Thursday, 22 February 2018

Loss of Finace = Loss of Power....

Interesting news over at Guido that Labour are now surpassing the Tories for fundraising.

Of course the biggest contributors to Labour are the Unions where their members are forced to contribute to political funding unless they opt out, but the Tories seem to have lost a swathe of funding by comparison.

There may be a number of factors contributing to this, but I'm sure the Tory preoccupation with Brexit to the detriment of all other matters (and managing that poorly) is losing them considerable donations.

I did predict back in December that May would last as PM until May. I'm pretty sure the unchallenged college-level bullshit coming out of Labour on taking utilities back into public ownership without actually paying for them (in essence stealing them) has gone down well with the the youngsters down at the student uinion bar, but Theresa May's inability so slap down such naieve bollocks with proper grown-up facts has won her no favours with Tory funders. Or Tory voters.

There's also the fight between Tory central office and the local constituencies over who decides on candidates is losing them lots of grassroots support.

I think that Labour will win big in London and the North. They will pick up the UKIP places on local councils as UKIP has become irrelevant in politics again.

More gains for Labour will mean more crowing from the far-left trots in charge and a Tory Party looking more and more out of touch and at risk. Drastic measures i.e. getting rid of Theresa May might stem some of the damage, but the longer it goes on, the longer the distraction of Brexit continues, the longer Philip Hammond is in place and the even more strident "sack 'em all" Anna Soubry are allowed to brief against Brexit , the worse the damage for the Tory party. (and yes I know that differeing viewpoints is healthy debate, but really those two need to wind their necks in because they talk as if they represent the majority of voters.... and of course the anti-Brexit BBC laps them up.

May will be a pivotal month. Either the Tories have the spine and killer instinct to be able to do what is necessary to survive, or they lose power and wither and die politically.

In the back of my mind Theresa May keeps reminding me of Neil Kinnock. Sure she bested him by actually winning an election (just) by just seems the same wishy-washy, couldn't fight their way out of a paper bag, indecisive sort of non-leader. Surely the Conservative Party have someone better to put in place?

Even Boris' speech last week on Brexit (has he been taking lessons on how to be serious for the past few months?) sounded like someone who you could actually see running the Conservatives. He swept away the cobwebs with passion in his speech, which was refreshing compared to the Maybot. Sure, the old Boris almost came through the new veneer and almost cracked a few off jokes, yes he even still quoted Latin during the speech (no-one understands it Boris!), but you could see he was trying his best to be un-Boris-like. he wants that job.

Well, only a couple of months of training to go Boris, hopefully by May they can have him talking without having to make a joke every 5 seconds and that urge to quote Latin will be put to bed for good. This is not school Boris, you don't have to be the cheeky chappie to avoid being bullied and you don't have to quote Latin every 5 seconds to prove you're an intellectual either. Just please, for God's sake talk plain Engish!

Hmm, Boris as PM and JRM on the front bench.... it could work. It would certainly earn the Tories undoubted reams of free publicity and column inches. They just need to make it positive.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Stealth Tanker

Way back when I first strted this blog, I used to chip the odd comment over on some miltary sites and I used to blog about things military.

Things have gone a bit stale on the military front: the F-35 is slowly coming on stream and I'm sure will eventually support most of it's requirements. The Typhoon will eventually start to be fitted out with upgrades to lower it's radar observability.

The big news is the Chinese and Russian low-observable aircraft that will over the next decade come on stream.

However, there is a weak link in the chain: endurance. Most fighter and reconnaissance aircraft need refuelling as part of their operation envelope. Refuelling is even more critical on stealthy aircraft because bulky extenal fuel tanks ruin the stealth aspect, so they have to carry fuel internally.

The F-22 Raptor has the ability to super-cruise at supersonic speeds without afterburner, but it still needs to tank once on a regular basis.

The stealth fighters are harder to combact, so the weak link moves down the chain to the tanker.

They may be flying their lazy 8's outside of the main threat area, but they are  vulnerable nontheless to attacks from stealthy enemy fighters. They are a big highly radar-observable and even IR-observable target vulnerable to attacks from Beyond Visual Range. Just the sort of attack low-observable fighters are designed for.

Stealth fighters are such an expensive commodity and maintenance so intensive that it would be very difficult to supply them in enough numbers to fly top cover for a tanker in enemy airspace. In any case a stealthy enemy fighter would be hard to spot before it got close enough for a guided missile kill on the highly observable tanker. Of course a bunch of unstealthy fighters and a big fat unstealthy tanker flying circuits are very very obvious targets not just from aircraft but from ground fire too.

Because of the risk from BVR attacks and the increased capability of foreign aircraft, the case for the stealth tanker becomes a higher priority.

