Tag Archives: yacht

Bread and circuses: why should we be uplifted if £100 million of our cash is spent on a new royal yacht?

Typical Tories: faced with a choice between helping people who need it and spaffing a fortune on a boat for a super-rich toff’s jollies, they will always make the wrong decision.

This is the third time a Tory has tried to foist a new Royal Yacht on us; 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).

This time the idea is being suggested by Lord Jones of Birmingham, formerly Digby Jones, who ran the Confederation of British Industry for six years between 2000 and 2006. He also served as a minister in Gordon Brown’s Labour government, which tends to ruin any left-wing credentials New Labour might have claimed.

The cost – this time – is £100 million. That’s the same as it was in 2016 and £40 million more than in 2012, when Michael Gove was the one putting it forward.

In 2012, This Site treated the idea as comedy. We were in the grip of the Tories’ pointless austerity drive that caused a huge amount of harm – we may never know how many UK citizens died as a result of the cuts inflicted on them by David Cameron and his cutthroat cronies, because they simply didn’t bother to keep a record of the fatalities.

I wrote: “Would he [Michael Gove] spend his own money on such lavishments? Perhaps he’s trying to tell us that his Department for Education and Science is bucking the national trend by making money hand over fist. This would be strange behaviour for an organisation that is supposed to spend money in the most cost-effective way possible.”

In 2016, I concentrated on other uses for the cash: “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.

“Ah, but the last Royal Yacht secured trade deals worth billions between 1991 and 1995, they argue.

“Sure – but times have changed hugely since then. With no guarantees, this is the equivalent of burning £50 notes in the faces of the poor.

“Perhaps Conservative MPs should be searched for matches and cigarette lighters before being allowed into the Treasury.”

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 why should we ever be expected to be happy about it?

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Yachting his copy book

“There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile,
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together until he fell off his yacht.”

It would be wrong to suggest that Michael Gove is crooked; indeed it would be stretching a point to suggest he was even bent in any way – although I do think that the Conservative Party is long overdue for another legover crisis and that Gove should be at the centre of it when it happens, if only to prove which way he swings (so to speak).

The only whisper of any kind of interpersonal wrongdoing that we’ve had in this government so far is the relationship between former Defence Secretary Liam Fox and a gentleman called Adam Werrity who seemed to be such a fan that he had to follow Dr Fox wherever he went, claiming to be a member of his entourage who could get the then-cabinet minister to make certain arrangements in return for a bung. But that was more The Financial Arrangement That Dare Not Speak Its Name.

However, the rhyme at the top of this piece was the last time a yacht entered the news in any meaningful way, when the former Daily Mirror owner (and crook) Robert Maxwell disappeared from his, back in 1991(ish). I quote it to mark Gove’s latest lunatic idea – that we, the public, should buy the Queen a new yacht to mark her 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.

The suggestion prompts me to wonder whether this is something that Tories do habitually. I mean, would he spend his own money on such lavishments?

Perhaps he’s trying to tell us that his Department for Education and Science is bucking the national trend by making money hand over fist. This would be strange behaviour for an organisation that is supposed to spend money in the most cost-effective way possible to give the nation’s young the best education possible, but I accept that in the light of my previous observations, the thought of Gove doing things ‘hand over fist’ would explain a lot.

In fact, it seems to me, the only part of the UK that has been expanding recently is the Coalition front bench. David Cameron in particular seems to be swelling up like a balloon and it occurs to me that, should matters progress as far as a ceremony to hand this proposed yacht over to Her Majesty, there’s a very real possibility that he’ll end up sliding off it.

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