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The Warships Of Damocles

Posted on July 02, 2017 by

Of all the tropes of the 2014 independence referendum, few were fought over more repeatedly and bitterly, or more dishonestly by the No campaign, than the saga of the Type 26 frigates. The UK government promised Clyde shipbuilders hit hard by years of neglect and job losses that it would build 13 of the state-of-the-art vessels at BAE’s Scotstoun yard, but only if Scots voted No.

Once that vote was secured the number very swiftly dropped to eight, accompanied by a whirlwind of misinformation insisting that there had in fact been no reduction. (As keen social media users will know, this brazen lie was pushed particularly hard by the militarist website UK Defence Journal.)

So we were interested to see a story in today’s Scotland On Sunday which showed how desperate the Unionist side is to cling on to the ships as a future blackmail tool.

The paper has chosen to present the news with a super-positive spin, as you can see from the headline. But the text of the article tells a very different story.

Because the web version of the piece is a little more honest:

Wait a minute – HOW many?

What was once 13 frigates is now three, less than a quarter of that number. The tame GMB trade union, long a mainstay of the No campaign, was pathetically grateful for even this small fraction of what it had been promised, proclaiming the news “a fantastic announcement”, but more critical readers didn’t have far to look for a colder reality.

(The SoS’s claim that the three-ship contract guarantees the yards’ security until 2035 seems to be arrant nonsense in the light of that later paragraph, unless the three vessels are going to take 18 years to build. And even the puppy-dog enthusiasm of the union representative had turned into frustration and concern by the end of his quote.)

In other words, should a second referendum materialise, the frigates will yet again be used as a threat against the remaining jobs at the yard. Workers will be held hostage just to secure a dubious and vague pledge of EIGHT frigates, at some unspecified time in the future, rather than the 13 they were originally promised would be commissioned and started in 2016.

Project Fear will live on. We wish we could feign more surprise, just to make it exciting.

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  1. 02 07 17 10:56

    The Warships Of Damocles | speymouth

107 to “The Warships Of Damocles”

  1. Grouse Beater says:

    The phantom frigates.

  2. scotspine says:

    Three? Thats probably less frigates than the Scots Navy would require.

  3. PRJ says:

    Are three state of the art frigates enough to protect two aircraft carriers?

  4. Ian McCubbin says:

    I am shocked (feigns shock). But we just counter with usual facts and disclosure of the lies and trickery.
    It will be project fear 3. 2 was done at GE 2017.

  5. Marcia says:

    The Phantom Jets will be for the Phantom ships.

  6. David says:

    All the people in those scottish shipyards that voted no should be ashamed of themselves, if they just looked around them they would see what the tories have done to the clyde to kill the unions in revenge for Ted Heath and his government
    What is wrong with some scottish people, they seem to accept cake tomorrow and never stop to think, what if these people are lying to me just to hang on to power, it will be another 5 years before i can vote them out, in my experience, get everything in writing, locked down legally so there can be no wriggling out of any promises made about the future Alba Gu snooker loopy!

  7. TheWasp says:

    The SNP should hammer this fact home at ever opportunity, no pussyfooting now, call out everything without fail.
    I was talking to my next door neighbours on Friday night, and they are strongly yes voters, just because. When I started giving them facts and figures about infrastructure, transport links to Europe, lack of investment in Scotland for the last fifty years, they had no idea, as these outrages are never spoken about on TV and radio.
    Mr Gove has just been on Marr justifying the Billy Boy Billion as ” much needed infrastructure spend”, well I never….
    Tell the people what the yoons are up to all the time as most simply don’t know what’s going on, and yes our coastal protection fleet would need more ships than this paltry alleged order

  8. Juteman says:

    Why doesn’t the SNP produce a document showing what ships the Scottish Navy would need?
    I’m sure it would be far more than 3.

  9. donald anderson says:

    Many moons ago I was shop steward in the GMBU. In their portfolio was Rio Tinto Zinc, which at that time employed SA Slave Labour. They Supported (Lord) Harold Wilson’s pay freeze to the delight of the bosses, who were always sympathetic, but “their hands were tied”, etc.

    The Scottish Trade Unions and the SCWS were all closed down in 1974. Why does no one remember this? Read W H Marwicks’s “Labour in Scottish History” for a detailed list of all the old Scottish TUs.

    The EIS has remained in Scotland, because of the separate Scottish Education system, despite attempts at takeovers, sorry amalgamations, by the English NUT. The STUC is just an empty shell of an office for Labourites.

  10. George S Gordon says:

    In round terms, that’s £1M per job, or about £50,000 per annum per job if they last until 2035.

    I imagine, if you factored in all the other costs of building 3 frigates and what they’d need to pay for this “highly skilled labour”, you could prove that the jobs won’t last until 2035.

  11. Willie John says:

    Would Scotland even need frigates? Would small, fast and well armed coastal protection vessels for fishing and oil installations not be more suitable?

    (And that’s me showing my complete ignorance of all things naval!)

  12. scotspine says:


    For reference.

    The type 31 frigates ( design still being argued about) are meant as “General Purpose” frigates. That is to say, cheap, glorified gunboats with little anti-aircraft or anti-submarine capability, but to provide “hull numbers” as a fig leaf for the RN as it retires current, fully capable frigates coming to the end of their service.

    The type 26 frigates to be built (reduced numbers) are meant as anti-submarine vessels and the type 42 destroyers are anti aircraft, both those classes to act as escort for the arcraftless carriers.

  13. Al Dossary says:

    I will repeat what I posted some months ago re BAE systems.

    Back in the mid 1990’s I spent some 3 months working in what was BAE’S yard in Scotstoun (Yarrows). The pay was so bad that if you were married with kids, they used to give you a family credit form along with the other paperwork on your first day.

    Those working at BAE on the Clyde have had the executioners axe hanging over them since the 1970s. Note that I do have the utmost respect for the workers there – they are some of the most skilled I have ever come across, anywhere in the world.

