Thursday, 2 September 2010

It's good to share

I don't think we talk about aircraft carriers enough these days. I think it must be, oh I don't know, something like three or four months since the last time I seriously mentioned aircraft carriers.

Which is a shame, because the subject does give us an opportunity to dust off an old joke:
Doctor: I'm sorry, Mr Smith, but you have hermes.
Man: Don't you mean herpes?
Doctor: No. You're the carrier.
Thank you. I'm here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitresses, folks.

Anyway, the news this week that Britain and France are not going to share their aircraft carriers has made me revisit the subject. Seriously? Sharing with the neighbours was a serious option? I mean, it's not as if you can compare an aircraft carrier with a lawnmower, is it?

Mind you, the last time I used a lawnmower I did in fact lay waste to a considerable portion of the Earth's surface. Maybe there's a lesson there for all of us.

But could you have imagined the negotiations had the sharing plan come to pass?

Britain: Right then, we'd like the carrier for six months in 2014, please.

France: Can we still have it in September?

Britain: September? Why...oh, hang on, you're not going to Biarritz in it again, are you?

France: (sheepishly) Might be.

Britain: Oh, come on, this is a £4 billion integrated weapons system for power projection. You can't just use it to pose around the harbour.

France: Well, you brought it back dirty last time.

Britain: We'd been patrolling the Gulf of Aden, for God's sake! It's a little difficult to keep things shiny when you're dodging Stinger missiles...

France: You know why we keep close to home. Just in case. You know. The Germans?

Britain: We know what you mean. It's all Dr. Oetker and his natural yoghurt these days, but you never know, they might be going for 'best of five'.

France: You know, we're not so sure that sharing an aircraft carrier is all that it's cracked up to be.

Britain: What's the problem?

France: Well, first it was the Americans laughing at us. They have aircraft carriers coming out of every orifice, or so it seems. But that's not the main issue. It's the whole name thing.

Britain: Look, we won the international Scissor-Paper-Stones competition with you guys, so we got naming rights, fair and square.

France: We know, it's just...

Britain: Well, I'm sorry, but what's wrong with HMS Trafalgar anyway?

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