Last week saw HMS Queen Elizabeth set out to sea for the very first time to begin sea trials. This new 65,000 tonne aircraft carrier is the largest and most powerful vessel ever built for the Royal Navy and is the first of two new aircraft carriers being built, the second being HMS Prince of Wales which is under construction. The flight deck is the size of three football pitches and once in service can operate with a crew of 1,000 and 40 aircraft. In terms of our naval power on the world stage, Britain is back!
To get a sense of the significance of HMS Queen Elizabeth, it is worth quoting the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon who said: “This floating fortress is by far the most powerful ship ever built in Britain that will enable us to tackle multiple and changing threats across the globe. HMS Queen Elizabeth is an enduring example of British imagination, ingenuity, invention that will help keep us safe for decades to come. She is built by the best, crewed by the best and will deliver for Britain. For the next 50 years she will deploy around the world, demonstrating British power and our commitment to confronting the emerging challenges from a dangerous world. The whole country can be proud of this national achievement.”
Britain’s ability to project power abroad is a force for good in the world. Conflict and military action is never a nice thing and it puts lives at risk, but when we engage in military action, it is protect us or others who need protecting from a hostile force. Having military power can also act as a deterrent and our armed forces help keep the peace in many parts of the world.
The cross-party consensus on our strong defence and armed forces has regrettably been lost with Labour having lurched to the far-left under Jeremy Corbyn, and locally Crawley Labour have made our local Council boycott defence companies based in Crawley that employ local people. There is now literally clear blue water between the two main parties on defence.