SNP Admirals Love Big Lizzie

The ‘pro-indy’ party’s defence spokesman worships Brexit Britain’s new warships

The biggest naval deployment by Britain since the Falklands War began with massive multinational war games off the north-west coast of Scotland. Soon the Carrier Strike Group will reach the hotly contested South China Sea. Its transit through traditional international shipping lanes – now being claimed as territorial waters by Beijing – will doubtless be hailed by the White Commonwealth Press as a sign that Britannia rules the waves again. Especially since this armada – made up of nine ships, 32 aircraft and 3,700 personnel – is being led by the largest and most powerful vessel in the Royal Navy’s history. A warship that was named HMS Queen Elizabeth at Rosyth on 4 July 2014 – barely two months before the independence referendum, would you believe?

Big Lizzie is what this 65,000-ton aircraft carrier was instantly dubbed by the Daily Mail. Monarchy and military is always a delicious combo for the daily Bible of Middle England. Equally so for the BBC. Expect one of Auntie’s dish monkeys to be dancing on Big Lizzie’s deck with great excitement when it enters Asia’s cauldron. Like a BBC correspondent just happened to be aboard HMS Defender when it detached from this daunting strike force to enter waters off the coast of Crimea now claimed by the Kremlin. Poking the Russian bear then tweaking the Chinese dragon’s tail. Who can still doubt that post-Brexit Britain is brave and buccaneering?

There is, of course, no grand geopolitical strategy beneath the surface bravado. He might have rattled off a book about Britain’s wartime titan, but blundering Boris is no Winston Churchill. This is far more about desperately chasing commercial deals than countering any serious threats to our national security. A bit of proxy naval posturing on behalf of the American Empire cannot harm Downing Street’s hopes of swinging a favourable trade deal with Washington. But the real economic driver behind this Far East power display is to shore up one of the few surviving fortresses of British manufacturing – the military-industrial complex. Hailed by the defence secretary as “a floating piece of sovereign territory that can sail over 70% of the world’s surface”, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s primary purpose for now is to serve as a massive floating arms fair. Something about which the government Minister overseeing it was not apologetic when challenged in the Commons to justify the MoD’s ‘Indo-Pacific tilt’:

I am not ashamed at all that this deployment will also be linked to trade. I am proud of standing on British-made equipment, made by Scottish hands, and English, Welsh and Northern Irish hands…We should be really proud that we will be showing that off to the world.

The UK defence secretary Ben Wallace was reminding the SNP’s defence spokesman Stewart McDonald that this gargantuan flagship – which will interact with over 40 different countries during its 26,000-nautical-mile global tour – was assembled in Scotland (along with HMS Prince of Wales). The member for Glasgow South – whom I have characterised in a previous post as Clydeside’s New Cold Warrior (see link below) – just felt these two giant carriers should be dispatched in the first instance to address “the threat we have in our own backyard”. By that he did not mean the toxic soup that has been flowing from Polmadie Burn into the Clyde for some time but the Russian navy’s occupation of Crimean ports on the Black Sea:

The Defence Secretary knows that that is the kind of tilt that I and my party want to see. What assurances can he give us that we will not be left open closer to home?

Probably none. There is absolutely nothing, I suspect, Ben Wallace, Big Lizzie (or anybody else) could do to convince Stewart McDonald that the Russians aren’t coming. His mind seems to have been permanently altered since he went on a shady junket to Ukraine. “Delusional” is how Mr McDonald was branded by the UK defence secretary recently when he demanded that the MoD should be “permanently basing surface warships within Scottish waters”.

Tight squeeze beneath the Forth rail bridge for HMS Elizabeth as it returns to Rosyth naval dockyard

For supporters of independence, that should trigger some alarm. Last September Mr McDonald assured SNP conference delegates that he had “spent a lot of time since 2014” getting to know how other small countries manage to defend their own coastal waters:

While I’m not going to give anything away on that front, it seems uncontroversial to say that Scotland is – and will long be – a maritime nation. With a sea area of around 470,000km² and around 60% of current UK waters, Scotland has a longer coastline than France and would have the fourth largest core waters of any European state.