    The conditions were shocking though. 10 minute mormong tea break, at your place of work (a freezing cold ship, floating in the Clyde in the middle of winte!) and a 35 minute lunch break where you were actually allowed off of the ship.

    The workforce had been put on strike years back to keep their breaks, but management starved them out and bought the morninf breaks with a one off payment of £150 to replace the existing times.

    Gangway patrols coming up to break time and a computerised turnstyle access system to keep track of who was on or off of the ship.

    Not a place I would ever wish to work again.

  14. bigG says:

    3.7 billion thats a Small cost to pay! for an entire ship building industry workforce! Till the year 2035! My god thats cheaper that the D.U.P.!

  15. Dr Jim says:

    Shipbuilders! did I spell that right?
    Vote NO for our jobs they screamed, Scotland depends on unimaginable thousands of jobs in shipbuilding they screamed
    We’ll be doomed without the UK ships, they said
    Think of our children and our childrens children they squealed
    Scotland must at all times bow down to Englands blackmail they said, they said it different but they still said it

    The English are like the WONGA loan company, if you don’t stay with them they smilingly threaten you with horrors while at the same time waving their Imperial flag in your face telling you to be patriotic while wagging a big headmaster warning finger at you if you dare answer back

    If the gutless cowards and sectarianists in Scotland want to be friends with those sorts of people then they’ve got the wrong idea of what friends are supposed to be like

  16. galamcennalath says:

    Simples …

    Westminster does not have Scotland’s interests at heart.

    Westminster however wants to keep Scotland in its Union.

    Westminster is scheming and deceitful, always has been, always will be,

    Scotland needs to wake up to this and take charge if its own destiny.

  17. Grant says:

    Vote No is being exposed as the false prospectus it was. Guarantees and scares over EU membership, jobs and pensions are being seen for what they were.

    If Ruth et al didn’t want another referendum, why base the first campaign on hollow promises?

  18. Ron Murray says:

    It would be a good idea to add this one to ‘The Wee Black Book’ as a reminder of the many promises made by Better Together that have been broken.

    As the momentum for Ref2 grows and we all know its on the cards, an update of the book would be appropriate, maybe even a ‘Crowdfunder’ that enables wide distribution of same?

  19. galamcennalath says:

    TheWasp says:

    Gove has just been on Marr justifying the Billy Boy Billion as ” much needed infrastructure spend”

    If the £2b to NI was upscaled to match Scotland’s population, and spent here, it would enough to pay for the A9 upgrade!

  20. Ian Mackay says:

    Pretty sure that the no. of frigates needed in an independent Scotland would be 5. One for west & south coast, one for east coast, one for north coast, one for Shetland – Greenland gap to meet NATO commitments, and one spare to give the others chance of refits etc.

    And that’s not including other boats like ferries, tugs etc.

  21. ronnie anderson says:

    I hope theres plenty of objections to planning permission at Longniddry.

  22. galamcennalath says:

    The 2014 NO win was bought by so many broken promises, it is long since nil and void.

    It’s about time the Scottish Parliament, Government, and pro Indy parties began to take that line,

    There are plenty of arguments to justify IndyRef2. A crash and burn Brexit is just the icing.

  23. Street Andrew says:

    Frig it.


  24. Smallaxe says:

    I name these ships, The Marie Celeste, One, two, three O’Leary, Hawd ma baw tae a spin ma peerie Oh a cannie spin ma peerie things are gettin’ really eerie and we’re awe gettin’ bloody weary o’ the politicians sayin’ honest dearie we promise no tae mak ye teary jist gie us anithir year ae tryin’ anithir year o’ doon richt lyin’ tae keep the butchers apron flyin’ o’er oor Scottish REGION!

    Peace Always

  25. colin alexander says:

    You mean like this Stu?

    Remember this and the mince from “I did not vote for the Iraq War” Robertson?

  26. louis.b.argyll says:

    Scotland must diversify it’s engineering talents.

    NO COUNTRY should be building WARSHIPS.

    NATO is a scam, the EU has signalled that it wants efficient defence..

    Less war anyone?

    The UK/US need endless war, as it props up their elite establishments.

    Only full independence can allow us to seek a peaceful and progressive and efficient future.

    I don’t really want to be in the UK’s ‘gang’ any longer, they have maintained war across the globe for centuries.

    We need to grow up.

  27. Tam Jardine says:

    But Stu- the Scottish Government has tax raising powers now. If they care about these jobs THEY have the powers now to fund the shortfall of 5 frigates.

    When will the First Minister start getting on with the day job and use the powers she has to secure those jobs?

    That’s how it works, no?

  28. Ghillie says:

    Independent Scotland will need ALOT of ships to be built, military and commercial.

    Surely that blows the unionist threats out of the water = )

  29. Derick fae Yell says:

    Willie John says:
    2 July, 2017 at 10:34 am

    “Would Scotland even need frigates? Would small, fast and well armed coastal protection vessels for fishing and oil installations not be more suitable?”

    Willie – The Royal Norwegian Navy is a good starting point.

    I would observe that the workforce at the main navy base at Haakonsvern, near Bergen, is 5,400.

  30. John Walsh says:

    I asked the said UK defence journal the very simple question.
    Please provide the actual date the “contact for cutting steel ” was signed.
    I was blocked, no surprise because they BAE has spent millions on design but until they sign that contract they are not committing to building any in Scotland .
    ( supposedly in the summer 2017) according to Fallon . In fact they may build them at Belfast yards or for new UK Gov project VFM contracts build outwith UK.
    The Unions are complicit in denying the workers the correct information for the sake of National Unionism.

  31. Mike says:

    And folk thought there was no such thing as a ghost ship.

  32. Ken500 says:

    Faslane wasted £Billions prevents commercial activity on the Clyde. Thatcher and the unionists fairly screwed that one up. Just as they screwed up the Scottish electoral system so the unionists could continue to try and screw up the Scottish economy. A £300Billion Oil fund went to waste along the rest. The awful Westminster unionists and their cronies. £1.8Trns in debt. An absolute disgace.

