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Sorry to disturb you and apologies for this ‘out of this blue’ strange sounding email, but I was wondering if you know a Mr P Kennedy in relation to a WordPress account? If you do, can you please let me know?
Many thanks and kind regards
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This is the internationally recognised radio message of distress, requesting urgent help. To avoid confusion it must be repeated three times and it requires an immediate response. It is derived from the French for “aid me”. Well it is May and the local election results are being interpreted as a damming verdict of her Government. Theresa is in freefall as she crashes out of Downing Street. If anyone needs to make a distress call it is Theresa May; but will anyone rescue her?
The writing was on the wall at last year’s annual Conservative Party conference. Her staged entrance, as she shimmied on stage to Abba’s Dancing Queen, was more like an audition for Celebrity Come Dancing than her victory march. Bad mistake, as it sent out the wrong message about her EU withdrawal negotiations. Much better to have come on to Queen’s I want to break free. Even before the publication of her Withdrawal Agreement it was clear that the negotiation was a shambles and would not deliver a clean break. The resignations of a Foreign Secretary and two Brexit Secretaries did not bode well. Neither did other resignations from the Cabinet and their replacement as Government Ministers by avowed remainers. You do not achieve unity of purpose that way. One such, Amber Rudd, was in, then out, and in again. Rumours are that the famous door to Number 10 is to be replaced by a revolving door.
Prime Minister May has proved to be a disaster on all fronts, leading a permissive Conservative Executive that is intent on destroying the traditional family. She was one of the architects of same-sex marriage, condones gender-fluidity, and is now allowing no-fault divorce and comprehensive sexuality education – all driven by the LGBTQI+ lobby. That might be her way of erasing the Nasty Party, but by appeasing the minorities lobby she has lost the respect of the majority. Abuses of Public Space Protection Orders, creating buffer zones outside abortion facilities, and overt political correctness that restricts our other freedoms of assembly, expression and speech, do not merit her attention and are not on her radar. She is destroying the Conservative Party just as she is destroying the Country.
This is not a harsh or rushed assessment. When she was elevated to the position of Party Leader and then to Prime Mister we asked a question and observed that it was too early to make a judgement.
We also observed that her future success was dependent on her relationship with Philip Hammond, her Chancellor of the Exchequer. It looks like there was over-dependence and he is bullet-proof. Despite being a remainer he still resides at Number 11. With her talk of ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’ she portrayed herself as Churchill after Dunkirk, resolved to fight the EU negotiators. Turns out she came across as a Chamberlain appeaser. Her crafted image as a statesman is in tatters. Not only has her honesty and integrity been questioned, she has proved that she cannot be trusted and she is irresponsible.
Now in desperation she is looking for Corbyn’s Labour to rescue her and in the process conceding red-lines. She has accepted the bad deal but still says there can be no further referendum. Do not hold your breath. She keeps bringing her Withdrawal Agreement back to the House of Commons and three times it has been rejected. She will put it back to the people in a new referendum because she will not countenance leaving on World Trade Organisation terms and she is hostage to the remainers in the House of Commons.
She has problems in all Government departments. Westminster and Whitehall leak like sieves. So, the Gavingate scandal is mystifying. Talk about self-inflicted wounds!
There is a solution and to use baseball terminology. Three strikes and you are out. No coming back for a fourth try. It just needs umpire Bercow to dismiss her from the batters box and manager Brady to drag her off and substitute her. She can then paddle off in her dingy and seek safety on Celebrity Come Dancing.
Our future lies not in the hands of science but in the hearts of men.
‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.’
In the mid 1950s the British Broadcasting Corporation produced and televised a series of fifteen programmes – War in the Air – covering the Second World War. The 14th dealt with the postwar period and the 15th recalled the relatively short history of the Royal Air Force and its predecessors. This also looked to the future based on the jet engine and guided missile, and the atomic and hydrogen bomb. With a focus on the Arctic Circle it conjectured; whether this is to be a new link between us or our last battlefield, depends not on the machines we fly but on ourselves. It concluded with a view of the General Assembly at the United Nations and of a young girl walking in to the bombed ruin of Coventry Cathedral. The voice over hopefully spoke the words in the opening paragraph above.
The 1950s saw the folly of misguided judgements in relation to defence policy. Among these was a conviction in the demise of the manned warplane and its replacement by and reliance on guided missiles; both misplaced. Another saw the nuclear navy as the future and Royal Navy planning was directed to that end. While the US Navy embraced nuclear powered vessels with enthusiasm and built nuclear aircraft-carriers, cruisers and submarines. The RN by force of circumstances was restricted to building submarines powered by nuclear reactors. Even then the disadvantages were not fully understood and the legacy remains with us as every Royal Navy nuclear submarine built is still afloat [except for Courageous the museum vessel] and in long-term storage awaiting dismantling and disposal.
