Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Twelve submarines are to be built in

my home state. Everyone in the state, or so it would seem, is cheering loudly. 
Or are they?
Yes, on the surface, it seems like a great thing. There are jobs involved.
The French, the Germans and the Japanese were all bidding for the contract. The French won. The Germans bowed out gracefully enough. (They will probably get some spin off anyway.) The Japanese are furious - and I mean furious. It is couched in polite diplomatic language but  they are very, very angry indeed. They see it as "loss of face". It is a major embarrassment for them.
The previous Prime Minister actually favoured the Japanese. The subs would have been smaller, lighter, less expensive to build and run and, apparently, capable of just as much.  Other interests took over. And, like it or not, there are still residual security concerns about allowing the Japanese to know too much about our affairs. I rather suspect that they never really had a chance.
The present plans mean that the current Collins class submarines will have to be around a good deal longer than planned. That's an expensive business too. They need to be maintained. The new submarines won't be around for  years yet - 2030 perhaps. The Senior Cat reckons he won't see one anyway.
There will be employment resulting from building the submarines (and also the frigates) here - but it won't make up for all the other jobs which have been lost in this state. We were too dependent on the car industry. We are still in trouble. It isn't going to solve the state's economic woes.
So I wonder about all the excitement. What are we really getting excited about? 
I even wonder whether we will need submarines in 2030. 

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