    The Westminster unionists mismanagement costs Scotland £20Billion+ a year. The Scottish Oil sector being illegally taxed at 40%, since Jan 2016 by Westminster Tories.

    The Brexit fiasco will cost dear. The economy will tank. EU membership bring tremendous benefit. Jobs prosperity and investments. Despite Scotland voting overwhelmingly to stay in. The majority in the UK 60% want to stay in.

    5% of migrants in the population did not cause any problems in the UK. They contribute enormously to the economy. The UK unionist mismanagement caused the worse migration crisis in the UK since 11WW. illegal wars, financial fraud and tax evasion. Illegally bombing the Middle East. Illegally interfering and taking the resources.

    The Trades Union leaders are notorious for collusion with the management and selling out the membership. Books are written on it. Historical documentation.

    The unionist parties are a disgrace. No wionder so few people join them, especially in Scotland.
    Teresa May is a complete lame duck. If she is not gone soon the economy will tank even further. There will be more trouble. If she doesn’t resign soon. The mess will get even worse.

  33. louis.b.argyll says:

    Can Scotland diversify into building ferries and cuise ships?

    No. The UK has it’s own long term strategy.

    Apparently, in forty years, we’ll still be needing to send hard aggression across the world…in the same offensive style as the old British Empire.

    We need to grow up.

  34. Bradford Millar says:

    £3.7 billion for 3 Frigates or £1.2 billion per ship is a ridiculous price when you consider the French FREMMS are just under £600 million per ship or 2 for the price of 1 type 26 frigate even more ridiculous is the fact Russia can build 15 Gorshkov class frigates for £3.7 billion the Gorshkov class are one of the most advanced and heavily armed frigates in the world

  35. Mike says:

    @Bradford Millar

    “even more ridiculous is the fact Russia can build 15 Gorshkov class frigates for £3.7 billion the Gorshkov class are one of the most advanced and heavily armed frigates in the world”

    That’s the difference between nationalised industry and Privatised industry right there.

  36. Breeks says:

    Now remember to ungrateful Jocks, these orders could have gone to cheap £10 a pint low wage third world economy ship builders like Taiwan, Korea and Norway, if it wasn’t for Westminster’s world famous prowess at the negotiating table looking after Scotland’s interests.

    Get back to your Sunday porridge you slovenly tartan landlubbers.

    HMS No Second Referendum, HMS DUP, and HMS No Surrender WILL be built on the Clyde, and if you don’t bow your heads and say “Why thankee sir” we’ll build them somewhere else, but somewhere nice and suitably grateful, and that isn’t a foreign country.

  37. Andy-B says:

    The Scottish government should push the story that look, vote for independence and we will build more frigates for Scotland’s navy than the British government will. That will keep you in a job longer.

    They should add in that if they vote for independence the SG will help the yards secure future work.

  38. Ken500 says:

    Tax raising power, is of little use without powers over spending. They go together to keep a tight ship. Spending and major taxation decisions are taken elsewhere. Not by the majority decision in Scotland. No taxation without representation. £4Billion (average) taken out to pay repayments on debt borrowed and spent in the rest of the UK.

    The (SNP) Gov has done more for Scotland than the unionists did in fifty.

  39. Capella says:

    There will also be a £400 million upgrade for Lossiemouth if we stay in the Union. UK defence expenditure will be boundless in Scotland. If we vote NO.

  40. Meg merrilees says:

    Eat yir dinner… no mammy ah dinnae like it.
    Eat your dinner… mammy ah’m no hungry
    If ye eat yir dinner ye can huv some chocolate… aright mammy!

    Do they think we’re stupid!

    Torygraph today says Senior conservatives have been meeting with business representatives to tell them to prepare for the possibility that T May will walk out of Brexit negotiations in September over the ‘Divorce Bill’.

  41. geeo says:

    Sorry ot so early but Sunday politics Andrew Neil just got destroyed by Italian MEP Roberto Gaultieri talking about the EU and Euro.

    Gualtieri stated clearly that if an EU member does not want to join the Euro they do not have to.

    One in the eye for unionist scaremongerers re indy Scotland.

  42. Valerie says:

    Off topic, apologies, but important if you are Irish or have family. Thread from lawyer.

  43. scunner says:

    If the UK are to take a similar negotiating stance as Andrew Neil just took when interviewing Italian MEP Roberto Gualtieri (on EU negotiating team apparently) then we are boned.

    Typical “they need us more than we need them” twisting, lying, rude attitude from our Sunday Morning Politics host.

  44. Camz says:

    Surprised they ain’t suggesting Belfast as the place to build them, to secure decades of DUP support.

  45. Valerie says:

    Ffs, that’s my MSP getting a kicking from Brewer on economy. (Jamie Hepburn)

    I simply don’t by understand why they aren’t rigidly drilled by rottweilers before coming on TV.

    I’m shouting ‘ we need the economic levers’

  46. Ghillie says:

    louis.b.argyll @ 11.05 am and 11.18 am

    Agree totally !

    ‘ Less war anyone?’ Amen to that !!

    Independent Scotland will need to refresh our fishing fleets and ferries, build a substancial fleet of cargo ships ( as we will be exporting our Scottish goods from our own ports in future, oh which might need a bit of refurbishment too ), replace our depleted Coast Guard and rescue vessels, and build whatever else we, here in Scotland deem necessary.

    Our Clyde ship builders are going to be pretty busy !

    As all ship and boat builders right around our coastlines will be.

    Future scaremongering and pathetic empty bribes from unionists are well and truly holed below the water line!

    What are we waiting for = )

  47. Duncan Stewart says:

    It is about time The Scotsman came clean and changed its title, due to trades description law. Something like The Britman or The Britishman. With the byline of “Britain’s Voice in Scotland, defender of the union, God save the Queen” Just so the hard of thinking understand the agenda!

  48. Thepnr says:

    There were some numbers in the White Paper about what an Independent Scotland could do with regard to a Scottish Navy. I’ll just quote a couple of paragraphs but the whole section on defence was worth reading again I thought.

