Anorak News | Half Nelson

Half Nelson

by | 5th, December 2003

‘IS it mere coincidence that only a day after we brought you news of the saucy letters Lord Nelson used to send to his lover, Lady Emma Hamilton, plans to commemorate his most famous victory are scuppered?

The MoD denied it was penny-pinching on the celebrations

The Telegraph says the Ministry of Defence is resisting the Royal Navy’s plan to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar with a review of the fleet because of the cost.

The paper says a significant proportion of the Navy’s largest vessels were expected to be recalled from around the world to take part in the review off Portsmouth.

“The Admiralty plans to invite many foreign ships to take part,” it says, “with French and Spanish warships, the descendants of the losers at Trafalgar, taking pride of place.”

It is good to see that we can’t resist gloating over our successes even at a couple of centuries’ distance – which makes one suspect the Germans will still have to listen to us banging on about 1966 for generations to come.

However, Whitehall says the cost of the celebration is prohibitive at a time when budgets are stretched by the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And it says many ships are already committed in the Gulf and cannot be withdrawn.

“If Whitehall wins the tussle,” the Telegraph says, “naval chiefs say that the commemoration of the Royal Navy’s most glorious hour [in which 18 of the 33 French and Spanish ships were sunk or captured without the loss of a single British ship] will go off at half-cock.”

And that – as his letters to Lady Hamilton revealed – is something that the good Admiral would never have done.’

Posted: 5th, December 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink