Politics.co.uk Blog

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Ghosts of the past haunt defence review

Admiralty House was, perhaps, not the best place to announce the government's strategic defence and security review yesterday.

This aged building is best known to readers of naval fiction, where Captains Hornblower, Aubrey et al waited to receive orders sending them off to foreign climes to fight for martial glory.

Its best days are clearly over. Apparatchiks warned journalists nervously not to sit on the antique furniture or bust up the assorted paintings and ornaments littered all over the place. One Japanese screen received particularly fearful treatment.

Worst of all were the pictures on the walls. The room in which senior officials briefed journalists was graced by several large paintings of former naval glories dominated by hundreds of white sails, wooden hulls and grey smoke.

There are 23 frigates or destroyers in the Royal Navy at present; by 2015 there will be just 19. Dealing with today's security threats, like cybercrime, just isn't as exciting as taking on Napoleon in a thrilling frigate action. Can someone lend me a time machine, please?

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