    This Scottish Government will take forward the procurement of four new frigates, to be built on the Clyde, preferably through joint procurement with the rest of the UK. Two of these will be ordered in the first parliamentary term of independence and, when built, will bring the number of frigates in the Scottish navy to four (the two new frigates as well as the inherited Type 23s). The Scottish Government believes that is the appropriate number of frigates in the longer term, and will order the further two frigates in time to replace the Type 23s when they are retired from service…

    We also plan to prioritise procurement within the first five years of maritime patrol aircraft, based on a detailed specification of need (the numbers maintained by comparable nations suggests a potential fleet of four). Depending on negotiation with the rest of the UK on division of assets, further procurement needs will have to be addressed, including for offshore patrol vessels.

  49. Ken500 says:

    Scottish taxpayers revenues are being used to built these ships for the the Westminster unionist administration. £20Billion+ a year of Westminster unionist mismanagement is misappropriated within the Scottish budget, which could be better used.

    Scotland could use the revenues to build what was appropriate for the Scottish defence/ economy. Or chose to make a contribution to Defence. UK/EU NATO.

  50. Capella says:

    @ Thepnr – snap! I was just looking at what “Scotland’s Future proposed for maritime defence:

    Maritime forces

    One naval squadron to secure Scotland’s maritime interests and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and contribute to joint capability with partners in Scotland’s geographical neighbourhood, consisting of:

    two frigates from the Royal Navy’s current fleet
    a command platform for naval operations and development of specialist marine capabilities (from the Royal Navy’s current fleet, following adaptation)
    four mine counter measure vessels from the Royal Navy’s current fleet
    two offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) to provide security for the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However, as the Royal Navy only has four OPVs currently[262], a longer lead time for procurement might be necessary
    four to six patrol boats from the Royal Navy’s current fleet, capable of operating in coastal waters, providing fleet protection and also contributing to securing borders
    auxiliary support ships (providing support to vessels on operations), which could be secured on a shared basis initially with the rest of the UK

    These arrangements will require around 2,000 regular and at least 200 reserve personnel.

  51. sinky says:

    Yet again snp politician failed to mention that UK hold the macroeconomic levers and main taxation powers. But also BBC politics show then gives Labour and Tories free hits at SNP without right of reply.

  52. North chiel says:

    O/t however, supposed ” interviewer” Brewer asking Scotgov minister questions on Scottish economy and then constantly ” talking over” his answers. Now conveniently has Tory Lockhart and
    Jackie Baillie from the accounting unit party given much less rigorous ” interrogation” especially Baillie.

  53. gus1940 says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but was it not the case that the 13 vessels subsequently reduced to 8 were Type 31s and that Type 26 s were lesser vessels which were going to be ordered to fill the gap while the design and price of Type 31s were finalised or more likely while Portsmouth dockyard was being upgraded so that the 31s could be built there.

    £3.7 Billion sounds good if it it is going to be spent in Scotland but let us not forget that the hull being built on the Clyde is the cheap part of a modern warship and that the real money is spent on the power plant, electronics and weapon fit none of which I am aware will be made in Scotland. Even then it is more than likely that these expensive items will not be installed by Clyde yard workers but mostly by contractors’ staff brought in from south of the border.

    Let us not forget that building warships is not a boon for the economy but is just circulating taxpayers’ money.

    What we need in Scotland is yards building Cruise Liners, RoRo Ferries both for Calmac and for international service, Oil Rig Supply vessels and perhaps Luxury Yachts for billionaires. That will actually earn money for the economy.

    If countries such as Germany, Norway, Finland, France and Italy not famous as low wage countries can do it why not Scotland with its long shipbuilding tradition.

  54. Richardinho says:

    You hear legends about phantom ships, but who’d have thought we’d have ten of them being built on the Clyde right now!

  55. Effijy says:

    Al Dossary-

    I worked in that same yard in the 90’s and back up every word that you say.

    The senior management were right wing extremists and used every kind of threat imaginable.

    Murray Easton came up with many cost hair brained money saving schemes, and brought back to the Yard a Liverpudlian nicknamed the Rottweiler.

    He seen himself as a tough man and on an almost daily basis he would pick on a worker to advise that they were lazy, incompetent, and they would be thrown on to the dole.

    One typical story involved him sneaking behind a female cleaner who was heading her mop and bucket toward a section of the yard that didn’t currently have a ship on its stocks.

    The lady went into one of the female toilets, where he waited a few minutes to see if she was going to start smoking or reading a newspaper.

    He creeped, very appropriate word, into the toilet and kicked open the occupied cubicle.

    The Lady was using the toilet in the usual manner, no cigarettes or newspaper to be found.

    He frog marched her to his offices threatening her with the sack and generally demeaning her before sending for Union Rep.

    It unfolded that there was a standard rota where the toilets in that area would be cleaned once per month to keep them in reasonable condition for future use.

    She had a long and distinguished service at the yard and was recognised as a hard worker, and had been carrying out her duties as normal.

    He of course was never wrong and so he promised her that he would get her out one way or another.

    The woman left as she knew he would offer a promotion to anyone who would make her life hell, or plant something in her locker, or just stand over her until she had had enough

    Another time I got involved in a situation where a Spark with Multiple Sclerosis had been given an easier, but necessary task of manufacturing extension power cables
    in a store room. He used a cordless screw driver to help his limited control of his mussels, his volume and quality of work was acceptable, but the Rottweiler made it clear to him that the Yard wasn’t a charity and he wasn’t going to put up with cripples holding back production.

    It was a cold, filthy, job that stank when welders were working on painted steel, but in order to get a slight pay rise, the Union sold an onshore tea break.
    This meant that you sat on cold steel in sub zero temperatures with dirty hands in foul air to eat a sandwich.

    On a more positive note, I worked closely with an English based MOD Inspector who travelled the UK ship yards including Barrow in Furness.

    He commented that it was a joy to come to Yarrows as the quality of work was always far superior to the English Yards.

