The ongoing correspondence in the FT on the two new aircraft carriers reflects the ongoing debate about Britain’s role in the world. If Richard Bassett (letters yesterday) is to be believed,
“A Royal Navy without these carriers, limited to its present few capital ships and a submarine nuclear deterrent entirely dependent on US satellite navigation, would resemble little more than a provincial coastguard.”
Contrast this to Sir John Graham today,
“It is no good beggaring the other military forces and indeed the navy itself, in order to provide a capability of debatable value. Unless we as taxpayers are prepared to spend more on defence, as I believe we must, there is surely a need for further debate about priorities, whatever our present government may have said in the past.”
Although my money remains on the carriers going ahead, to keep jobs in Labour constituencies, perhaps the argument will be won. The problem, however, is highlighted by Phillip Stephens in his article in the FT yesterday: “the government’s reluctance to acknowledge choices”.