Monday, 23 January 2017

Nuclear waffle and piffle

I listened on the radio to Mr Fallon, the erst while UK defence against the dark arts minister, wiffle, waffle and serve cold piffle in his attempts to bury the news of the Trident D5 launch failure. He produced his ultimate deterrent to further questioning by saying, it was not MoD policy to talk about UK Submarine Operations.

So what do we actually 'know'? (if you do not wish to read the argument you can flip to the summary below)

The missile was successfully delivered from HMS Vanguard to the surface then failed when it was doing the bit designed, serviced and run by the USN and Lockheed-Martin at RNAD Coulport; the actual D5 Trident missile went awry. This in turn meant the dummy multiple re-entry vehicle (UK), also known as the UK nuclear deterrent (aka; mostly a load of concrete) headed towards the USA and not some where off the west coast of Africa as originally planned.

The hoo-haa is not about the missile's failure but that this was yet another Trident weapons system failure of major importance and if announced before the Trident renewal vote might have forced the British Establishment to answer just why we are buying a ballistic missile system, designed in the 1970's, for service through to 2020 with new bits tacked and glued on, to extend its life to 2070 and its impending 100th Birthday.

It is clear which ever bit of the MoD which allowed this to be leaked is less than enamoured with being saddled with a 'new' version of Trident. Just imagine if you still had Windows 3.0 and had only down loaded all the patches up until now with out updating the core operating system to say, Windows XP.

OK; you would probably still have a better operating system than the latest Windows confection but you get my point with reference to the 'latest' version of Trident we are buying, for an over inflated price with no further fixes and patches after 2025. From then the US Navy, Army and Air force are going to build a joint services, multi-role nuclear ballistic program for USA use only. After this project begins the USN will stop funding any further development of Lockheed-Martin's Trident missile project and are planning to rundown the Trident missile maintenance side by 2050, as all the USN Trident fitted submarines are scheduled to be out of service by then (and may be even sooner if decommissioning of the USN Trident fleet is accelerated). 

The UK Trident will then be serviced by who and at what price, given the current UK D5 missile servicing contract is heavily subsidised by the USN Trident program?

The next question is why are we buying the 'new' Trident system given the UK can not afford to ensure the current D5 missile is loaded with the maximum number of warheads. The political tale is of a cunning plan to deploy 'fake weapons (lumps of concrete)' from the UK MRV to fool enemy missile defences and give the real weapons a better chance of getting on to their targets. This is about as cunning as Baldrick's bestest plan in the whole wide world. If you want to ensure the maximum number of weapons get through to the target, you put the maximum number of real nuclear weapons into the MRV and onto the target you can, this is a far better and safer bet.

Then there is the small issue that most ground based anti-ballistic missile systems are designed to take out an incoming weapon at the top of its ballistic arc or just before. By doing this you are more likely to either disable (prevent arming), destabilise ( push off course) or disrupt (blow up) the missile before weapon release than trying to hit a multiple number of smaller contacts released from the MRV which may or may not be nuclear warheads, in the UK instance, and are more likely to be lumps of concrete.

A summary, so far:
  • New Trident is not new, it is a missile system originally designed in the 1970's to see service through to 2020
  • The missile operating system has more tack ons, bodges and patches than current Windows operating programs
  • The UK can not afford to use the weapon system as designed
  • The USN Trident Missile development program shuts down in 2025
  • USN Trident Missile Maintenance program is scheduled to close down in 2050
  • Our excuse for a UK MRV nuclear warhead is laughable and 'government claims' do not stand up to any serious tactical scrutiny
  • There is a serious fault in the current D5 missile as demonstrated by the missile failure after successful egress (launch) from HMS Vanguard
  • It would seem the service side of the MoD do not want 'new' Trident
This is on top of a series of tell-tales from 'sailors in the submarine service' which have appeared in the press over the last 18 months with regards to the leakage of highly corrosive fluids from the D5 which damaged the launch tubes and missile bay, putting sailors at risk from toxic fumes and chemical burns, the poor morale among the ballistic missile boat's crews, failures of nuclear safety both at sea and in harbour, breakdowns, collisions with other NATO submarines on exercises, crew shortages or the illegal dumping of nuclear contaminated material in the sea.