    He claimed that Barrow just made one mess after another so that they length of each contract ran way over budget, and kept the only significant employer in the region ticking over. His snagging list was more or less “Do everything again”.

    I was also part of a small team who were sent down to Plymouth to work on some specialist cable terminations
    that no one in Plymouth or Portsmouth felt capable of.

    What I am trying to say that if England doesn’t give these ships to Scottish Yards, they will end up with poorer quality ships that are way over budget and they would need to seek specialist skills from abroad.

    Scotland gives England the best value that they can get for this type of work!

  56. Edward says:

    Its incredible that Scot’s have to put up with having shipbuilding in Scotland ham strung tied more or less exclusively to military contracts passed out by a corrupt MOD in London.

    We are totally brain washed into believing that its only by being in a union with England that the ‘benevolent’ London government can support ship building in Scotland.

    History has shown that the reason why ship building in Scotland, especially on the Clyde has struggled after the second world war due to gross under investment by ship building companies, who kept using machinery and practices form the 19th century!

    This came to a head around the time of UCS and the work in. but instead of proper direction and investment, the UK Government went with pushing the industry and in effect locking in the industry into building for military contracts. Something that was manipulated by successive UK governments and notably the Labour party at times of elections.

    Countries like Finland, Germany, Poland have successful shipbuilding based on modern practices and equipment, which sees hem competing for commercial contracts for cargo and cruise ships. There is no reason that Scottish shipbuilding cannot do the same, after all Scotland has the talent, it just needs the inward investment to bring it into he 21st century and break away from having to rely on military contracts

  57. HandandShrimp says:


    I am pretty sure the £4bn or so was the original price for the 8 frigates. Not sure how suddenly 3 cost that much. That makes them dearer than Type 45 destroyers. The remarkable price escalation has been a primary reason why they now can’t afford these ships.

  58. Bob Mack says:

    Amazingly enough, word of mouth is responsible for around 50% of all purchasing decisions. In this case ,people WANT to believe it, and therefore offer comfort and consolation those who NEED to believe it. Rationality is forgotten as a promised bonanza seems just over the horizon,

    All I could advise the workers is this. ” If your ship does not come in, then swim out to it”. Support an indy Scotland.

  59. Brian Powell says:

    Ross Murdoch is a good illustration of why TU membership is dragging along the bottom. Completely useless as the numbers have fallen and fallen and fallen. However the salaries of TU ‘top dogs’ has risen and risen.

    A good rerun of the story of the American Teamsters, but without the industry or numbers.

    Another thought, UK TUs represent some workers in the Republic of Ireland, how will that work after Brexit?

  60. HandandShrimp says:

    Not sure why you guys continue to watch Brewer and Co…it just encourages them 🙂 Reduce their viewing figures…ignore the sods.

    In other news I see that work continues on looking at a Calmac type solution to Scotrail. SNP doing the day job. There are quite a few bills and policy moves coming up. It is the day job and it is the SNP doing things that Labour like to talk about but never actually do (or are likely to get the chance to do). One thing that is guaranteed – Struth is going to hate the SNP doing the day job.

  61. Betty Boop says:

    Surely the pen slipped before they had completed the figure 8 ? It did, didn’t it? They’re only kidding, they’ll be back soon with another li… offer.

  62. auld highlander says:

    Latest cutting edge techno, maybe it will be running on outdated windows XP just like the new carrier.

  63. auld highlander says:

    Number of frigates cut to pay for the Oirish bribe.

  64. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Norway has 42 armed vessels in its waters (most of them built,or mostly built ),in Norwegian yards. Denmark with no oilfields had a substantial armed navy in its waters,mostly built in Denmark.
    The UK’s antarctic vessels were built by – wait for it – Norway.
    Even Little Ireland has armed defence vessels in its waters.

    Scotland is the only maritime nation with no navy

  65. auld highlander says:

    Will the new cutting edge frigates be working on Windows XP like the new cutting edge carrier.

  66. David Mills says:

    At that rate they’ll be Threating to pull the construction of a digny called “Dignity”

  67. Macart says:

    Thirteen to eight and then to three. Oh, and no doubt conditional on…etc. Uh huh! That’s about par for the course where Westminster is concerned.

    Are folk not a bit fed up yet of blackmail? Are they not fed up of being used by folk who clearly couldn’t give a shit whether they work or not?

    Any time you feel like changing up the management, you know what to do.

  68. bigG says:

    the lady what cleans the budgie cage of the budgie thats owned by the auntie of the guy that cleans the windows of a certain back bencher told me in strictest confidence that the other frigates were going to be built in northern direland as part of the D.U.P / tory deal and they could ensure the support till the year 2055

  69. Stuart Hood says:

    Stu, they were building these things (or, at least ships with that weird truncated pyramid where a funnel should be) on the Clyde a few years back. I remember reading then that the bulk of the cost was actually for the software (French, iirc) that was going to detect a ballistic the size of a tennis ball from 70 miles away (or some such crap).

    Got time to do a bit of research and blog if you find something on that?

  70. Hamish100 says:

    Surely the reinvigorated Scottish Fishing fleet will stop all foreign invaders stealing Scottish Fish?

    The English ports of Hull Grimsby are rubbing their hands.

    The Ulster fishing leader of Scotland of course sees all the fish in red white and blue terms.

    We are all British after all. Come take, eat and profit.

    Scots fishermen sold out again. Hell mend them. Stop the Aberdeen by-pass. No need anymore.

  71. Meindevon says:

    I’m guessing they are keeping any possible future ‘batches’ on hold as a threat for the next Indyref. Vote No and you’ll get the rest of the order. Vote yes and they will go elsewhere. Mind you, who knows where?

    Michael Gove on Marr this morning told us all we need to know about the DUP deal. It was ALL about keeping the Union together.

    All said in about ten minutes talking about the DUP deal.

    ‘Making sure our Kingdom is stronger, our Union is protected’

    ‘making sure the UK is stronger’

    ‘they (the DUP) wanted to ensure, as we want to ensure, that the UK is stronger over the course of the next five years’

    ‘we want to ensure the UK is stronger as a result of the next five years in government’

  72. Breeks says:

    Just missed something on the Radio… caught the tail end of something fishing related.

