I’ve been busy over the bank holiday weekend, working on material for the new version of my defence against Rachel Riley’s libel claim. So I thought it was a joke when I saw this:
Great news, guys! The royal yacht Britannia is set to be announced today at the low cost of 89,956,522 free school meals…
— RD Hale (@RD_HaIe) May 30, 2021
But it’s not a joke:
A new national flagship is to be commissioned by the government in a bid to boost British trade and industry globally, the prime minister has said.
The vessel will be the successor to the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was retired in 1997.
The government plans to build the ship in the UK, at a reported cost of £200m.
Tories have been trying to build themselves a new luxury yacht – at our expense – since at least 2012, when Michael Gove suggested spending £60 million on it to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee:
This boat would cost £60 million, apparently – a million for every year she’s been on the throne. It would be a pointless present because, at Her Majesty’s age, she’s hardly going to be able to steer it.
By 2016, the projected cost had nearly doubled:
Now we learn that Conservative MPs want to give the Queen another yacht – at a cost of £100 million that could be better-used elsewhere, perhaps on benefit payments for a further £16,666 sick people for a year.
When [Gove] suggested it, back in January 2012, the cost was said to be £60 million. Why has it nearly doubled in the years since?
At least we have an answer to my question of the time – whether Tories try to spend our money on such unnecessary lavishments habitually.
Yes. Yes they do.
Amazingly, that price had remained static when the possibility was floated yet again in 2020:
The twist this time is a proposal to split funding three ways between businesses, the public and the National Lottery (so the public pays twice).
The idea of boosting trade has been there since Gove, and I addressed it last year:
The point about trade deals is interesting at a time when the Tory government is desperately trying to re-establish the UK as a trading nation after severing ties with the European Union.
But who benefits from such deals?
Rich businesspeople, perhaps – but would they pay their taxes or send the cash to tax havens?
If the latter, then why should the public pay for something that will not help us in the slightest?
And that brings me back to RD Hale’s tweet, pointing out that the government could fund nearly 90 million school meals.
Others have made their point too:
Johnson has commissioned the construction of a new ship.
For trade, diplomatic & Summit purposes.
Cost alleged to be £200m.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, food banks are now a growth industry, homelessness increasing daily & Covid ravages the economy.
Skewed priorities ?
— Clare Hepworth OBE (@Hepworthclare) May 30, 2021
£200 million on a posh boat that nobody wants and nobody needs in a country with more than 4 million children living in poverty is morally repugnant. https://t.co/iWKUT9Z4Ao
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) May 30, 2021
I think it will actually be built this time.
And we’ll end up paying for it while Johnson and his layabouts get to traipse around the world in it and their fat Tory donors profit (with the money going into tax havens, as I mentioned above).
Because Boris Johnson has no shame at all.
POSTSCRIPT: There was another tweet, from a guy who said he donated £20 to the Tory Party and was rewarded with a contract to build the new Royal Yacht for £200 million. I laughed because it was funny and I laughed because, in someone’s case, it’s probably true.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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