To this ex-RN Officer this sort of behaviour reflects poor, muddled, disjointed and ineffective leadership from the top (that is you Mr Fallon and your Conservative Party UK Defence Policy) which has lead to demoralisation of RN personnel at all levels in the nuclear weapon submarine fleet, as is clearly demonstrated by all the detailed internal leaks of the particular problems this part of the RN is having. Someone high up in the RN MoD is turning a Nelsonian blind eye to so many anonymous submarine sailor's publicly having a moan in the press and on radio, in breach of all security protocols, and thumbing their nose at Mr Fallon's claims that operations of the Submarine or 'Silent Service' are not to be talked about. 

There are just too many loud noises off, Mr Fallon, to sell that line of obfuscation, pull the other one, it has bells on. There is clearly something going very bad at the heart of the proud RN psyche and especially its once 'Silent Service'.

All this before you even begin to contemplate the horrendous impact of nuclear weapon detonations on the world and all its life forms.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Is stupid the same as denial?

I listened with interest today as four fellow golfers (70+) talked about Ms May and how she had stopped the SNP and independence in their tracks after Tuesday's big speech. They seemed reassured by Donald Trump's assurance of a USA trade deal and swallowed hook line and sinker the idea the day after Brexit all would be hunky-dory as the UK would also have trade deals with Canada and New Zealand as well. After all, was this not what the Daily Mail, Express and Daily Telegraph had reassured them is going to happen, so it must be true. Ms Sturgeon and the SNP had not a leg to stand on, Scotland would just have to do what Westminster told us to do whether Scotland liked it or not.

Let us hold on for a minute. These folk are not stupid, three out of the four ran their own successful, small businesses and yet I was left astounded at the degree of twisting reality to fit their own prejudices that was going on. There was not the slightest cognisance of the reality which is; not one trade deal can begin to be negotiated until after the UK has exited the EU, let alone brought into effect.

Most trade experts agree the earliest any new trade agreement could be brought into force between the USA and UK would be two years after Brexit, given the requirements of any trade deal to secure fiscal and legal checks and balances. Complex trade deals take up to five years or more to agree unless the UK Government is simply going to concede every advantage to the USA and become a defacto state of the USA, the irony would be lost on the 'Free Britain from the EU yoke',Tories.

Until any such trade deals are agreed and ratified by the UK Parliament, the UK will trade with the rest of the world on the basis of World Trade Organisation tariffs. Again, none of this can happen or be put in place until after Brexit.

The current estimates of the hard cash cost to the UK taxpayers of the process of Brexit range from between £30 billion at the bottom end to £50 billion at the top end. Money which will need to be paid to the EU to cover the costs incurred by the EU to expunge the UK from all its current treaties, laws and regulations and the EU side's costs of administering the Article 50 process. The UK wants to leave then EU then the UK pays all the costs of doing so.

Yesterday HSBC announced another 1,000 senior jobs were being moved from London to Paris, this is on top of the 10,000 senior finance jobs which have already left the City of London since the 23rd of June 2016. It would seem the financial world does not see the same glorious end result for the UK economy from Hammond and the Tories rush to create the UK as being the ultimate 'tax haven' for big money. The rich folk meeting at Davos are reported as being seriously underwhelmed by May and Hammond's fiscal plan for the UK and the WTO are pointing out the limits their organisation places on such fiscal jiggery-pokery all of which will seriously curtail Hammond's 'big idea' to save the UK economy.

Yet if you only listen to or read the London based UK media you would never find out what the rest of the world thinks about the Tories rushing the UK to the economic cliff edge with their 'Brexit means Brexit' mantra.

Reuters is reporting the pound is currently at its lowest level against the dollar for 30 years and its lowest ever level versus the Euro. While Bloombergs are reporting increasing world financial worries that the UK is slipping into a period of 'stagflation', that is persistent high inflation combined with high unemployment and stagnant demand in a country's economy. This is the real impact of austerity
and Brexit on the UK economy , no matter the rosy glow of better than forecast economic growth for 2016 -17 being waved around like Chamberlain's claim of "Peace in our time". Instead of 0.9% the IMF now say UK growth is likely to be 1.3%, based on the previous quarter. This 'increase' in forecast growth is, of course, being sold in the Daily Mail as a positive sign and can only have been brought about by Brexit. The problem is the last quarter's UK economic growth figures have yet to be finalised, so the real figure could well end up back at 0.9% and lower or even be as high 1.5%. No one actually knows until the UK's NAO reports on its final adjusted figures for the quarter.

