söndag 6 juli 2008

Britain to get two super-carriers

The UK is to purchase two new aircraft carriers at a cost of £4 billion. Another £12 billion is to be spent on aircraft for the ships. Meanwhile, the Army is hoping to spend £14 billion on a new generation of armoured vehicles. That is enough to pay for hundreds of miles of much-needed new and upgraded railway.

Asked about the cost and whether it was justified, Admiral Band said that although the present focus was on two land campaigns - Iraq and Afghanistan - it was vital to invest in the future, 15 or 20 years ahead, and he envisaged carriers playing a crucial role in projecting power and protecting Britain’s global interests.

Reading all this, nobody would think that Britain was a country that was grossly overcrowded into about one-third of its land area, with an economy that is chronically sick but currently running into one of its periodic crises, where young people could not afford a place to start a family, with a creaking infrastructure, a rotten school system and a democratic deficit, a consequence of the electoral system. All that is to say nothing of rising crime and unrest in cities where the underclass areas are dividing up into territories according to the ethnic origin of the majority of their residents, and which could easily erupt into bloodshed on the streets and most probably will.

The time when the UK was a great and wealthy power with an important empire is long past, but there seems to be a refusal to acknowledge this most obvious of facts and to try to find its appropriate place in the world. The delusion of being a big power refuses to go away. What would it take to make the people who run Britain face reality? Other countries of comparable size do not seem to feel the need to protect what they call their "global interests" in this way so what is so special about Britain? Or are these "global interests" a way of keeping attention away from the problems at home?

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