This ship looks like a ship of the Royal Navy. It bears the title HMS Cumberland. Until recently, it had been undertaking NATO led counter-piracy missions off Somalia, so it was most definitely a British ship.
Now another as yet unnamed frigate is to take over. Just like the Cumberland, it will look like a Royal Navy ship and it will be manned by British sailors. But it won't be a British ship. It will be an EU ship, under EU political control, part of the European Union's first naval task force in an operation, called Op ATALANTA.
That's what the MoD website quite openly tells us, proudly declaring that the Royal Navy's Rear Admiral Phil Jones took charge of "the EU led counter-piracy naval operation," which is to operate off the coast of Somalia. That is where the UK frigate comes in.
Euro Phil also tells us:
This initiative clearly demonstrates the EU's determination to combat these criminal acts. It is also something of a privilege for the UK to be asked to lead such a milestone operation and it is an important step in reassuring the international shipping community that something is being done to protect our maritime interests.Note, he does not say that this demonstrates our determination to combat these criminal acts. Instead, we are informed that the UK, together with France, was at the forefront in launching what would become European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) at the Saint-Malo summit ten years ago. And now it is a reality, with an EU fleet – part-paid by us – sailing on the high seas.
Euro Phil thus warbles: "The EU mission to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia is the latest example of the progress in European Defence in the last ten years and evidence of UK's commitment to ESDP." The man is a traitor – a disgrace to his uniform - and should be shot. Instead, he's a fully paid-up member of the EU naveee, and we're paying his wages … and his pension contributions.
There are no good operational reasons for this. The first "EU ships" – this is how the MoD describes them - are expected to arrive in the area soon, "after formal agreement by foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels". They will take over from four "NATO vessels".
Since the Royal Navy has already been involved in NATO led counter-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, using HMS Cumberland, NATO is obviously good enough for this operation. There is no need for an EU presence. But the EU has its vainglorious ambitions to become a military power in its own right. So it is using another of our ships with our men – and a few women – and boasting that it has its own Navy. And our government is mad enough, stupid enough, treacherous enough to let this happen.
Interestingly, Conservative shadow spokesman on defence, Dr Liam Fox, was very voluble on Sunday about the Falkland Islands being left without the protection of a British warship for the first time since the war with Argentina. This is because the Royal Navy no longer has enough ships to meet all its commitments. We now know why … because they are joining the EU Navee.
And the Conservative response to this is?