fall in if spending is cut in 'their' area? Now that's a form of dependency which makes you wonder about these 'war on drug' patrols. Also it's usual to describe 'our' islands of the Caribbean as 'British Dependencies'. Well yes, so how long does this habit go on and when do they start looking after themselves?

But then it's the same here at home and with the local councils. The Spectator has an article showing how councils are still intent on spending large sums of money -

In truth, many councils are politicking while continuing to feather the nest, and there are myriad other instances of waste and intransigence. In North Lincolnshire, councillors of all stripes are resisting moves to publish details of expenditure on councillors and middle managers, an area of spending that increased by 20 percent between 2006 and 2009. Elsewhere, councils use ratepayers’ money to fund expensive private health insurance policies for their top officials.

Public money, the most powerful drug known and once hooked it's hard to give it up.