    Westminster is trying to divide EU over fishing access or something. Like they tried with German cars. The UK just doesn’t get it that all roads in negotiations lead to Michel Barnier, and the EU is a resolute bloc negotiatior that won’t be divided by fractious little UK tactics. If it doesn’t go through M. Barnier, it isn’t happening.

    The UK is acting like Flash Harry in the St Trinians movie, a spiv black marketeer, “Oi! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Don’t you worry about the EU rules luv, I can get you a good deal on UK fishing, nudge, nudge, wink, wink”.

    They just don’t get it. It’s sad and embarrassing, and given that they profess to speak on behalf of Scotland, its humiliating too.

  73. Robert Graham says:

    I gave the brewer piece five minutes then gave up.
    Media training should be a holiday requirement for our ministers and all our MSPs , I and most people here could have brought brewer to a standstill by simply asking him exactly how much power and influence the Scottish government he thought has , then presented him with the answers to the questions he put by pointing out what a normal small country would do to increase growth , the first being the UK government pulling the plug on carbon capture , most things are outwith our control , so its amazing how well we are doing strangled by Westminster . A poor poor showing from the SNP .

  74. Muscleguy says:

    @Ian Mackay

    The RNZ Navy gets by at the moment with 2 frigates, 6 patrol boats, 1 strategic sealift ship*, 1 replenishment oiler and 1 diving support vessel.

    This is for an oceanic country with an enormous marine EEZ boosted by offshore islands like the Kermadecs to the NE halfway to Tonga, The Chathams far to the East and a chain of subantarctic islands like the Snares, Antipodes etc.

    NZ also does fishery patrols for a number of Pacific Island states we have various responsibilities for.

    The patrol boats can operate both in the Tropical Pacific and down in the Roaring 40s around the Subantarctics.

    *A multi use vessel, carries choppers, smaller boats and can project a battalion sized force into the Tropical Pacific. It is VERY useful for disaster relief. A lot of tourists stranded in Kaikoura after the big earthquake in NZ were uplifted onto the Monowai with all their luggage. It can do cyclone relief in the Pacific.

    Now, NZ doesn’t have a lot of neighbours and none of them are belligerent. Fiji is not going to invade us. Anyone trying to do so will have stupendously long communication lines highly vulnerable to interdiction and Realpolitik says Australia will not stand by and see their eastern flank fall.

    Scotland is in a crowded space and the Cod War shows what can arise between otherwise peaceful neighbours. In the past NZ has sent a frigate to monitor French nuclear testing in Mururoa or Funafati. But they’ve stopped that now.

    There’s the Iceland Gap to patrol as you say. I think we would want a minimum of three suitably equipped frigates for that. One on patrol, one undergoing maintenance and one for training and because you want one on the way as the one on patrol ends its patrol.

    I’m not sure you need frigates for coastal defence as you describe. Smaller, faster boats seem more useful for rig protection. The sort NZ sends down into the roaring 40s should suffice. They are armed to put warning shots across the bows of poaching fishing boats. They can carry depth charges and carry say members of an SBS type formation for rig assault.

    A chopper carrier, multiple support vessel of the Monowai type should be considered as well in case some disaster should befall an island or cut off a coastal community on the mainland. And maybe, just maybe we may need to project troops there. A nation with offshore islands needs such a capacity because when you need such a vessel if you don’t have it, you don’t have it.

    The Kaikoura earthquake shows how useful such a vessel is. NZ had it, it was fairly close at it happens. It was put to good use as were the choppers it carries. A lot of choppers doing stuff like sluicing the big landslips and still supplying cut off little communities along the coast are still in action around Kaikoura. The road and rail lines north are scheduled to reopen at the end of the year.

  75. Bob says:

    Frigates are warships of the past, why we even bother with them is beyond me. As a small island with a huge coastline, we need smaller faster vessels, they are harder to hit for one thing. We have just launched an aircraft carrier which is more suited to providing car parking at Dartford than sailing the seas launching aircraft when pilots can sit at home and send drones faster to a conflict area than a lumbering hulk.
    The only way our shipyards and businesses will flourish is with independence but unfortunately, democracy is lost on the stupid masses populating these shores who have the most powerful research tool at their fingertips and use it for watching cat videos.

  76. Andy Anderson says:

    Lying Ba****ds

  77. Bob p says:

    Effijy 12.12pm. There are ways of dealing with c***s like the rottweiler.

  78. yesindyref2 says:

    @Rev: “Workers will be held hostage just to secure a dubious and vague pledge of EIGHT frigates

    With the contracts signed for three, that would be five, not eight.

  79. Bradford Millar says:


    you are indeed correct the Type 45s came in at £1 billion per ship originally they planned to build 12 (notice a trend here) and only built 6 they came with a new experimental power system that has been a disaster constant breakdowns and spending long periods in dock.

    Originally the Type 26 was costed at the same price as the French FREMM to compete at overseas sales .. at £1.2 billion per ship they can forget about it they are just slightly cheaper than the US Arleigh Burke-class destroyer ffs

  80. davidbsb says:

    Here are some links. I have no knowledge of warships or the construction thereof, but I note that Sweden and Denmark build their own. And also that Norway and Finland are not averse to buying them from third countries. Maybe independent Scotland will need its own navy, build its own warships, and might be able to export some too.

  81. Vic MacKinlay says:

    Check the Wikipedia entry for “Holland Class Offshore patrol vessels” to get a very similar description of ships’ tasks. Their four did not take 18 years to build either. But then the Netherlands is a small independent country.

  82. Auld Rock says:

    I believe that a Scottish Navy would require about six fast agile Frigates capable of maintaining 30 Knots plus in big sea at the far reaches of our 200 mile economic zone, I would also suggest three subs similar to the current German and Italian ‘S’ Class, capable of crossing the Atlantic without surfacing and are also ultra silent to the extent they are virtually undetectable due to their ‘creeper’ electric motors, first used in the Type XXIII, U-Boats but came to late to cause any damage to the Allies Navies. In fact one of the few of these Boats that made it to sea and while en route to Bergen when peace was declared had slipped through HMS Sheffield’s screen and carried out a dummy torpedo attack.

