Friday, 31 October 2008
Give me Victory!
Having finally given in to the demands of my children I've subscribed to Sky TV. There are literally now 100's of channels pouring into the 50inch plasma screen (known as "the Beast") which dominates the TV Room. Some of the channels are literally unbelievable, "Movies for Men" caught my eye but it didn't show the sort of programming I was expecting, it appears to be none stop Westerns or War Films!
HD is quite impressive, but not sure it's worth the extra £10 a month. However the Military History Chanel is a definite favourite bookmark. Their series on the Royal Navy is something I would definitely recommend. I didn't know for example that it was a statutory requirement at the beginning of the last century that the Royal Navy must maintain in commission a navy bigger than the combined fleets of the second and third largest navies in the world. This law was only repealed in 1921 when the USA decided to out build the British Empire and so began a navy build up we couldn't match. It was also revealed that we owe the fact we have a navy at all these days to Argentina. If they had waited another year to invade the Falklands then our navy would have been so gutted and downsized by the Tory Government that we could never have taken the islands back. It was only the public reaction after the Falklands that enabled the Royal Navy to hang on as anything more than a glorified coast guard.
The Navy may now be getting two new aircraft carriers (well over due!) but it still faces savage cuts, this time from Labour under Brown. MoD penny-pincher's have the official flagship of the Navy's Commander in Chief in their sights. This role has been filled since 1889 by HMS Victory. The MoD want the Navy to end centuries of tradition by abandoning running the celebrated vessel, which lures 500,000 visitors a year to its dry dock in Portsmouth. The Navy spends £1.5million a year on its upkeep, a tiny sum in the greater scheme of things, to maintain this magnificent ship that means so much to both naval people and the whole nation.
Selling Victory to a private firm could turn it into a Disneyland type attraction and that would make a mockery of Britain’s naval heritage.
Since a campaign has been launched to save The Victory for the nation the MoD has back pedaled a little, now insisting there was no question of Victory being flogged off, but they do admit that her future is to be reviewed like any other warship. A spokesman stressed: “We are looking at a range of funding options.”