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Letters to The Editor - The Times
Sir, Two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers were announced by the Labour Government in mid-1998. At about that same time, Cunard announced its plans to build the Queen Mary 2. Since then, the QM2 has been delivered, on time and to budget, and now has five years’ active service behind her. The aircraft carriers have not even left the drawing board yet and have already notched up expenses equal to the entire cost of the QM2. Perhaps the Admiralty and the Ministry of Defence should engage with the Carnival Corporation (Cunard’s parent company) on how to design and construct ships to time, on budget, and without excessive cost overruns.


Dear Carnival Lines,

Her Majesty's Royal Navy is envious of your ship production capability. The Admiralty is incapable of producing a ship, any ship, whilst you just go straight ahead and produce a ship. Wonderful! How do you do it?

Well, anyway, We At The Admiralty are in admiration. So, let's chat.

Can you produce two (2) aircraft carriers, or port-avion, as they say in France. Now, not only do these port-avion need to be able to transport three (3) thousand soles to warmer climes, but also launch several hundred death-raining armed aircaft. This latter clause is important to the proposed contract. If we just delivered a few thousand soles into the arms of the ayotollah, let's say, and then they cried for mummy, then this would not be satisfactory. No, we need you to create a ship, or multiple ships, preferably, that can deliver three (3) thousand English soles of Churchillian demeanour, to confound Her Majesty's Enmemies.

Build the ships, and we will rent them.

Regards, Sir Jonathon Bland

3 thousand soles? I suspect you mean 3,000 souls, which would of course be 6,000 soles (assuming no rakish wooden legs, etc)

On the other hand, it seems BAe did a *rather* better job with the "Comet" than DeHavilland managed - their attempts broke up in flight and were out of service by the 70's. BAe have kept them running a good 30 years longer and only managed to get one to blow up when refuelling.

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