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Cheers - AE

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Crash landings

I can barely bring myself to write on this lunacy.
Up to 100 student pilots will be told the news on Tuesday with some of them only a few hours away from becoming fully qualified to fly fighters, helicopters and transport aircraft.
The cuts will mean the waste of an estimated £300million already paid for training the pilots, plus the cost of redundancies. The training of RAF pilots can cost up to £4million a man.
And this is not the end of the problem.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon, a former head of the RAF, warned that the cuts would leave the Air Force with a “black hole” of pilots in future years.
“If you don’t have a steady stream of youth, you will end up with a shortage of people,” he said.
Commander John Muxworthy, the chairman of the UK National Defence Association, said the defence cuts were now into the “seed corn” of the Services.
Which should be blindingly obvious to everyone.
Jim Murphy, the shadow defence secretary, said: “The harmful human impact of the Government’s defence plans is becoming clearer by the day."
True, but to be fair let's just remind ourselves which cunts spunked away all the money. Still, it must be said that it seems like an insane place to try to make savings. In terms of a sports team it would be like hanging on to everyone that has got maybe a season or two left plus the current crop of regular players, but abandoning all investment in young players and cutting loose the ones you have trained and made ready to replace those older ones soon to swap the sporting scrum for the media version. Like some American sports Aussie Rules football operates a draft system which gives the bottom placed club each year the first opportunity to pick young talent. Such is the focus on young players - and bear in mind that some may not play a senior game for a year or two - that clubs that have done particularly poorly are occasionally accused of doing it deliberately purely to get better draft picks. Such is the interest among supporters that the draft night is televised. It's understood by everyone that youth with potential literally determines a club's future ability to win, and while I don't claim any military expertise whatsoever I'd be astonished if what applies on the sports field doesn't also apply on the battlefield.

So what the fuck is Britain playing at binning these young pilots, pilots that will be needed rather than might be needed, if only to replace those older ones who leave? What's the plan, keep them on past the time their knees can't take the G's and sorties hold less appeal than SAGA cruises? And why is this happening at all when, as I keep saying, the UK isn't actually cutting expenditure? It certainly fucking needs to but this is pinching pennies when there are massive gold bars' worth of savings that could be made elsewhere, starting with Britain's £50 billion quangocracy that the Cobbleition's axe largely bounced clean off without leaving a mark. And this hurts, it really does. It hurts at a time when Britain is engaged in combat operations (needless or not, it's a fact), and will mean worse hurt in the future and beyond as you have fewer pilots both to fight if needed and to pass on knowledge to the next lot of young pilots. It certainly risks more than giving the Spanish Archer to some arts quangos and overcompensated town clerks calling themselves chief executives. Britain may end up with comical abilities as far as air power go but it'll proudly lead the world in twinning towns and conceptual bollocks art made, perhaps literally, from shit.

Anyone ever see Aliens? Do you remember the bit when the Colonial Marines are in the tunnels under the giant atmosphere processor? When someone notices that firing their rifles in there will damage the cooling systems for its nuclear power source, eventually causing a very, very large explosion? Remember the reaction of the Marines when they have to hand their magazines in and sling their rifles?
What the hell are we supposed to use, man? Harsh language?
I suppose it's too much to hope that any senior RAF officers have quoted that verbatim to the Defence Secretary, Chancellor or PM.
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