How the Sturgeon regime could suddenly assemble a Scottish naval fleet to police and defend all of that – after struggling for several years to build two ferries – is something Mr McDonald will certainly keep to himself for as long as possible. The task is totally beyond their mental capabilities, of course, which is why Mr McDonald is not in a position to share any serious blueprint for separate Scottish defence forces of any sort with party members. But even the minor hypothetical danger of Scotland’s naval dockyards not being able – because of the break-up of Britain – to complete any orders picked up in the Indo-Pacific region could be a very real commercial handicap, particularly for Rosyth.

Just over two years ago, it was reported that an Indian delegation had visited this construction facility on the Forth to explore the possibility of a ‘copycat supercarrier’ being assembled in the same place as HMS Queen Elizabeth II and HMS Prince of Wales.The Indian Naval Service has been apparently eager for some time to acquire another such vessel to counter China’s expanding footprint in the Indian Ocean. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic the decision to commission has been delayed until this September. But that crunch deadline is now just two months away. Unless, of course, New Delhi’s doctrinal commitment to a three-carrier navy is shelved indefinitely. The INS Vishal (Hindi for immense) might be deemed an immense extravagance. In his first major interview, in February 2020, India’s first chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat stated:

One (new) aircraft carrier will be on the seas next year. You look at when do you really need a third one. If you get a third one, how many years will it take for it to develop? Even if you place the order for 2022 or 2023, it is not coming before 2033. Also, aircraft carrier is not just a carrier. Along with it will have to come the aircraft. Where are the aircraft coming from? Along with that we will need the armada protection for that aircraft carrier. It does not happen overnight.

It takes a helluva long time to happen in Whitehall – even after sinking £6bn into such a ‘great power’ vanity project. Log onto the official HMS Queen Elizabeth Twitter site and you’ll find them tweeting about how it is “absolutely awe inspiring to watch, hear and feel!” The truth about this awesome carrier is that Britain does not possess enough fighter aircraft for it to carry. It may have the capacity for 36 F-35B lightning jets, but on its flight desk at present as it roars towards the South China Sea is half that number – operated not just by joint RAF and Royal Navy 617 squadron but also by the US Marine corp.

In June last year, the National Audit Office also spotlighted ongoing problems in developing the airborne early warning radar – and building the logistics ships – needed to support this flagship vessel. As if all that wasn’t enough to worry about, the watchdog body raised serious questions about future funding, warning:

The MoD also needs to get a firmer grip on the future costs of carrier strike. By failing to understand their full extent, it risks adding to the financial strain on a defence budget that is already unaffordable.

That warning has never been forcefully echoed by the SNP’s defence spokesman. Instead, Stewart McDonald – and, doubtless, a few other armchair admirals in our dominant ‘pro-indy’ party – just want to see Big Lizzie being sent thundering from Scotland to the Black Sea.

You can comment on this latest post below this link to a previous related one:

14 thoughts on “SNP Admirals Love Big Lizzie

    1. Very possibly. Would you like to see that happen?

      Don’t be coy. Give me an honest answer. I’m curious you see.

      Like

      1. Do pay attention. The post says exercises with HMS Queen Elizabeth is more about arms sales than sabre-rattling. An aircraft carrier is all about projecting military power at long range. Unfortunately due to advances in technology they are an obsolete as a weapons platform and can now quiet easily sunk with hypersonic missiles against which there is currently no known defence. Anyone sending a battle group with aircraft carriers against the Chinese or the Russians for that matter, is going to find their multi-billion dollar toy turned into scrap metal in pretty short order. If the British Government is interested in arms sales it should be pouring money into automated missile platforms which could be deployed in large numbers. Anything else is living in the past. Rule Britannia…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I can’t answer you direct Stuart as the machine won’t let me.

        I’m asking for your personal opinion. Frightful, ain’t it? Tell me true.

        Like

  1. Just because England still thinks it rules the waves it doesn’t mean an independent Scotland has to measure itself against such ludicrous dreaming. Independence first and foremost. We can build what ships we need, with or without guns, later. The best form of defence against such English willy-waving is ridicule, pure and simple. Stewart McDonald should concentrate on taking the p!ss out of England and its Lizzie-livered launch at every opportunity.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I doubt that Asian countries will want to buy UK made warships, the Asian country of South Korea, knocks ships out far cheaper and quicker. I hope the Chinese navy does to the English Imperialists what the Russian one did to HMS Defender.

