Last week there was an article in the British press which claimed that the Royal Navy had abandoned the Falklands Islands. For the first time since the conflict in 1982 no major British warship had been assigned to protect the islands from possible aggression. Sadly, it is true. But who is to blame? Well, repeated defence cuts by both the Labour Party and the Conservatives have left the Royal Navy in a complete state of turmoil. The Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Dauntless, caused quite a sensation when she visited Palma last year, but now she has been effectively mothballed because of engine problems. The Ministry of Defence says that she will probably not be fixed for at least another four years. This is a scandalous state of affairs. A warship which cost in excess of one billion pounds is now effectively useless. Her five sister ships are in the same boat but their engine problems are not believed to be so serious. That leaves the British fleet with just 13 other frigates, one of which has recently been mothballed as well. Now, the new aircraft carriers will bring some additional power to the Royal Navy, but the service is still sadly lacking resources. Governments should remember that you cut the defence budget at your peril. The Royal Navy can no longer fly the flag around islands which were won back with such a high cost of life. The Royal Navy lost four warships during the war. The sad truth is that is almost the whole size of the present operational fleet.
The small fleet
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