Tuesday, 17 January 2012
I See No Ships
The discussion on whether to replace the Royal Yacht “Britannia” currently listing in Leith Harbour is giving rise to the usual chatter about Royalty, money and taxpayers. Many argue because such a vessel can be used for all sorts of other things this offsets the costs.
This begs a number of questions; such as if there are other things needed why not have the relevant type of ship rather than a one size fits all? The old “Britannia” did good work in the Falklands in 1982 as a hospital vessel but why was such a back up ship needed?
There was another Royal “Britannia”, built in 1893, pictured above and see Wikipedia. It was a lot smaller than the recent one but was built strictly for racing and not for comfort or long distance transport. In its time it gained a lot more attention and favourable comment at a lot less cost. It was also fun for its handlers.
One part of the debate is whether such a vessel should be state (taxpayer) funded or private funded. If it is built with private money, then who is paying? In the end this means consumers, maybe shareholders and if tax breaks or some subsidised companies are involved then certainly the taxpayer will be taking a whack.
My suggestion is that a very big, very rich and very powerful company should buy one of a couple of aircraft carriers that will be going spare in the near future. The company could use it as a base for all its private jets, transport and as a floating main frame back up facility.
This could be offset by a below decks shopping mall available to go anywhere to serve consumers with disposable incomes, credit cards and overdraft facilities as well as private health clinics and fitness clubs.
It could be hired out to major firms or high level celebrities with large entourages and a substantial media following, for example, Blair Corp. This might offset our normal security bills.
Occasionally, the Royal Family might use it for their international travels. Prince Andrew need no longer rely on his air miles to help UK trading here or there or somewhere else.
So which aircraft carrier will have the honour of being “Barclay’s Britannia”?