Keeping Britain Safe

I find this story a bit pathetic:

A flotilla of Russian warships is passing through the English Channel en route to Syria.

Two British naval ships are shadowing the vessels. The Ministry of Defence said they would be “man-marked every step of the way” while near UK waters.

The ships are within international waters but Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK would “be watching as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe”.

Oh please.  As if the Russian carrier is suddenly going to hang a right and splurge little green men all over Kent.  This is just an opportunity for the Defence Minister to sound tough and the Royal Navy to show that it’s still relevant.

The UK’s Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan, escorted by the Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond, steamed from Portsmouth on Tuesday to track the Kuznetsov group as it headed south from the Norwegian Sea.

Why?  To give them something to do which might be slightly less humiliating than being captured by Iranians and made to cry?

Sending a large Russian flotilla through the North Sea and the English Channel sends a clear message to the West: anything you can do, we can do just as well – or even better.

You don’t need to be a supporter of the Russian military or their actions in Syria to find this ridiculous: the English Channel is the most logical route to follow.  Did the Belgians send any ships out?  The French?  This isn’t the Channel Dash.  Next time just ignore them, eh?

And this amused:

A Russian tug, believed to be in convoy with the taskforce, entered the channel first off the coast near Ramsgate.

As Streetwise Professor is fond of pointing out, the Russian navy can’t go anywhere without its rescue tug.  The accompanying video of the Admiral Kuznetsov shows columns of black smoke belching from its twin funnels, a feature which probably wouldn’t have helped the Japanese at Midway.  Neither navy comes across particularly well in this report.

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19 thoughts on “Keeping Britain Safe

  1. Probably has more to do with this than anything else of late.

    Maybe the Russian navy isn’t our biggest worry but Russia is high on the list. Everyone laughed at Mitt Romney when he called them our number one geopolitical foe. Now they’re the bugaboo behind every negative email about Hillary.

  2. Duffy,

    I don’t disagree that we ought to be taking Russia seriously. But that farce in the English Channel is likely to have the opposite effect.

  3. Christ, I find the sort of posing that the government/RN are indulging in so disheartening. I’d like to think that, just occasionally, there are adults in charge, but clearly there aren’t. Playground posturing: just pathetic.

  4. I understand that an enterprising fish and chip shop owner sent out a boat advertising half price to all Ivan’s if they wanted to call into their shop in Dover, but was turned back by the RN as local advertising was not allowed outside the 3 mile limit. The bastards!

  5. Hey, Tim-Thanks again for the props.

    It is beyond absurd. People who mere months ago ridiculed anyone who pointed out Russian revanchism are now losing control of their bowels when a shambolic fleet trolls it’s way through the Channel.

    Ironically, many of those same people are responsible for the fact that the British Navy is a shadow of its former self bobbing along in the Kuznetsov’s wake, precisely because they were convinced that history is dead and that great power machinations were a thing of the past. Now they are shocked! SHOCKED! that Putin didn’t get the memo.

    This is a fitting commentary on their hubris.

  6. It seems like Russia is taking a big risk by going right through the Channel. If any of their old wrecks broke down, it would sure be embarrassing to request help from anyone.

  7. I understand that an enterprising fish and chip shop owner sent out a boat advertising half price to all Ivan’s if they wanted to call into their shop in Dover,

    Bwahahaha!

  8. If any of their old wrecks broke down, it would sure be embarrassing to request help from anyone.

    Can you imagine the rescue operation? It would be like watching one of those videos of OAPs fighting as decrepit, undermanned, and hopelessly PC militaries squabbled over conflicting protocols.

    Eventually they’d call in a Dutch private sector salvage company who’d have it out of there by lunchtime.

  9. @ David Moore,

    That video is hilarious! What a rust bucket. That must have been posted as a piss-take, surely?

  10. Wouldn’t the Black Sea fleet have been more convenient, or is it impractible (politically or otherwise) for it to pass through the Bosphorus or the Dardanelles?

  11. Simon Jester,

    I think the Black Sea fleet is even more decrepit than the flotilla they are sending from Murmansk, and they don’t have an aircraft carrier. As I said at the time, the excuse that Russia needed to take over Crimea because their port at Sevastopol was being threatened with closure was bollocks of the highest order.

  12. And yet, they have an aircraft carrier, with actual aircraft operating from it-something yUK cannot manage.
    Laugh it up all you want, your super modern “fleet” rarely gets to sea as it spends most of it’s time in maintenance or refit. If it don’t move-paint it, todays Royal Navy.

  13. “And yet, they have an aircraft carrier, with actual aircraft operating from it-”

    Which put’s Russia’s fleet at about the level of Brazil, Thailand, or Italy.

  14. Cascadian,

    Yes, my post would have been a lot more balanced if I’d criticised the decrepit state and non-existent abilities of the Royal Na…oh wait, I did.

  15. Tim, I found your original post balanced and fair, my comment was aimed at the jingoistic commenters who seem to be unaware that war ships serve the purpose of making war (or discouraging it). Shiny toys that cannot operate or are not properly equipped, pretty much sum up todays yUK. My apologies for not being clearer.

    David, if you are pleased to be less capable than the Brazilian or Thailand fleet, that is your prerogative.

  16. No apology required, your blog, your rules.

    I make a point of reading grumpy blogs, it assures me the writer has a grip on reality-nobody can view today’s world and be happy.

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