HMY Britannia

Currently on television is a programme about HMY Britannia – aka ‘The Queen’s Yacht’.

As this article shows, it was the politicians of ‘the day’ (circa 1997) who made the decision and who subsequently regretted it. Little thought was given, it appears, to the fact that that vessel was the reason for many of the trade deals that were ‘done’ (again, read the aforementioned link).

In this article, John Major is quoted as having said:

During the early Nineties, the monarchy went through a very difficult time,’ Sir John Major explains. ‘Ask yourself this question: in the midst of the recession, with the British people facing economic hardship, how popular would it have been to announce a £50 million spend on a new yacht for the personal use of the Royal Family? How would that have been portrayed by the media?’ In any case, he argues, Britannia, which cost £11 million a year to run, had been designed for a long-gone era of ocean-going royal tours — and air travel had rendered her semi-redundant. ‘Would I, personally, have wished to retain her?’ he wonders out loud. ‘Of course I would. But one has to be pragmatic about such things.

It cannot be denied that Major, in 1994, already knew that he would be out of office three years later and was desperate to avoid any ‘media downside’. In any event he had a ‘Maastricht Headache’ (or at least the aftermath) to worry about; and like any politician he needed, above all else, to ‘retain office’.

Major asked how popular would it have been to spend £50million on a new yacht. Bearing in mind that any government has no money other than that which it forcibly extracts from the electorate, under pain of imprisonment for non-payment, why were the people who provide the money that government spends – supposedly on our behalf – not asked? Hell, that would have been less than one pound, per person.

This sorry saga only reinforces the need for ‘Referism‘, does it not – and not just for a Royal Yacht, but for whatever else ‘government’ may wish to spend, such as ‘overseas aid’ or even their personal remuneration?

Has not the time come whereby the need for the introduction of direct democracy has arrived? Has not the time come whereby we control our politicians and are no longer subject to the needs/reasons for their political dictatorial existence?

Just asking…………………

6 thoughts on “HMY Britannia

  1. An interesting issue. So often even senior politicians come across as curiously amateurish even when assessing the public mood, something at which they are supposed to have a certain amount of expertise. This observation from your link for example.

    “The Millennium Dome had cost 12 times more than a new Royal Yacht.”

    Says it all.

    1. They are supposed to have expertise in any number of I subjects/matters – I just wish I could name one.

      Addendum: yes, they know how to engineer a better standard of life for themselves than we can.

  2. In the South of France and around the Caribbean there are many large yachts, modern and luxurious etc. and some available for hire to the right kind of customer. The £50 million is but a start, the running and maintenance costs are high. Also, just how often is it used? A Royal Yacht was one thing in the age of Queen Victoria. These days it might be better to hire.

  3. Britannia, I was told that the original design allowed the ship to also work as a troop or hospital ship. So the Major remark, ‘a new yacht for the personal use of the Royal Family’ assumed the replacement did not have a dual role. If so that was a mistake and perhaps a deliberate one. But then again maybe it’s best this idea has gone or we could have seen the new vessel being deployed on all sorts of work. It could have been given to Oxfam for example! As for the Millennium Dome how cheap vanity projects were in those days!

    1. I reckon Major knew damn well what he said. By not mentioning the ‘dual role’ capability he was taking a dig at the Monarchy per se – Major was another , aka a slimy weasel.

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