Still Keeping Britain Safe

I see the Royal Navy is talking tough about Russians again:

A British frigate shadowed a Russian warship through the North Sea near UK waters on Christmas Day, the Royal Navy has revealed.

“Near” UK waters. If this chart is accurate, that could be well out into the Atlantic or up towards the Arctic circle.

HMS St Albans monitored the Admiral Gorshkov’s “activity in areas of national interest”, it said.

Uh-huh. Shame stopping boatloads of illegal immigrants reaching Europe isn’t considered in the national interest, isn’t it?

The Admiral Gorshkov, a new guided-missile frigate, is still undergoing trials, Russian media report.

Is there any reason to believe this isn’t true? What else could it be doing? Looking to launch a guided missile at Rockall?

The Royal Navy says there has been a recent “upsurge in Russian units transiting UK waters”.

Numbers please. Russia has been active in Syria for quite some time, and the quickest way from one to the other by sea is via the English Channel – an international waterway Russia has every right to use. Short of details, this statement looks like a weak attempt to justify the continued existence of the Royal Navy.

HMS St Albans was sent on Saturday to “keep watch on the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passed close to UK territorial waters”, the Royal Navy said.

In case of what?

“I will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression,” Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said.

“Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests.”

Oh please! We heard all this tough-sounding crap from Michael Fallon last year when a handful of Russian ships went through the Channel. Do these idiots think we’ve forgotten the Royal Navy’s capitulation to the Iranians in 2007? Or that we haven’t noticed the absolute last thing our political class is interested in is “protecting our country, our people, and our national interests”?

The Admiral Gorshkov, the first of a new class of multi-role frigates, has still to complete missile tests before entering service with the Russian navy next year, Russian media report.

It has reportedly been sailing regularly between the White Sea off Russia’s northern coast and the Baltic.

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, a former Royal Navy Officer and former Nato commander, describes the deployment of the war ship as “normal”.

He told the BBC: “She’s perfectly entitled to do that under international law. It’s demonstrating the right of innocent passage.”

So why all headlines and mouthing off? Here’s why. The British political classes, having given up completely on protecting Britain’s national interests, believe by jumping on the bandwagon of Russia-bashing they will convince the public otherwise. Nice try.

I half wish the Russians had opened fire, just to see what HMS St Albans would have done in response.

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17 thoughts on “Still Keeping Britain Safe

  1. Could be part of the justification for the increase in the UK defence budget, it seems like the US and Western Europe are tooling up next year.

    “The arms budget in Britain – the world’s fourth biggest defence spender – is expected to edge up 1.2pc to $51.8bn in 2018, continuing the reversal which started in 2017 of a long-running downturn in spending for arms and troops.”

    “Worries about an increasingly ­aggressive Russia – in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 – have made Eastern Europe the region with the fastest growing ­defence spending.”

    Not entirely sure what the poms have to be worried about as Putin is gradually becoming know as a man of healing.

    “Yet others see a strong strain of warmth in Putin. “Easy-going,” encouraging and even healing is the description offered by Yuri Tolstoy, who was one of Putin’s law professors in Leningrad, now St. Petersburg.

    Tolstoy, 90, says the 65-year-old president visited him this fall after he received Russia’s highest civilian honor.

    “I must say that after the recent meeting with Vladimir Putin, my health has improved. He has filled me with life energy,” Tolstoy told The Associated Press.”

    Note the halo:

  2. “upsurge in Russian units transiting UK waters”: why is the RN using American English and American spelling?

  3. Williamson is clearly trying to be a bit of a political poser. He’s generating a headline a week about being ‘tough’ at the moment. The private pike jibes must have touched a nerve.

    Still haven’t made my mind up on him.

  4. “Short of details, this statement looks like a weak attempt to justify the continued existence of the Royal Navy.”

    The forces of both the USA and the UK are Potemkin forces. On the one hand, designed to give the nervous types a good night’s sleep, on the other hand, a plaything to allow various types of corruption. What they are not is fighting machines built around either conquering territory or defending the nation. You can’t defend a nation with things like Eurofighters, or the military spending money on various identity politics campaigns, or a ban on landmines.

    Much like the police, a lot of their existence is unjustified. The police keep complaining that their budget isn’t going up, but who’s noticing? No-one. We still need a bit of military, but not half as much as they think it does.

