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Huh!
Only an hour ago I said:
"With people like Williamson in charge, the UK is the rogue state."

60 mins later...

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is reportedly to say in a speech later today:

"Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality and increase our mass."

"Enhance our lethality"?

The UK is the rogue state.

Defence Secretary Williamson's ludicrous speech is having further serious ramifications.

It is being reported that Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua has cancelled this weekend's trade talks with Chancellor Philip Hammond in protest at Williamson's speech.

Presumably, the Chinese didn't like the bit about sending HMS Queen Elizabeth to the South China Sea.

@fitheach Its just another load of buzzword bollocks.

What does "Increase our mass" even mean? He's been watching the wrestling again, I suppose.

Are you familiar with the German word "Fremdschämen". It seems I can't stop when I read the political news nowadays.

@StuC
To feel Fremdschämen don't you have to have some empathy with the person concerned? I have none for Williamson.

Of course it is all nonsense, but dangerous nonsense. He is stoking the fires with cans of petrol.

@fitheach well not really, no-one is likely to take him seriously, whether it's the as-yet-non-existant drone squadron “ready to be deployed by the end of this year” or the "Offensive Cyber" nonsense.

Those old War Office records from before 1964 seem to have gone to his head, I hope someone reminds him that it's called the Ministry of _Defence_ nowadays.

@StuC
Seriously?

Note this from the article:
>>>
And he will call for the UK to be more willing to "use hard power to support our interests" in future, as he warns that failing to intervene against aggressive foreign powers "risks our nation being seen as little more than a paper tiger".
<<<

No matter that he has "Defence" in his title he is in charge of the armed services. It is this kind of talk that results in the UK bombing some country that has the misfortune to produce oil.

@vfrmedia
Nice one. I haven't heard that for years.

Jokes aside about aircraft carriers without aircraft the only military purpose of them is as an offensive weapon. They give you a platform from which to launch attacks anywhere in the world. No need to get permission to use landing strips of local "friendly" countries. Just park in international waters and launch an attack.

The article specifically mentions the carrier.

@StuC

@fitheach @vfrmedia doesn't the article say that it's being sent to the pacific? Which oil producing countries are you worried about? China? Russia?

Although the QE is an impressive piece of kit, Britain currently owns less than half its planned operational complement of F35s. Given where they are being sent, I'd guess its just a nod to our USA friends.

I'd be more worried young Gavin was up to a "Wag the Dog" if he was going to park it off Caracas.

@StuC @fitheach

possibly to show "solidarity" to former colonies in SE Asia (Singapore, Malaysia etc) which have in recent times made friendlier overtures to Beijing and even Moscow? No oil there, but I think they have aircrafts and less space to put them, could also be a sales pitch for military equipment this part of the world (we already maintain the radar system for South Korea, it is called "Blighter")

@vfrmedia @fitheach or he's playing to the Brexit hardliner peanut gallery. "Britania Rules the waves" "Send a gunboat" and all that.

Gavin as PM, anyone?

@StuC @fitheach many of these wingnuts have second homes (or are even expats) in SE Asia and have investments/shares/pensions in aerospace/defence. Perhaps a bit of "it ain't half hot mum" crossed with Dads Army and Steptoe and Son..

@vfrmedia
Jeez!
Steptoe = Brexit trade
Dads army = they don't like it up them
It Ain't Half Hot Mum = How the FCO view the far east

@StuC

@StuC
He may well be positioning himself for PM. The problem is he might have to follow through with his "talk" to appease his followers.

@vfrmedia

@fitheach @vfrmedia my advice to Scotland would be "Run!";)

That's me for tonight, BFN

@vfrmedia @StuC
The article only mentioned the maiden voyage. The carrier can go anywhere after that, and a maiden voyage destination can change anyway.

The UK may not single-handedly attack some other nation, particularly China. However, the UK might take part with some "coalition" partners.

@fitheach Is “increasing our mass” a reference to deep-fried snickers bars? 🤪

@tsturm
I have no idea what Williamson is meaning by "mass".

Wikipedia has this to say about "lethality":

"Most often it is used when referring to chemical weapons, biological weapons, or their toxic chemical components."

Even if he doesn't specifically mean those tools of death, lethality is about killing people.

Everything about that man disgusts me.

@fitheach Yeah, he sounds like one of those sociopathic politicians who likes the feel that these words make in his mouth, which is why he uses them a lot, without ever having a single thought about what war means for the people conducting it or the poor victims caught in it.

@tsturm
In the US they often use the classification "doves" or "hawks". Willimson seems to be portraying himself as the latter.

The awful thing is being a hawk often leads Western countries to go and bomb some defenceless people somewhere.

@fitheach I'm sure all of this blather about "lethality" will not help at all in discussions with the EU neighbors.

I'm sure there will be some major side-eye from the French.

@tsturm
I'm not so sure, Macron has been sounding very militaristic recently.

@fitheach If brexit has bad consequences then "a nice little war" would be a convenient distraction. Similar to the early 1980s when Thatcher's fortunes were revived by the Falklands war. A bit of flag waving. Solid jingoism from the Beeb. The tabloids will always come on side.

The only slight problem with this otherwise cunning plan is that the UK military couldn't repeat a Falklands type performance, even if it wanted to. This is what the increasing mass is about, because during the neoliberal era the size of the military in terms of soldiers decreased. Shrinking numbers of boots on the ground means that lethality per head needs to be increased to maintain capability.

https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/1024/media/images/61372000/gif/_61372427_forces_numbers624x436.gif

@bob
Yup!

The only part where I would diverge is the requirement to have boots on the ground. Even the US military have probably seen similar reductions in numbers over the same period. Of course, BOTG are needed for Falklands type operations.

Western interventions are more likely to be bombing missions these days. Plus, that sort of thing gives more scope for selling high tech, and therefore expensive, weapons.

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