Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Libya shows Navy's inability to act.

A big fat T22 can be handy when you need to evacuate people
The poor state of the British Evacuation of Expatriates from Libya has shown the Navy's inability to act in a crisis to meet one of its primary roles (Evacuation of British Nationals). Over a week since violence started a sole Frigate HMS Cumberland is now on route to Tripoli to assist. This pales in comparison to efforts made in the 2006 evacuation of Lebanon when HMS Bulwark as well as a Frigate and Destroyer evacuated 20,000 British citizens. We should also note that the sole ship being sent HMS Cumberland at Type 22 Frigate was cut in the SDSR 2010. I am not sure what Cumberland was doing last week but I can only presume that the Navy has had to pull her out of the breakers yard (not the first time) to send her on a last mission. We have to ask that if the Navy is only able to send such a small force to an area where we have two naval bases and is only a few days steaming from UK waters how would they be able to respond to a bigger evacuation further away from home.

Finding A Better Way

I am an expatriate. In fact there are 5.5 million British Citizens like me living outside of the UK. Many of us work for British companies in relatively unstable countries. We pay little in the way of taxes to the UK. We do not consume any services provided in the UK such as education, NHS or social security. However we do require protection. Primarily we look to the Navy to provide this. What would be wrong with levying a small income tax (call it a citizens tax) on all Expats. Most expats would easily accept a flat 2% income tax if the funds were channeled to the Navy and Marines to provide a global emergency evacuation capability.  My back of the fag packet calculations for 5.5 million expats with a per ca pita GDP of some $30,000 we could look to raise some $3.3 billion with a 2% tax. That's is enough to more than double the Navy's frigate budget and triple the amphibious fleet budget.