    Other than these vessels we should have some smaller, fast and agile ‘Coast Guard’ type vessels as used by the US. Type 26’s are over complicated for our needs.

    Auld Rock

  83. yesindyref2 says:

    OK Part 1 – Type 26.

    The original concept and plan for the T26 was to have 8 full fleet escorts, taking much kit from 8 refitted T23s. Probably because of delays it looks like the T26 won’t be taking much from the T23, for instance it will be fitted with the Mk41 VLS missile system, 24 cell I think. So there only ever was a plan for 8 ships using the full capability – the other 5 were to be lighter, but using the same design overall, and perhaps the same hull.

    The exhaust rebreathing system is made in Canada, and though initial interest in the T26 was limited because of cost, there is now interest in Canada and Australia. They presumably wouldn’t be built here, but built there. Indeed, the Canadian shipyard has already been on a recruting drive on the Clyde for shipworkers.

    Meanwhile, because of further delays and uncertainty, BAE cancelled its two a year frigate factory, and a lot of workers have been “temporarily” relocated to Barrow to help on the Astute building. It was recently noted by Parker (see part 2) that it would take a year to ramp up production again on the Clyde to handle any T26 work, and if it wasn’t started this year, it would be difficult to actually do it. Another point is that apprenticeships appear to have stopped, also leaving the T26 program in jeapordy.

    Contracts for the rebreathers were already made for 3 ships, and I think also the Mk41 VLS, so it was always fairly unlikely those 3 would not be built on the Clyde. It would take time to get the program going elsewere, and meantime the T23s are already in danger of needing more expensive refits including hull life extensions to keep them in service until the T26 is ready. It is a bit of a shambles.

    But the significance of all this is that while 3 have now been ordered at last, with the notice that next orders won’t happen until the 2020s, it becomes increasingly possible they won’t be built on the Clyde – regardless of Independence or referendums.

  84. yesindyref2 says:

    Part 2 – Type 31

    The original intention was for 8 full fleet escort Type 26 frigates, and 5 general purpose ones, based on the Type 26.

    This changed when the T31 was announced, and even the hull will be different. So that’s 8 T26 in the UK, and no more. You can’t just revive a shipbuilding program, which is why no more Type 45 Destroyers will ever be built unless the UK wins the Euromillions.

    So the T31, 5 or possibly 6, will as originally inteded, be a general purpose frigate, but with a different design – and a totally open one. The reason is cost. There are private companies have their own designes, for instance the Spartan. There was an independent shipbuilding review last year which concluded that warhips should be shared around the UK, with Parker the main guy. That hasn’t been officially accepted, but is influential.

    The current state of play is that there are two requests for tender for the T31, one from BAE, but one from Babcock. Babcock have Rosyth, but also a shipyard in the south of England – and also one in Northern Ireland. Note the DUP blackmail of the Tory party. Both have the usual photoshop illustration of their planned concept. But even if BAE win the tender, it’s not certain they’d be built on the Clyde. And BAE itself has other eggs to fry sunny side up – ongoing maintenance for warships and other assets is a big prize, and BAE are holding their own in getting awarded those contracts.

    So there you go, the only actual guarantee seems to be for 3 Type 26, and even without Independence or the “threat” of another referendum, it becomes increasingly likely that will be 3 more warships to be built in Scotland and that’s our lot, the end of warship building on the Clyde, and indeed in Scotland once Rosyth finishes the PoW. Perhaps the occasional refit and maintenance, and that might be our lot.

    Yes, this is ultimately alarmist, but sadly also realistic, and a commentary on the state of play of the cash-strapped MOD who recently cancelled Sentinel just to save £1 billion. Seems to me the UK will build its warships in the future, wherever they’re the cheapest to build.

  85. Ian McLean says:

    MOD were tentatively negotiating with other countries including, specifically, India to share the cost of warships, the carrot being a “we design them, you build them” arrangement.
    India seemed unimpressed and is now in JV with Korea building warships.
    What price a similar scheme being resurrected and hawked around elsewhere as a sweetener for broader trade agreements post Brexit?

  86. yesindyref2 says:

    Mk41 VLS – Vertical Launch System – by the way is the way to go. Consideration would be given by the RN to retro-fit that in the T45 if they had the money. It’s capable of firing a range of missiles, without them having to have individually designed silos etc.

    When Scotland builds our own frigates it’s almost certain we’d want to fit them as standard, as increasing navies are doing, perhaps even 2 x 24 cell ones. The Mk41 can fire, for instance, the Norweigan Naval Strike Missile (Kongsberg) anti-ship missile and probably the future JSM, as well as a range of others.

  87. yesindyref2 says:

    “as well as a range of others”

    anti-sub, anti-air, ground attack as well as anti-ship!

  88. gerry parker says:

    Effigy and Al dossary.
    Echoes there of “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists”

  89. Stuart Anderson says:

    I have lived in Limekilns, Fife for 5 years and byway of many trips to greggs the bakers (latte and almond croissant lol) I meet so many guys working on the bridge or the aircraft carrier. I can confirm there are sooooo many English lads up here working, alot of them totally sound. They are spending in the local economy which is great but there must be a similar pattern in the West. Many Scottish jobs are taken up with skilled English/Overseas workers. I have no opinion on it, just wanted to share my observation!

  90. Hamish100 says:

    Watched Brewer on tv on catch up.
    Hepburn was shit. How many times have folk on here said attack is the best form of defence.

    Any branch member would do a better job. We have independence we have the economic levers. Our money given to Northen Ireland we should have. His response was bizarre.
    No hols for MInisters get yourself sorted or let others take over.
    Of course BBC then gives free reign to labour and Tories.

