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.


  1. Not sure about this: " 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."

    I am an ex-pat too. I live in Canada. I get taxed more here than if I lived in the UK. I do NOT want to a pay a 2% tax to the UK treasury because even if the Bloc de Quebecois invades Ontario, I am sure I wont be rescued by an RN frigate (it would have run the gauntlet of the St Laurence, not easy in peace time, I did on the Glasgow).

  2. I can see your point however I feel that if you are going to be a citizen of a country that we should be prepared to contribute something. Full income tax as the Americans have to pay is un reasonable but I personally feel a small citizen tax is justifdied as long as it is spent on government expenditure that we benefit from (principally defence and the foreign office) I accept living in Canada is ifferent from somewhere like Libya but I don't think 2% tax will break the bank for anyone.

  3. gpcawthorne, Canada is part of NATO no? If Canada was invaded or hit by a natural disaster you can be sure that it's calls for help would be answered.

    I think that if you are a British National then to expect any help, to expect any evacutation etc you SHOULD be paying something towards that.

    Just like back home people SHOULDNT be able to live off the benefit system.

    A 2% tax is not brutal, but it would be a handy way to generate funds.

    For instance the WIGS is greatly appreciated. It's ability to help in huricanes, help resupply a devistated island, give it power and electricity and local security is critical to those people. It is also a useful tool in Anti Narcotics etc.

    Yet it is no longer a premenant deployment.

    A 2% tax would allow numerous FFGL's (like thr Khareef class) to deploy to those areas. Furthermore their small size means that small airbases and ports could rotate crews and the ship could be permenantly deployed for everything but a serious refit.

    At just over £260 million they are cheap, an atendent Lynx wildcat would raise the cost to lets say $300 million. Within a year then we could have 8 vessels and 8 Wildcats building. They are small at 2,500 tons full load meaning plenty of ship yards could start building these vessels. Without seriously advanced tech they could be churned out quickly.

    That would still leave you $1 billion for the purchase of the logistics required etc.

    1 permenantly based in the Falklands to back up the HMS Clyde and HMS Protector,

    2 permemantly based in the West Indies to do WIGP (Patrol instead of ship :P)

    4 permenantly based around Gibralter, S.Africa, Cyprus etc.

    1 in serious refit at home (instead of basic services) or deployed where needed.

    We are now freeing up stations for the larger ships, we are showing the flag, these areas also are areas that need anti-narcotics and anti-piracy.

    They ensure our network of ships able to respond to minor and moderate crisis is extensive and thus also frees up ships for major crisis response.

    Jobs created back home (The Khareef is a British design and export and some are built in portsmouth), it's an existing design as 3 vessels are already being constructed/have been constructed, it provides a showing the flag, protection against pirates, terrorists etc that is more likely to threaten a British nationalist than outright war... It's existence allows the big ships to be free to respond and fight a war quickly and thus helps protect you against that eventuality.

    If you don't like it then you can apply to be a national citizen elsewhere and thus the operational needs on the RN drop and so we free up ships that way.

    Seems like a decent compromise to me?

  4. Istead of taxing ex-pats 2% stop paying them there winter fuel payments and benefits suurely if they can afford to live abroad they don't need these benefits also stop letting healthcare holiday makers into the country so we stump up for there treatment.