Not all boats should be stopped.
The Prime Minister has placed “stopping the boats” at the centre of his bid to save the Tories. While it remains to be seen if he will succeed in curbing cross Channel migration, his government appears to be achieving it elsewhere, with the accelerating decline of the Royal Navy. Britain’s senior service is showing significant signs of neglect, with big implications for Britain’s place in the world.
Since the start of the year, there has been a flurry of stories which point to a Navy in peril. First, The Telegraph reported that two warships would be taken out of service to free up sailors to man the new generation of frigates. The Times followed this up with a further report of two assault ships being mothballed, which would impair Royal Marines operations. A day later, the paper also reported that the force was struggling to find a Rear Admiral to take charge of the submarine corps.
While these reports are unconfirmed and decisions may not yet be finalised, they paint a bleak picture. Across all aspects of its service – littoral, surface, and subsurface warfare – the Navy is struggling from a combination of under-investment and falling manpower. It speaks of an organisation shuffling around dwindling resources, and a government unable to match their demands and expectations with cash and leadership.