Outside of the world of the sweat marked semmit and urine stained, tattered Union Flag Y-fronts of UKIP and the Tories few think Brexit is anything else but disastrous for the UK economy. Sadly it appears Corbyn's Labour have also bought into this vision of UK loveliness and are donning the requisite semmit and Union flag Y-fronts, as I type. They too seem to be under the impression that Scotland will just have to do what it is told to do by Westminster, no matter whether the majority of the sovereign people of Scotland agree with Westminster or not. Labour and Corbyn are now most definitely part of the problem and do not represent any solution for Scotland's concerns for its place in an increasingly fascist leaning, post Brexit, UK. Over the next 18 months to two years we Scots will just have to sit in Westminster's naughty corner while the British Establishment grown ups decide what is best for us, if you believe what is being said by the BBC, Telegraph, Mail or Express. The message is clear from the British Establishment mouth pieces, "Scotland, just shut the fuck up!"

The question remains, "Will we get back in our box or not?" in the face of ever shriller attacks on our nation by an increasingly feart Westminster; my friends at the golf club are definitely for getting back in the box as for me, I will continue to shout from the roof tops;

"Let us get the hell out of this perfidious UK Union Treaty as fast as is practicable."

Once Liz has popped her clogs, the anachronistic Scottish crown can follow - it has had its day. Maybe we can choose our future king or queen, annually, through some sort of talent show contest vote. Just imagine, we could end up with a year of King Wee Shuggie frae Drumchapel chosen for his impression of Billy Connolly singing  "Grannie's Fuckin' Hielan' hame"  or Queen Euphemia frae Peterheid playing "Bach's Toccata and Fugue" on her nose flute. You could have Kezia the Dug and Ruth the Mooth as two of the judges and get Wullie Rennie to compaire the gig then chuck in Neil Oliver and Alisdair Darling as judges, as well, to keep everyone happy and nostalgic for the old days of the British Empire.

Anything has to be better than the current bunch of Saxe-Coburgs.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Colonel Boggey-man land

So; 2017 is upon us and is already looking like an even worse rehash of 2016.

Donald Trump of 6 bankruptcies, massive debts, owing his workforce at Trump Towers around $5 million and already facing potential impeachment proceedings before he is even sworn, is going to be president of the usa - yep folks that is how far Trump diminishes the position and his country in my eyes. It says everything about the man that Nigel Farage is one of his 'besties' and has an invite to see the USA's own Orangeman elected to the White House. In the meantime Trump is making sure all his family benefits from USA taxpayer handouts, no matter whether they are competent as presidential executive office bearers or not. All this hypocrisy from the Orangeman who has sworn to cut back health and welfare benefits for the poorest in the USA because they should not be allowed to 'welch' off the over burdened USA taxpayer.

Meanwhile the Orangeman's bestie from UK la-la land, Mr Farage, has apparently applied for German Citizenship, probably because he does not want to wait in the 'non EU national' queue at EU Airports after the Brexit he has connived, along with his right wing Tory pals Gove, Davidson and Johnson, to create. 

The Dug's mob are whining about the SNP (Bad) latest wheeze to help new Mums with baby boxes,  apparently they are aghast at the lack of advice for breast feeding Mums. Now I was taught that whether a Mum could breast feed or not was down to certain key hormones triggering milk release. After that point it was reckoned that a few hundred thousand years of successful human breeding would cut in as Mum and baby got on with the job. Baby and Mum would work out how best to do the job; with out the need of the proposed flow diagrams, written in crayon, by the Dug herself. Mums that could not breast feed or did not wish to breast feed were shown how to mix milk substitutes. Their other whine is about NHS Scotland's:

  (a) failure to kick old folk out of hospital before they died 
  (b) the appalling decline in the numbers of planned operations through a surfeit of cancellations.

Now clearly Anas Sawar has little or no clue about the issues he raised over NHS Scotland's drastic failings nor was he willing to put them in comparison to the near collapsed NHS in England which the Red Cross are now warning is in a catastrophic state and a will become a humanitarian disaster area if the Tory Government do not pull their socks up. 

