“Admiral, I’ve been asked to invite you to choose which of your arms you would prefer me to cut off”

Jun 12, 2012   //   by NavyLookout   //   Articles, blog  //  28 Comments

Ahh come in my dear chap. Firstly Admiral I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work, bravery and sacrifices you have made in service of your country. All my colleagues in Parliament would like to say how proud we are of you and all those serving in our wonderful armed forces. I’m sure you’ll have heard by now, but due to the terrible financial mess left by my predecessor we’ve been forced to make some efficiencies. We spent a whole week conducting a very careful analysis and an in-depth review and here on the back of this fag packet is our new national strategy for defence.

In order to streamline ourselves a little, I’ve been asked to invite you to choose which of your arms you would prefer me to cut off. I know it maybe a little painful in the short-term but I’m sure you agree we have to do this for the long-term good.

I am aware that one of my predecessors cut off your lower leg a few years back and promised you that would be the last round of cuts but, given the global economic climate, we really have no choice. We are all making cutbacks you know, my goodness I’ve even had to start paying the rent on my second home! I really must emphasise that the choice of which arm I cut off is entirely up to you, remember it’s your choice which arm you prioritise, not mine – this government always listens to sound military advice.

I do realise this sort of thing can put a bit of a dampener on your morale but we must focus on the positives… By losing an arm think of the weight it will save, it will make you far more agile, responsive and light on your feet, er.. sorry I mean foot. The marvellous ‘can do attitude’ of the Royal Navy will see you through I’m sure, after all missing body parts never did Nelson any harm.

(Phone rings) Hello… yes of course, absolutely.. right away (Puts phone down) that was my boss, the accountant, he says he has found a few errors on one of his spreadsheets and it’s making things look unbalanced. So we’re going to have to lop off a couple of your toes as well I’m afraid. It’s only minor and you do get to keep your other 3 really good toes.

(A large gorilla knocks on the door an enters the room menacingly). Ah yes this is Barney, I’m sure you’ve met before, he runs the giant global corporation that has a monopoly on our defence manufacturing and I have to share an office with him. What’s that Barney?.. You would like the shirts off our backs… of course. Admiral I’m sure you understand we mustn’t upset Barney, he can cause a lot of trouble if he gets angry. Rest assured he doesn’t dictate policy in any way but he is such a source of wisdom for us when making hard choices. Now Admiral your shirt please…

I know we’re both looking forward to doing this all again in 2015. You’ll be pleased to hear those fine chaps down the hall, your brothers in arms in light blue have been working on a long-term plan with Barney to chop off your head. I can promise you it will be very gentle and you will hardly feel a thing, in fact I really doubt the public will notice at all. Keep your chin up and remember if you’re a good boy, don’t make a fuss and if the economy bounces back, which I’m sure it will, then there is a chance we could avoid such unpleasantness. We may even be able to return one of your children that I took from you.

Now if you would be kind enough to sit still and keep quiet while I go and sharpen my axe…



  • I’m with Val on this one…


  • Scottish independence is partly a comment on the UK’s failure in the post WW2 world to define a role, and above all to provide a stable environment for economic success.
    How can a nation that squanders its industrial capital & position not expect strains along these internal fracture lines?
    The satire makes an important point – it didn’t have to be this way.

    • Yes. That’s why things like the MARS ships going abroad is so wrong, and it does this Country no good. The powers that be have no vision or ambition. I feel if we have built many cruise ships, specialised ships, and other types, this would be a great visual help to the feel good factor of this country. It is only one part though, but when you loose an identity that should not of been decimated, there are repercussions. You only need to read what was in the Guardian a little while ago to see what BAE and politicians want, and tow the line Llyods register types accept. It’s called “Britain’s Last Few Shipbuilders Steer a Course Through the Fiscal Storm”, I came across it by way of the KOFAC website. I personally find it shocking and depressing, as well as wrong.

      • Why? And if we did build them here you can double, triple the cost. And at what cost? 1 or 2 type 26′s?

