Tuesday, February 08, 2005

British Taxpayers About to be Raped

Tony Blair evidently decided it's time to give some payola to his friend the Shrub, so KBR, that monstrously corrupt and inefficient part of the monstrously corrupt and inefficient Halliburton empire, is going to be paid 5 million pounds to do something the Royal Navy can do itself; manage the construction of the Royal Navy's two new aircraft carriers.

Bringing in private companies to do the military's work is an invention of the United States. It's a great way for the Pentagon to reward its friends and often itself (what do you think senior military officer types do when they retire? Yep, they get hired by defense contractors). To permit the military to do things itself is inevitably cheaper and more efficient, but it's just not a big enough waste of money for the generals and admirals looking forward to life after the military. To see this spreading to the UK is disheartening, to say the least (this actually started there several years ago with the "privitization" of most of the Royal Dockyards), and to see the Royal Navy forced to put up with this crap is just appalling.

Needless to say, Halliburton has the same horrible record in the UK they have here:

Vincent Cable, the Liberal Democrats' treasury spokesman, told MPs that Halliburton had "an abysmal track record of cost over-runs on British naval contracts, notably the Devonport shipyards".

Mr Cable added that Halliburton was also "being investigated for corruption in several countries, including Iraq, has spent the last year in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and has a chief executive who is trying to sell it to an unknown purchaser."

And, no surprise, KBR appear to be planning to ship the work on the ships to a shipyard it partly owns, the former Royal Dockyard at Rosyth:

That approach had sparked concern among British shipbuilders who feared KBR might funnel work to a Scottish shipyard with which it is affiliated and which is not among those lined up to build the carriers.

WWND. What Would Nelson Do? Probably smile and remind us of the "forty thieves," a class of ships built in private dockyards in his day that were famous mostly for falling apart after a short period in service because the private shipyards had stolen most of the metal fittings they were supposed to put into the ships. Those who fail to learn from history....

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