The submarine service is called the silent service for obvious reasons. Submersible boats are intended to be unobtrusive and undetected. Originally they were boats that travelled on the surface and submerged for short periods. Now, especially with nuclear power, they spend all their time hidden in the depths of the world’s oceans. They have grown in size and weight to become underwater cruisers. Little is known about their operations as the RN and MoD remain silent and will not comment on them for security reasons. This makes it difficult to be confident about anything relating to them and formulate a policy for the future. So, lets start at the end.
It is not going to happen anytime soon, but if you want to see how naval matters could be better handled then go back to the future. That is, the 19th Century when Great Britain was at the height of its worldwide power with an extensive empire that required sea routes for trade; and they needed protecting. The Royal Navy was central to foreign and colonial policy, with that underpinned by the two-power standard. This required the RN to be maintained in strength equal to the naval strength of the next two greatest powers. At that time France and Russia. As things go the powers to be, as ever, were reluctant to fund [tax and spend] that policy with the RN slipping below the standard.
That was rectified with the Naval Defence Act 1889 when the two-power standard was legally endorsed. The Act provided £21.5 million for the construction over five years of 10 battleships, 42 cruisers and 18 other vessels. Seven ships of the Royal Sovereign class were launched in just two years; the most powerful battleships in the world in terms of firepower, armour and speed. Their effectiveness was increased by operating in squadrons.
Faced by a Government with foreign and defence policies that want the RN to be everywhere and doing everything, but will not fund those aspirations, they are spreading the jam very thin. They have committed to the replacement of the nuclear deterrent at the expense of the conventional deterrent. We have always been clear that faced with making a choice our priority would be for the surface fleet to be adequately provided with aircraft carriers and commando carriers. The number of vessels to be determined by the extent of their potential operations, which due to the normal rotation programme would require a minimum of three ships for each role. The further those ships have to travel and the longer they are away from home port, the more ships are required. This also assumes that there is an additional requirement for commando landing craft carriers. When those carriers are required to carry out both functions the requirement must be for a minimum of five strike carrier ships; and even then there must be additional dock landing ships and helicopter carrying ships. It is not at all clear how the Government is going to achieve its Global Agenda.
European Union waters will be severely constrained following Brexit. The vessels of Baltic and Benelux countries will have to transit United Kingdom waters to reach the high seas; or go the long way via the waters of the Faroe Islands, Norway and Iceland. In peacetime, and with compliance of the rules of innocent passage, this should not be a problem. In a war scenario the situation will be very different. Assuming that NATO is not undermined by the new EU army and defence union, it can be anticipated that the only credible threat to the UK mainland would come from the air-force and navy of the Russian Federation. Because of treaty obligations the UK would be obliged to respond to aggression anywhere against a NATO partner. In reality the priority for the UK would be to stop the Russian Navy reaching the high seas of the North Atlantic through the Greenland Iceland United Kingdom (GIUK) gap, and the Russian Airforce coming down the coast of Norway in to the North Sea or via the west coast of Ireland. The next priority would be to deter or oppose an anticipated invasion by the Russian Army across its land border with Norway by the deployment of airborne and amphibious forces. Given the current state of the UK armed forces this is a big ask, especially for the Royal Navy that is being stretched like an elastic band and in danger of snapping.
Back in 2007 we focused our defence policy on the RN as the priority for an island Nation that is reliant on sea-borne trade and keeping sea-routes open. This was not intended to be to the detriment of the RAF or Army and implied that defence spending needed to be increased. The policy proposed an alternative approach for providing a deterrent to nuclear attack and a reassessment of the submarine service. The decline of the RN was evident and needed to be reversed; and that decline has continued under all governments. Our solution was for a naval shipbuilding programme and a positive review of the RN amphibious and aircraft-carrier capability. Last year it seemed that out foresight had been rewarded with the approval of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Unfortunately, the Government did not put its money where its mouth is.
‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger.’
And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to men who enjoy his favour.’
The message of the angel of the Lord to the terrified shepherds in the fields, as told to us in the Gospel of Luke.
This message comes to us through the ages and is as relevant to us today, as we are faced daily with scare stories concerning many issues. Much of this is fake news intended to deceive and cause alarm. In temporal matters the government message should once again be, ‘Keep calm and carry on’. For us the message has always been, ‘do not be afraid’.
We have special regard for our families and friends in Ireland. Keep the Faith.
A Holy and Peaceful Christmas is our wish for all people throughout the world.