        • Why would they be double or triple the cost, are you saying that Finland, Germany, Italy etc, who all have vastly higher wage rates than Britain, are subsidised. If Britain built these types of ships, it can be safetly assumed, that facilties would of been very good and up to date, by being in this commercial sector (generally brings in more innovation and efficiency, compared to warship building). It could of also helped keep hull build to a minimum for warship building. Then we could concentrate on the real expence, electronics subsystems and civil servants/officials and politicians. Or are you saying that those Civil servants, and politicians, would be causing delay design changes and generally buggering up commercial shipbuilding also, therefore adding expense to contracts. What are you saying, where’s your proof to this double and triple costs lie.

          • Yes i am saying that, and it is a know fact that shipbuilding in the EU are subsidised. Apart from here in the UK. Also we now don’t have the skills required to build tankers here in the UK.
            Also it might be worth thinking in 3D, i see that the S Koreans (where we sent the order) have ordered 1 RR MT30 for there first new Incheon class frigates. Due to the fact we have ordered the MARS ship’s from them? Up to 36 are needed, and this dose not include exports. Others countrys will take note that not only they have ordered the power pack, but the USN has also ordered them. This, will i have no doubt will encourage other Navy’s do the same thing. Over time this will? this mean UK PLC will earn more than building the ships here in the UK.


        • How do we not have the skills required to build these tankers. Again, how do you know this, you are speaking toss, as this is not the case, and in anycase the whole point would be to produce some more skilled jobs and infrastructure to build these and future ships. How do you know DSME are not recieving subsidy too. I know the contract is not going to plan, I cannot say anymore on that, but it does not surprise me.

          The MT30 is a great package anyway, so why would they not want it. You need good products in the first place, and not just, if you buy this, we’ll buy that type of set up, inwhich we sacrifice an industry. If it’s only a case of them buying because of this, and it’s not really up to snuff, they shouldn’t buy it.

          I’m not on about just these MARS ships, I’m talking about 5, 10, 15, 20…, years time, and the MARS ships are the spur for this.

          • “How do we not have the skills required to build these tankers”
            32 year’s working within the civil marine engineering, specialty crude carriers. Tell’s me we don’t.


        • Also Dave, as I have mentioned in my previous posts. The Wave ships were far cheaper than the smaller German Berlins (taking size and cost into account too) that were built a little earlier. Ok, I know exchange rate needs to be taken into account, but no real look at what the the UK can do with the facilties and possible future facilities has yet been studied. It would not surprise me, but it would others.

        • Yes 32 years. So, you are of a certain age (sorry i don’t want to sound ageist), that I come across. A cannot do type. There were UK companies interested, but were pushed out, A&P Tyne, and BAE Barrow had the capabiltiy, as so often stated in their KOFAC website, who only recently built one of the Waves. I think 32 years tells you, not much. Stay in bed.

        • Dave. The biggest reason is the EU, I know I had the replies from the MOD.

          • Lets get a few fact’s on the tables, NO UK YARD’s put in to build the MARS ships. Uk companys that did want to do the work all said that they would be built abroad. Fact. With some fitting out here in the UK.


        • Dave. UK yards were pushed out of the bidding process. A new eu reg was brought in forcing this on us, and it had become classed as protectionism, FACT. You’ve fallen into the trap my friend. I’m sure if Barrow was not part of this aerospace firm, they would of had the ambition to build here, as had been stated before the 2006/07 rule. A&P did too. Even Pallion were talking about them, and they are not quite big enough for these ships. Please retire, you are the past. Even I am now. Where you see a negative, I see a positive, nothing personal, I’m sure you are a great bloke, no disrespect, but you are one of the problems.

          • “A new eu reg was brought in forcing this on us”
            Would you mind telling me what this reg is.


        • I will endevour to do so.

          European procurement law has required open
          competition for public procurement. The current version of EU procurement law is the
          Public Procurement Regulations 2006, which states that South Korea must be treated in
          the same way as a European (and by default a UK) supplier, as they are members of the
          Government Procurement Agreement within the World Trade Organisation.