    Why would Putin want to go to war with us? The old reasons for war were land, when nearly all wealth was about growing food. But even then, Russia never cared about us. They grabbed bits of Poland. Because who wants to get food for the people from 3000 miles away?

    It’s like this crap:

    “Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the UK’s defence staff, said earlier this month that Britain and Nato needed to prioritise protecting the lines of communication.”

    What possible reason would Russia have for severing the undersea cables? This isn’t the cold war. Russia isn’t an ideologically communist/autarky state. You can buy Dysons and iPhones in Moscow. Severing cables would screw with that activity.

  5. Quite right Tim. All this ant-Russia bluster is probably meaningless but nonetheless disturbing.

    We all know the biggest threat to our freedom and security, in or out of the EU, is our own political class.

  6. “The forces of both the USA and the UK are Potemkin forces”

    Its interesting times as we head back to historical norms of Cold War era higher defence budgets, Russia our stated enemy is forecasted to reduce budgets relative to GDP.

    Trump despite the rhetoric of his recent “America First” foreign policy is looking like being a big spending Commander in Chief no doubt appeasing the generals in the White House and incidentally not setting an exit target for Afghanistan either. The biggest budgets are forecast for the Asia-Pacific theatre and Trump for the first time for the US has identified Russia and China as being equal rivals.

    Given that the UK would never act in isolation and would only fight Russia as part of a wider NATO strike you need to consider their military might within the wider NATO context. My best guess on the reasons for the RN sabre rattling against Russia and their move towards more specialled and higher budget aircraft carriers and submarines would signal that they may well be reconfirming their role as the US’s first among NATO equal of its European allies’ defensive strategy against the Russians. All of this done whilst intentionally maintaining a less aggressive stance towards the Chinese threat. And nothing being said about Chinese cyber hacking either.

    “On behalf of Admiral Sir Philip Jones, the First Sea Lord of the British Royal Navy, Rear Admiral Alex Burton extended his warm welcome to the Chinese Navy Escort Taskforce. He said that amid global challenges such as piracy and natural disasters, it is particularly important for British and Chinese armed forces to strengthen cooperation to meet the challenges together. The visit of the Chinese Navy fleet is of historical significance and will further promote the friendly exchanges and cooperation between the two navies.”

  7. There used to be a glorious tradition to naming Royal Navy ships. Victory, Ark Royal, Hood… even my own home city of Sheffield carried its name to war.

    But HMS St Albans? True, I used once to visit the place and admire its cathedral but frankly, is it now part of the reductio ad absurdam of our defence policy to name our fighting ships after small market towns?

    Next up, HMS Wetwang (and indeed, the place exists)

  8. Watcher,i think you will find it is named after the Duke of St.Albans the ship being a type 23 Duke class,i am more concerned about the type 45 HMS Duncan.

  9. Marc, you know full well that he was a Blue Peter presenter and had a role in Flash Gordon. What more do you want?

  10. “Do these idiots think we’ve forgotten the Royal Navy’s capitulation to the Iranians in 2007?”

    But they took away that seaman’s iPod! SOMEONE CALL THE UN!

  11. Watcher
    “But HMS St Albans?”

    Not a patch on;

    HMS Thunderer.
    HMS Audacious
    HMS Indefatigable

  12. What about HMS Snowflake, HMS Tulip, HMS Buttercup etc? The RN had so many ships in WW2 they resorted to some pretty odd names. Though they did draw the line at HMS Pansy (it was changed to HMS Heartease just before commissioning). To be fair to the navy the these Flower class corvettes did sterling service in the battle of the Atlantic but you wonder what the sailors felt about having “HMS Buttercup” on their hats.

  13. I take note of the detail about Duke of St Albans, and of course the Flower class destroyers. Good to be reminded about HMS Indefatigable, and mates too. Good information.

    I believe there was in the 1940’s a bid to name a ship HMS Cromwell. I heard that Churchill stopped that one, er, dead in the water.

    My secret dread is HMS Abbott, though it may not float.

  14. “A British frigate shadowed a Russian warship through the North Sea near UK waters on Christmas Day, the Royal Navy has revealed.”

    When you’re fairly certain someone is going to break down and need a tow, it’s just prudent to stay close to them. Saves time and fuel.

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