Back to Mr Sawar's complaints, much trumpeted and mindlessly regurgitated in the usual organs of the Yoon State media. Bed blocking always happens at this time of year because winter is when most old vulnerable people get sick and require hospitalisation. NHS Scotland can not simply throw the old folk out of their hospital bed when they deem them 'all better' as most will have other long term health problems which require support in the home and until such support services are in place, the patient can not be released because NHS Scotland has a legal duty of care for its patients. Provision of home support is usually in the hands of the local council social services so if funds / personnel are not available the patient is held in hospital until they are. The SNP have introduced plans to streamline this system to make it patient, rather than council, centred and speed up returning patients to their own home. The only folk who objected to this change in funding, direction and emphasis were Mr Sawar's best pals, the Labour councilor cabal at COSLA and the Labour splittist councils who are to 'big' for COSLA.

As for item (b) the actual increase was 0.4% on the previous year which still meant that 97.9% of NHS Scotland planned operations were carried out at the planned time with no inconvenience to patients.

Ruth the Mooth is still banging on about some SNP (Bad) referendum or other she claims is going to be held this year. By the way, did you know that according to the Mooth it is all the SNP's fault Brexit is happening because they are splittists seeking to divide the Yoon K, this is why the Yoon K is now splitting from the EU, she was always for Brexit especially now the SNP(Bad) are not and London has told her to say this is the case, as she's been telt by Ms May this is what she now thinks, so nya, nya, nah! (and you disregard her heart felt and undying support for the late EU Remain campaign). This about sums up the Scottish Yoon and Conservative Party's position - mealy mouthed hypocrisy.


My only bit of crystal ball reading is to foresee the Yoon's new Better Together campaign, here goes:

Ms May and Bollocks Johnson are going to make a big thing about the ISIS fighter on every UK corner just waiting to blow you to bits. The 'Scotch' versions of the Express and Daily Mail will shout loudly how silly Scotland could never stop this happening and if there was a rash of suicide bombings on Sauchiehall Street how would Scotland survive. The editorial will ask: How do you know that nice Mr Sadiq who runs the local post office and newsagents is not an ISIS sleeper agent just waiting to forcibly convert you to Islam or blow himself up in the attempt?

Let us ignore the fact the only known attempted suicide bombing at Glasgow Airport was an utter failure which ended with the would be 'terrorists' being terrorised by the locals and return to a few facts about our local, potential ISIS recruit, Mr Sadiq. 

For example, my Mr Sadiq is a third generation Scottish Asian who thinks of himself as a Scot, first and fore most, he runs four post office and newsagents across the south west of Edinburgh, his Dad is a long serving, local councilor while our Mr Sadiq is currently president of the local Rotary Club, his kids are at one of Edinburgh's big private day schools and he is weel kenned in the community for his good works, especially with the old folk. Clearly this man is a potential ISIS recruit and we have much to fear from him as he prays at the Edinburgh Mosque which instantly makes him suspect or this is what May's media clowns would wish to have us believe. It is very unlikely this Mr Sadiq or any other Scottish Mr Sadiq will be appearing on your doorstep anytime soon, threatening to blow themselves up if you do not settle your outstanding newspaper bill and convert to Islam.

The truth is ISIS were and, probably, are still funded and supplied by Saudi Arabia and the CIA. They were initially trained by UK and Israeli Special Forces and their purpose was to ensure Saudi Arabian control of the region by destabilising Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and establishing proxy governments in those countries 'loyal' to Saudi Arabia and its brand of Islam. The problem is that neither Iran nor Russia wished to see or allow Saudi hegemony in the area and the supposed quick removal of the Syrian regime by ISIS has got bogged down, messy and forced a weakened and fractured Turkey to get involved, as untold numbers of refugees crossed her borders. The reality is an under funded and under pressure MI6 will not prevent 'leakers' if ISIS looked to bite the hand which feeds it, via Saudi Arabian / UK / CIA arms supplies. In fact an independent Scotland with a foreign policy of opposing state sponsored terrorism would be far less likely to become a target.

This will not stop May's Conservative supporting news feeds from trying to spin the ISIS threat as fatal for a Scotland without Westminster's arm around it for protection but like everything they have been telling us on these grounds, since 2012 and before, it has no basis in any truth, data or objective analysis. This will not stop them from playing Colonel Boggey-man from a TV, radio or newspaper near you on this and much else besides.