A few aviation sites have already posted abouit the tanker capability gap and the need for a stealthy tanker, but nothing as yet has popped up on the radar.

It's possible the B-21 project could spawn a tanker variant and it's also possible that the USA already have a stealth tanker avaiable and are allowing their future enemies to base tactics on a very un-stealthy tanker fleet. After all, Northrop grumman pulled out of the KC-X tanker competition that Boeing eventually won... I just wonder if they had an alternative offer to build an alternative tanker, after all they built the B-2 bomber so have expertise in building large stealth aircraft under black projects.

After all in the recent decade, more large stealthy aircarft have been observed around the usual secret testing grounds in the USA.

It wouldn't surprise me if the US did have a stealthy tanker ready to go if push came to shove.

If not deep pentration missions into highly-contested enemy airspace will simply not be possible. Not through lack of stealth, but through lack of range.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Equality Vs Responsibility

All of this clamour over female wages vs male ones is all very worthy stuff. I agree that a woman that works at the same job for the same hours and with exactly the same employment history should be paid exactly the same wage as a man. I have no quibble with that.

However, we do know that many women decide to take a break from employment and put their career on hold. Therefore there should be no expectation of parity with a male (or female for that matter) who continues their career.

As a male I accept the premise as it happened to me. From being a self-employed I.T. contractor working away from home and earning circa 70K I took the decision to look after the family when things at home went south because I wasn't there to provide support.  It was my responsibility as a parent to be there for my kids.

Initially I took a permanent management job earning 35K. Now that's a 50% pay cut as a result of putting family before career. Do you hear me complaining? No, I accept it as a consequence of my actions. I don't throw my arms up and start screaming that people "must" pay me equivalent wages. Because I accept that the status quo is no longer valid.

From 35K I still coupldn't support my disabled son, so took a job paying less than half the original figure. Was I screaming yet? Nope, I just got on with it: supported my family and when the pressure finally got too much, divorced.

Now you'd think I would do the typical male thing and leave the family behind and jump back into my cushy 70K salary? Nope, two of the kids came with me so I became a full-time Dad. I spent all the savings I had attempting to stay at home and give the kids quality time. That was my responsibility as a parent.

Three years later, when my disabled son was in independent care, did I scream that I "must" have parity with my colleagues that I'd left a decade ago?

Don't be stupid, of course I didn't. I recognised that I was no longer current skill-wise and had to tread a different career path, just like a lot of women out there that work pert-time initially and then full time in lower-paid jobs.

What I'm trying to say is that equality is already here, it's just the expectation that needs to change. If a woman that has exactly the same skills, experience, employment history and in all respects is the equal of a man, then they should be paid the same wage.

However, if the employer exploits a weaker wage negotiation stragtegy from the woman, then that's something else entirely.

But the current clamour to compare Apples and Oranges does the cause of equality a disservice.

Alongside this is parental responsibility: IF women want to their children cared for, then who does it?

Of course the male half of the couple may take the role of a house husband (been there myself) and bring the kids up while the female half continues their career. That's fine.

But I'm seeing a greater amount of noise wanting the state to get involved in what would normally be parental responsibility. Free childcare almost 24/7, so the woman can carry on working.

But at what cost to the child if the state effectively becomes their parent? We've seen enough of children raised with few morals by amoral parents, but the state is supposed to be amoral, it is supposed not to sit in judgement. What then? An even greater number of amoral kids in the next generation....

It's the responsibility of parents and theirs alone to bring up their children. It's not for their employer to do that, it's not for the state. As I parent I recognise that I will be responsible for my kids for virtually the rest of my life. As I have done the past few weeks supporting my son in moving to independent living, or my daughter in getting her uni house.

UKIP Death Rattle (2)

Interesting to hear Nigel Farage on LBC last night talking about the UKIP battle. He said that the UKIP NEC needs to be more professional and a lot less amateur.

He said he wouldn't go back until things had changed. But sadly I think the time for UKIP is long past. Unless the NEC can recognise it's flaws and sort things out, I very much doubt there will be a UKIP at the end of the year.

The cost of yet another leadership contest and the libel lawsuit that has recently charged UKIP £200,000 I think will just about kill the party.

It's a shame that the UKIP voice will fall quiet, they were a force in UK politics and despite not getting much re[presentation in Parliament, up to the referendum they represented the voice of a sizeable chunk of the population.

From interviews over the last few days, new interim leader Gerard Batten seems unapologetic for things he has said in teh past. Things that the majority of people outside the Westminster PC bubble would not say. He handled himself quite well in interviews. A party leader unapologetic and with a spine, at last.

I must admit it's a refreshing change and certainly at first glance UKIP would be well served by voting him in as their proper leader.