The new royal yacht could give us all a chance for a seacation
It is April 1953 and the John Brown Shipyard rings with gasps and then cheers as Queen Elizabeth makes the much awaited name announcement for the new royal yacht.
Champagne was considered too much of an extravaganza in post-war Britain, so an Empire wine bottle was crushed against Britannia’s hull before it plunged into the waters awaiting the Clyde.
Boris Johnson, a famous great admirer of Winston Churchill, may want to emulate his hero with a new royal ship commissioned and launched under his tenure as prime minister.
It certainly seems like a bit of history is repeating itself as the country is in dire financial straits, but building a floating palace is considered a reasonable expense.
As a concession to our post-Brexit and post-pandemic restrictions, perhaps when the new HMY Philip launches, Her Majesty could smash a bottle of Blossom Hill to balance the budget.
But listen, there has been a tremendous amount of criticism about the government’s proposal for a new Royal Yacht. A snip at just £ 200million, the ship would be a floating tribute to Prince Philip and what a perfect tribute for a sailor who loved a party. HMY Britannia costs around £ 11million a year to maintain, but that’s a pittance.
And it’s not like we have to pay for it. The prime minister previously said the boat should be privately funded and given to the royal family as a gift. Private financing of luxury fixtures and fittings? What could possibly go wrong.
It’s a step up from the finance route suggested the last time plans for a royal yacht were raised. In 2017, a group of Tory MPs proposed wheezing for a new national lottery that would allow loyal subjects to pay in cash and receive the gift of knowing they had contributed to the facilities of one of the wealthiest women. from the country.
If only there was another way to do this, some were setting up where people could contribute money to a central pot and have it reallocated to pay for utilities. Someone should take a look at this market gap.
With 200 million pounds, say the moaning minnies, you could buy 87 million school meals. Add the annual maintenance fee and we could tackle homelessness. How myopic.
Conservative MPs said the ship would be a staunch symbol to the world that the UK is open for business. A floating billboard, marketing the country around the world.
Where once we sailed to foreign coasts, plastered a flag in the nearest patch of soft land and claimed the land as our common wealth, now we anchor off the coasts of impressionable countries and show them the best of the world. Great Britain from the Cocktail Bridge. Don’t be too excited, Scotland, to reinvigorate our shipyards. The last royal yacht came from Clydebank so we had our turn.
Yet in a post-Brexit landscape there are certainly plenty of idle fishing trawlers waiting to be reused.
In 2019, before becoming Prime Minister, Mr Johnson told a campaign he would ask the Queen if she wanted a new Royal Yacht Britannia if he got the top job.
“The bottom line is that this is something Her Majesty herself really wants,” he said at the time. “I haven’t established that. I don’t think we should embarrass him – put it that way – forcing that on him.
The Prime Minister may want to consider the same hurdle this time around as well. Seems like if anyone needs to talk, it’ll be the Queen.
After 69 years in business, Her Majesty has a public sense of humor and she’s cunning enough to spot that now is not the time to indulge in luxuries for the use of the super rich.
That said, what Britain needs is to celebrate. Here is the chance.
Why build a yacht to be used by a few? As overseas travel becomes environmentally unjustifiable and difficult in light of the pandemic, why not cruises aboard the HMY Philip? Seacations for all.
Let’s revamp this lottery idea and give everyone a chance to participate in a royal yacht vacation. Call it a shot on a yacht. Down the Clyde to Millport, a gadget around Loch Ness.
Otherwise, politicians with even a slight sense of meaning should shun this plan like rats from a sinking ship.