  91. Stewart Reed says:

    I thought the workers at bae were highly qualified and therefore a higher level of education, understanding and common sense but by the level of stupidity convayed and displayed makes one wonder if the workforce would be better suited rowing across the Clyde to the supermarkets there and apply for a job stacking the shelves with tins of beans after all the shelf stackers have a lot in common with the bae employees and the unions in that they are all paid from the neck down. I’d only dread to think about the quality of the bae product! I would be more confident with a five year old kid building a Lego ship than with the stupidity displayed by a supposedly intelligent bae workforce who are evidently mathematicaly challenged.

  92. mogabee says:

    I cannot wait ’til the “roaring twenties”. It appears so much is going to happen then.

    *there’ll be unicorns and fluffy clouds and free energy and everyone will be richer, smarter, funnier…

    Okay,okay you get the picture 😀 😀 😀 😀

  93. heedtracker says:

    Neat summary too.

    Yes – NHS in Scotland
    7 hrs · Haddington ·
    And then there were three.

    “Of all the tropes of the 2014 independence referendum, few were fought over more repeatedly and bitterly, or more dishonestly by the No campaign, than the saga of the Type 26 frigates. The UK government promised Clyde shipbuilders hit hard by years of neglect and job losses that it would build 13 of the state-of-the-art vessels at BAE’s Scotstoun yard, but only if Scots voted No.
    Once that vote was secured the number very swiftly dropped to eight, accompanied by a whirlwind of misinformation insisting that there had in fact been no reduction. (As keen social media users will know, this brazen lie was pushed particularly hard by the militarist website UK Defence Journal.)
    So we were interested to see a story in today’s Scotland On Sunday which showed how desperate the Unionist side is to cling on to the ships as a future blackmail tool.”÷

  94. Shug says:

    If the shipyard workers are daft enough to follow a unionist union hell mend them when the yards shut and they lose their jobs

    This type of thing has happened so often I am past caring if they are that stupid

    When we get independence we can buy ships from Norwegian yards if we need them and ours are all closed

  95. Robert Peffers says:

    @PRJ says: 2 July, 2017 at 10:12 am:

    “Are three state of the art frigates enough to protect two aircraft carriers?”

    Laughably PRJ, there are not enough aircraft on the carriers to protect the three frigates either.

  96. William Wallace says:

    @effigy 12:12

    The way you wrote that took me there. If you wrote a book aboot yir time there, I think it would sell really well. I’d certainly buy a copy. You’ve a way with words and story telling.

    Should pit that tae use 😉

  97. Alex Montrose says:

    No dilution of plans here then.

  98. Graeme McCormick says:

    And all the while the MOD is approaching other companies and subcontractors to undercut the BAE bid.

    Slightly off topic: the extra 2000 jobs promised for the relocation of the submarine fleet to Faslane seems to be 2000 ghosts as well. Following an FOI request the MOD has admitted that none of the existing submarine service or support personnel has been surveyed to establish if any are prepared to move their homes to the West of Scotland. So even if they do move the fleet the personnel will be heading south each Thursday to spend the weekends with their loved ones and contributing nothing to the local economy.

  99. Calum McKay says:

    I do appreciate that times change, but I look back on the calibre of leader the workers had in the 60s, 70s and 80s and contrast it to today.

    In the past the TU leaders were indepndent, not scared of the bosses / government and most important, were trusted by the men.

    I look at the TU officials now, they have none of those attributes and are not trusted by the men.

    When I heard one of the TU leaders citing jobs as a reason to remew trident, it stunned and chilled me.

    I wish the men in the yard well, I am sure they realise they are being blackmailed, I wonder what some of those TU leaders from the 60s, 70s amd 80s would make of it?

  100. Cactus says:

    Let’s go forward to the future in our independent Scotland:

    The year is 2025 (the year 2025 looks SO futuristic.)

    President of Iceland:
    “Hey Scotland, cheers for your international assistance, by providing your humanitarian rescue ships, during the natural incident which unfortunately occurred off of our South East coast! Cheers, you’re a star.”

    FM of Scotland:
    “Nae bother Iceland, we’ve been here all along, come join us.”

    President of Iceland:
    “Cheers Scotland! Hey and congratulations also on your discovering of the cure for cancer, just last year.”

  101. Cactus says:

    Let’s build Loveships, NOT Warships!

    And lot’s of bridges too.


  102. Cactus says:


  103. Cactus says:

    Important PS frae above.

    I wish no unfortunate natural incident upon beautiful Iceland, but nonetheless, our ships are a ready. No job too big or small. We can do it.

    Inn-keeping things in context…

    Iceland’s cool ?

  104. Cactus says:

    Awwwe… question mark was surposed tae be smiley shades face.

    Ach well, ah’ll have tae settle for..

    Iceland’s cool 🙂

  105. Fudgefase says:

    Stupid thing is that an independent Scotland could build boats for anyone in the world – and charge whatever rates were competitive, or get Govt subsidies etc, the whole nine yards. Independence would be taking the shackles OFF, not keeping the gilt handcuffs ON.

  106. Breeks says:

    Something that niggles me about warships and their construction is that much of what a warship is and does is reflected in its weapons systems, defense systems, radar systems, communications and propulsion.

    Im not sure when they say a ship costs £1billion to build, how much of that is actually spent in the shipyard building the “floaty” bit and merely plumbing in the tech that comes from elsewhere.

    I think it would be interesting to find out more detail on what proportion of a multi billion order is money for the shipyard.

  107. Iain Halder says:

    The SNP should asap publish a plan for shipbuilding in Scotland post Indy. Our coastal defence fleet alone will require a lot more than three friggin’ frigates. over a number of years Scotland will likely require dozens of ships for coastal fishing and rigs protection and large numbers of tugs for our new ports.
    The young men and women who want to work at sea in a future Indy Scotland will have plenty of employment opportunities made available to them.
    However the SNP need to start taking the initiative now and start being more pro-active and less reactive. I KNOW they are a pro-active party by nature but this is not getting through the british state media. The message needs to be taken directly to shipworkers and onto the street thus by-passing the state media.

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