Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Tory Navy cuts sent strong signals over Falklands...

Talking of Tory cuts, I wonder if the movie planned about Margaret Thatcher’s role in the run-up to the Falklands War will mention the wholesale cuts to the Royal Navy announced just a few months before Argentinian invasion.

In 1981 the Thatcher Government revealed plans to cut a fifth of all destroyers and frigates, axe assault ships, and scrap the aircraft carrier HMS Bulwark.

The South Atlantic patrol ship Endurance was also to be scrapped. The news sent a strong signal to the Argentinians that the long-disputed Falkland Islands would not be defended if they were taken by force...

2 comments:

Man in a shed said...

If memory serves I think the BBC play did. I've just ordered it of Amazon on DVD.

In fairness a previous Labour government sent ships south and prevented trouble a number of years earlier.

Of course now we are finished if the Argentines threaten us again. The Navy has been destroyed by Labour, we have no fighter aircover with the disgracful scrapping of the Sea Harriers (some of which had just come of the production line a few years earlier), and the Argentine government has just re-equipped its air force with the latest missiles and regularly over flys the Falklands testing RAF response times.

There is only one airfield down there - when its out of action - or worse captured- the defence of the islands will be impossible. Many young women and men will lose their lives due to the current government's irresponsibility.

Our best military units are over stretched, under strength and over used. Its a disaster waiting to happen.

Read Sharkey Ward's book Sea Harrier over the Falklands - its a great story, but also rather depressing in its long term outlook.

fairdealphil said...

mias:

In my view, once the Argentinians had invaded, Thatcher did the right thing and sent a Task Force to kick them out.

But Thatcher's decision to announce massive cuts to the RN, including scrapping the ice-ship Endurance, arguably helped lead to the invasion of the Falklands.

As you rightly suggest, the previous Labour Government under Callaghan sent a nuclear sub to the south Atlantic in response to Argentinian talk of invasion - a very different response to Thatcher's dire miscalculation which eventually cost the lives of 255 British servicemen and women (far more than killed to date in Iraq).

Had Galterie waited just a couple of months, it would have ben impossible to muster an effective Task Force.

As it was, we came so close to being beaten and losing the Falklands - we had run out of artillery rounds at exactly the same time as the Argentinians raised the white flag over Stanley.

From what I know, I agree that our best military units are at over-stretch.

Interesting, when the call from the Tories when they were in office was that Labour would never fire a shot in anger...

Haven't read Sharkey Ward's book on the Harriers over the Falklands, but have read many others.

I've also met many squaddies who got Thatcher out of the mire, and tell how close it was!!