Monday, April 18, 2011

Bring back the Harrier - and save us millions!

More evidence millions of pounds of taxpayers money wasted through government incompetence and the wrong cuts exposed today.

I've always thought that the Conservatives decision to scrap the versatile Harrier jump jet was a false economy - and not just because of the Harrier's close association with our part of the world - with RAF Wittering near Stamford long known as 'The Home of the Harrier'. RAF Cottesmore - also close to Stamford - provided what turned out to be last UK base for the Harrier.

Years ago, as a TA soldier on exercise, I recall being enormously impressed with seeing the Harrier close-up, and with the RAF ground-crew who kept them air-worthy, replacing engines in the middle of a forest in a couple of hours.

I bet you can't do that with your new fangled Typhoon jets!

But even I was shocked at reports today's Sun newspaper that 60 Harriers had just been given a £750 million revamp before they were decommissioned and stored in hangers at RAF Cottesmore near Stamford.

What a waste of our cash!

Even worse, as I have always believed, scrapping the Harrier would prove to be at best to be a false economy - and at worst a down-right incompetent decision.

It seems that experts believe that instead of sending RAF Harriers to help enforce the NATO no-fly zone over Libya, what are described as 'inappropriate' Typhoons have been sent.

Typhoons are operational as air defence assets - and can't be converted to an air-to-ground role until 2016.

Even worse, the RAF is forced to operate long-range at huge expense from bases in Italy as UK has no carrier to use as a platform to launch operations over Libya.

When Cameron committed UK in support of the NATO role in Libya, Tory politicians lined up to say we didn't need a carrier off Libya - even if we had the option of sending one, which we don't).

So why has France sent a carrier - and twice as many aircraft as UK.

Sadly, the most galling (forgive the pun) aspect of the whole debacle is the Sun's estimate that - despite massive cuts to public services across UK - we're shelling out £30 MILLION A WEEK to do the business in Libya against an estimated cost of 'only' £40 million a YEAR if we sent in the Harriers!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Standing up for DSJ

I believe that Deeping St James has been the forgotten corner of Lincolnshire for far too long.

As chairman of DSJ Parish Council for the past two years, I've seen how poorly our community is served by Grantham based South Kesteven District Council.

So I've decided to stand up for DSJ and stand for election on May 5th.

For more information, see my leaflet in this week's Advertiser...and watch this space..

Promoted by Fair Deal Phil Dilks, 24 Church Street, DSJ, PE6 8HD