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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

The Glorious First of June...

Today marks the first great naval victory over Revolutionary France by the Royal Navy. Admiral Lord Howe led a fleet of British ships of war to victory four hundred miles into the Atlantic at roughly the same latitude as Cape Ushant in 1794, making this the 217th anniversary of that battle. While it was, tactically, a resounding defeat for the French, strategically it failed. The French convoy carrying vital grain to stave off a counter revolution stirred by the famine the Revolution had brought, escaped and was successfully unloaded.

As a result the Revolutionary Council remained in power and the war which became known as the Napoleonic Wars continued.

It is always interesting to note, that this and other great sea battles eventually put Britain in possession of the largest empire the world has thus far seen. Even more interesting is the fact that the Navy which created it possessed some 300 - 400 ships at its greatest extent and employed 400,000 men. The Civil Service of the day never exceeded 3,000 office bearers, the majority appointed on a 'friends and favours' basis which nevertheless saw 'Jacks-in-office' swiftly expelled if they failed to deliver what they had been appointed to do. There was certainly corruption and nepotism - but it got things done.

A sharp contrast to the modern Britain, divested of an Empire, its Military pared to the bone and still under threat from the politicians and civil servants, yet boasting the largest Civil Service in existence. 21% of the total UK Workforce of some 20 million people (An ESTIMATED 5 million paper shufflers and paper clip managers) and the Armed Forces no number in total less than 100,000 in all three services - but there are 9 paper shufflers in the MoD for every fighting man and woman.

One has to ask; why?

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