    As for the SNP’s MP Stewart MacDonald he’s a Westminster useful idiot, he’s now so deeply embedded in Westminster’s agenda, that whatever he did in Ukraine for the USA/UK, he received the Ukrainian Order of Merit, a ceremony was held in London to pin the medal on this fool.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The SNP ruling clique has bought heavily into old Brit imperialist stock, militarism, Brit exceptionalism, monarchy, anglosphere and mythic special relationships. Effectively they are tartan Brits.
    Viva North Brit Nationalism!
    Why are they allowed to peddle this secondhand anglocentric tawdry?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The sabre rattlers. Always the first to send other people’s sons and daughter into conflict and harms way. There should be a law. That the sabre rattlers go first and to the most dangerous part of any conflict and be there until the conflict ends or they are killed in action. If they are killed in action before the conflict ends then their immediate next of kin, no matter who, or what age that happens to be should take their place at the front. And so on and so forth until all are killed in action or the conflict ends. I wonder if that would make a few think twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Before leaving Blighty, Big Lizzie sailed up Loch Long to a newly £64M upgraded munitions jetty to arm itself for the trip. DM Glen Douglas, Western Europe’s biggest munitions store is handily located nearby. Add to that all the naval infrastructure around Holy Loch and the ability to conduct naval exercises off Cape Wrath it’s easy to see our strategic importance to the military and NATO. Scottish independence must be a nightmare for the admiralty.

    I suspect that the SNP hawks are being played just in case to “develop” a plan for leasing these facilities in return for the protection of Scottish naval interests which will evolve to coincide exactly with NATO’s interests.

    Climate change is apparently a military opportunity. The logic being that those subversive Chinese and Russian’s might open new artic trade routes which will have to be policed by the good guys. Maybe Big Lizzie can be redeployed in the future as an icebreaker?

    The carrier strike PR cruise returns after the autumn climate summit in Glasgow. What is the cost to the environment of a 26000 mile flotilla is in CO2 emissions? I wondered if the MoD were exempt from climate change targets. On the contrary, “Defence aims to champion a culture of sustainability across its community, by mitigating environmental impact whilst maintaining critical military outputs. By 2050, and as part of the UK-wide Climate Change Strategy, defence aims to blah blah”. Well at least they have a target to aim at for a change.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stewart McDonald, the Tenerife holiday rep, spouting off on international matters, like he has a clue? Maybe he learned about how to defend coastal waters from eckyheids at raves on the Canary Island.

    Hmmm…

    https://archive.vn/B45RN

    “REGISTER OF MEMBERS’ FINANCIAL INTERESTS updates 13 January – 10 February 2020

    McDonald, Stewart Malcolm (Glasgow South)
    4. Visits outside the UK
    Name of donor: Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars
    Address of donor: 1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004, United States
    Estimate of the probable value (or amount of any donation): Return economy flight £826; hotel accommodation for six nights (£171 per night) £1,026; total value £1,852
    Destination of visit: Washington DC, USA
    Dates of visit: 3-9 February 2020
    Purpose of visit: To participate in the donor’s Defeating Disinformation workshop. (Registered 10 February 2020)”

    (Cynics please note: the ‘Defeating Disinformation’ workshop was all of 90 minutes long. Maybe that’s why he’s still talking shite)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting his new report on ‘Disinformation in Scotland’ (the fruits for the 90 whole minutes spent in America mentioned above, I would imagine) disparages Alex Salmond on RT. Oh, and Russia and China too, of course. The usual USA/UK usual suspects list, in other words. Pure unionist propaganda. Make no mistake, the SNP are NOT an independence party, in WAY over their heads. If we had no Trident to store, or natural resources to steal, England and America wouldn’t even spit on us.

      Click to access disinformation-in-scottish-public-life-june-2021.pdf

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mr McDonald is a propagandist for many personal causes, LGBTQ+ and «trans rights», secularism and the sporting of beards, however, assertive advocacy of Scotland’s freedom from the alien régime in London does not seem to be one of them.
        Truly, very much one of Mrs Murrell’s coterie of trusty «beards».

        Liked by 1 person

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