Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Have deckchair, will sail!

My mother, as I reported, bought me a deck chair.

Now that the government's decided to build new aircraft carriers but not put any aircraft on them (and to sell the billion-pound vehicle after three years), I have a deck on which to place my chair. This ship is going to wander around the world with absolutely nothing to do, then be sold off at a catastrophic loss if it isn't sunk by Afghan mujahideen first.

The Royal Navy will have to wait 10 years until as many as 50 new joint striker aircraft can be launched using the catapult and trap system – "cat and trap" – from the new Prince of Wales aircraft carrier. This will be the second of the new aircraft carriers to be built at a combined cost of £5.9bn. The first aircraft carrier – the Queen Elizabeth – will be in service between 2016-19 as a helicopter carrier before it is mothballed, known as "extended readiness", and possibly sold off.
Really, what an utter waste of time and money. Why not employ all those shipbuilders in making science research vessels or free yachts for all? If the money's to be spent, spend it on something useful.

Still, anyone for deck tennis? Quoits? We're going to have a lot of fit, suntanned sporty sailors ready for the Olympics!

Oh yes: this just in from the Department of Bullshit

Cameron later reassured Barack Obama that Britain would remain a "first rate military power and a robust ally of the US".


Benjamin Judge said...

You keep mentioning how the UK is not a "first rate/top rank" military power. We have at least 160 nuclear warheads which is more than enough to trigger a mass extinction event. Surely at this point all notions of ranking go out the window somewhat.

I propose the following system.

1 (or top rank) capability to kill everything that has a body mass above 10 grams.

2 everyone else.

Britain is in 1. You cannot really argue that we should get rid of our nuclear weapons because we are no longer a major military power. We are still a major military precisely because we still have nuclear weapons. It doesn't matter if you stamp on a cake once or a thousand times, you will still ruin the birthday party.

I am 100% opposed to nuclear weapons. (well, 87%) I am also 100% opposed to emotional arguments in politics. Stick to the facts Vole.

The Plashing Vole said...

I see your point, but I disagree.

Leading military officers have said that the nuclear arsenal is pointless: it won't be used. I hope that's true. If it is true, then Britain's position is much lower in the ranking.

Secondly, Britain is lower in the rankings because it physically can't operate, fire and replenish the nuclear arsenal without American permission - it's a secondary power.

No emotion in politics? Really? Slavery was a great economic force if you were a slave owner or cotton trader. Empathy is what got rid of it.

Benjamin Judge said...

There is surely a difference between ethics and emotion, no?

Slavery is evil because it is a system by which humans are made the property of other humans and forced to live an appalling life. That is a fact. You don't need to tell me you feel bad about it for it to be true.

Oh, and way to massively simplify the abolition of slavery. Nothing at all to do with British manufacturers being undercut by America/ the South trying to leave the Union/ the teething problems of a young political system in America/ the complications of a federal union/ the need for certain uniform laws within a federal system/ opportunist Unionist politicians and generals/ non slave owners in Britain trying to gain a moral high ground for political gain/ a powerful church trying to gain back power lost to government etc etc etc...

Nuclear weapons are slightly more problematic ethically than slavery (I'm sure you disagree on that point, and I'm relatively sure that is why you brought the subject up.) Slavery is obviously wrong in every occasion. There is a place for ethical argument with nuclear weapons; "I don't like them because they are bad" is not an ethical argument.

Right, I'm bored now. Tell us about how you are boycotting the Belle & Sebastian album now please. Those unforgivable, corporate, whisky advertising, capitalists.

The Plashing Vole said...

Slave Trade Act banning slavery in the UK: 1807.
Slavery Abolition Act banning the trade: 1833.
US Civil War: 1865.

The British didn't ban slavery for complicated reasons: they banned it for emotional reasons, against the howls of the slave-owning industries such as shipping and sugar.

I don't want to argue heatedly about this, but you're making the case that some things are inherently evil (Kant's categorical imperative). This may be so, but you're applying your sense of what's intrinsically evil to a situation in which massive numbers of people didn't think it was.

The abolition of the trade, certainly in the UK and eventually extended to UK interests, was because Wilberforce explicitly invoked empathy, the emotional argument.

I agree that slavery is wrong, but that's because I'm the product of an anti-slavery culture. Wilberforce et. al were the products of a pro-slavery culture and they had to appeal to emotion to end the trade.

Benjamin Judge said...

You said slavery, not the slave trade. You do like to change your arguments as you go along don't you?

Anyway, stop changing the subject. Why are you not writing to Stuart Murdoch? Why only the Express & Star.

Dear Belle and Sebastian,

why oh why do you allow your songs to be used in advertising? etc etc

The Plashing Vole said...

If you want to go to that level of nitpicking, I'll point out that slavery hasn't been abolished.

Quite frankly, I suspect that Belle and Sebastian know very well that they've made moral compromises by advertising. I won't buy any more of their products, as I already said.