          That’s part of my reply from:DE&S Policy Secretariat Ships 1.

          They did not want to comment on the fact that Germany Italy and Netherlands are building their supports ships without this competition rubbish. It also asks the question as to wht the heck are we part of this eu, with all the associated expenses involved in being a member of it.

          • “European procurement law has required open
            competition for public procurement.” Which there was and this dose not stop UK yards from bidding for the work. This dose not put UK yards at a unfair advantage. If this was so, we would see the Type 26′s being built abroad.

            PS. I am no way sticking up for EU Law, infact i donate UK independence party.

        • Dave, oh Dave. By the Government or eu forcing this on UK yards, it meant yards, dependent on mainly warship building were left at a huge disadvantage. UK yards probably wanted to avoid a Harland and Wolff and the QM2 farce, if they had had taken the chance in this unfair bidding. Throwing UK yards in against foreign commercial shipbuilders who have had far more investment, subsidy and favourable conditions is grossly unfair. Ok, no government has made it a policy to state that all of these lucrative contracts have a % put into the yards themselves, and maybe those firms accountants and share holders have a bad influence on this. But a fundamental change can or needs to be made.

          I feel a total change in policy is needed, but it does take many many years. If we carry on like this, I feel we will be even less capable. This eu has not helped UK shipbuilding in the past (you may say there was money given to Swans many years ago), and is killing this Country wholesale. It is the main issue that affects all else, in our lives.

          Being a UKIP supporter myself, I wish you all the best.

          • Hi Val

            “This eu has not helped UK shipbuilding”
            First of all the Unions killed UK shipbuilding in the 60/70/80′s. Not the Goverment/EU/WTO. All them strikes where they said we are trying to save your job’s ect. This killed them.
            As to this we can go on all day backwards and forwards saying who what and how. So am going to call it a day. But i will stand by saying it was right for HM Goverment sending the MARS order to S Korea.


        • Hello Dave. Sorry, I didn’t reply sooner, I’ve had a few personal problems (probably due to things like this coming first).

          Of course I dis-agree with you on this. But, yes, the unions played a monster part in industrial suicide. There are many factors that can be included. But ironically maybe, I feel there is a gap, in which a new (realistic) start can be made.

  • When the nation of Britons start to slag each other off, you know the people are a piss poor lot, and not a great people anymore. They are a servile people and people in some parts that are easily manipulated by people who want their own way, and it takes only 16-20% of the population of that area/federal state, or or 1.4% of the whole Country, to break up and destroy what is the successful nation state of of all times, in which everyone should be proud of, yet but has so little respect. The people who created this Country, are the one’s who want to destroy it. They are the Brits in the north who were renamed by the Irish (similar to the Brits in the South renamed by the Germanics in the south). Bloody sad.

    • ‘Most’ successful

    • Absolute drivel. Your comment has no relevance to the humorous piece above.

      • How is it drivel. It’s all true, and connected, you idiot. It does not take anything away from the item above. Open your eyes and look at what is happening in this Country. Don’t be blinkered.

      • Also, if you did open your eyes, it was in reply to some comments made, and not this piece directly. I just didn’t make it as a reply. I take it, you understand dates.

  • If Alex Salmond gets independence, the Type 26s won’t be built in Scotland and that will be the end of the shipyards at Govan and Scotstoun……

  • What’s left to hack off in 2015? Type 26 frigates? A safe bet that 13 Type 23s won’t be replaced with 13 Type 26s! Didn’t the RN ask for 14 Type 45s, get promised 12, and ended up with 6?

    • small navy for a smoll insignifincant country. long live independent scotland

      • What kind of stupid comment is that. Scotland is not a insignificant Country, because it’s not a Country, but a state of a Country called the UK or Britain, and she my friend, is not, and never will be a insignificant Country. Trolls like you are very similar to pro eu’rs. Nasty and negative who like losing.

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