By Jason Moore
NELSON would not be impressed. A recent survey conducted by the Royal Navy said that only 51 percent of the British population realised that the navy operated submarines. This state of affairs is even more alarming when you take into account that Britain's highly expensive nuclear deterrent is housed aboard four nuclear submarines. So 49 percent of Britain's population is not aware that Britain has nuclear weapons? The Royal Navy readily admits that it has a problem because the general public don't see the Navy, as all of its ships are either based in southern England or on the west coast of Scotland. This is an amazing statement if you think about it but it is one of the reasons why the Trafalgar celebrations were organised; so that the public could view its ships. To the untrained eye it was quite a display but the fact that the star of the show was a French ship, the nuclear powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle shows that 200 years after Trafalgar, the Royal Navy is lagging behind in terms of equipment. The Spanish Navy sent one of its new stealth frigates which is 10 years ahead of anything serving in the Royal Navy. The problem that the Royal Navy has is the Treasury; quite rightly Chancellor Gordon Brown believes that more money should be spent on health and education rather than ships and submarines. This is not a new problem; even Nelson complained that he didn't have enough ships. The Royal Navy has another Trafalgar on its hands and it will probably be even more complicated than the battle itself. It must convince the British public and Brown than it needs its ships and submarines and one of the ways forward is to organise more displays like the one organised for Trafalgar. Is the public really interested? Probably no, but the new battle for the Navy will not be with the French or the Spanish it will be with the Treasury and the public.


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