I don't often agree with Boris Johnson but on the new “national flagship” I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The British government announced plans this week to build a 200 million pound floating trade centre which would also act as a national flagship.
Of course, there has been plenty of criticism, with the Labour Party saying that the money would be better spent on other things and one prominent Conservative Member of Parliament having said that the cash could be spent on another frigate for the Royal Navy which could be adapted for use as the “flagship” when needed. They are both valid points but I still believe that it is a good idea.
The vessel will be built and designed in Britain which will safeguard hundreds of jobs. It could help relaunch Britain's hard-hit shipbuilding industry, while the idea of a “floating trade centre” is a good one. Now, of course the project will be in the firing line for years to come. Any problem or delay will make banner headlines, but if Britain is to make a success of Brexit a vessel of this type could be very useful. The royal yacht Britannia should have been replaced back in the 1990s.
It is a laughable that a seafaring nation like Britain doesn't have a national flagship. Yes a frigate could be converted and so could a ferry but it wouldn't really be the same. Britain is rightly proud of its long nautical heritage and even today British-built yachts are in demand.
The fact that thousands of people visit the former royal yacht Britannia in Scotland every year clearly shows that there is a fascination with vessels of this type. Boris is right...for once.