Jutland

jutlandA hundred years ago Tuesday, the British Grand Fleet fought the Imperial German High Seas fleet off the coast of Denmark.

It was a quite incredible battle, the largest sea battle involving steel ships until then, and one of the costliest with a combined casualty count of 8645 killed, 1181 wounded, and the loss of 25 ships (in tonnage most British). Tactically the British perhaps lost, but in hindsight, it was a victory on the scale of Trafalgar itself.

Why? Because the German fleet never sortied again. If they had successfully caused the disruption of the Grand Fleet, Britain would have been driven from the war, or starved, by the combination of the U-boats and the surface navy. Without Britain, and it’s corollary the non-entrance of the United States, the Germans simply win. This was the only day that Britain could have lost the war. In the century since Trafalgar the Royal Navy had perhaps grown a bit complacent, there were problems all through the fleet, the kind of things that creep in unnoticed in peacetime. But they didn’t lose. Like our Admiral Spruance at Midway, Jellicoe’s job was to “rock ’em and sock ’em, but don’t lose your shirt”. It might have been possible in both cases to have won more complete victories, but it would have exposed irreplaceable assets to avoidable risk, for little gain.

The First Sea Lord said recently in a speech at The Maritime Museum in London

In all the reams of Jutland related reading material that have passed across my desk in the last few days, one fact that caught my eye was that no fewer than 8 future First Sea Lords were serving with the Grand Fleet during the Battle of Jutland.

For you, that’s an interesting historical fact. But for me, just 2 months into my own tenure at First Sea Lord, it adds to the poignancy of this centenary, as I consider my responsibilities, both to the nation and to our sailors and marines today.

Undoubtedly the most striking characteristic of the Battle of Jutland is the sheer scale of loss.

Admirals and Ordinary Seaman perished alike.

Never before had either navy lost so men on a single day.

When the battle cruiser Invincible was torn apart by an explosion she took less than 90 seconds to sink, taking over 1000 men with her.

Losses on this scale are difficult to comprehend. Nothing in our modern experience compares.

So it is important that in this centenary year, the focus be on remembrance.

But museums are designed to start conversations and encourage questions; and this exhibition is an important opportunity to reflect on the wider significance of Jutland.

Wider significance
Terrible as the losses were, the stakes in 1916 could not have been higher.

Without command of the seas, Britain’s maritime trade, the lifeblood of the war effort, would be in danger and Britain herself would be left open to the risk of starvation or even invasion.

Admiral Jellicoe understood the enormity of his responsibility.

He knew that the superiority of the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet had to be protected at all costs.

And this was the strongest adversary that Britain had faced in a century. The long, calm lee of Trafalgar, as Andrew Gordon so poignantly captured it, was very much over.

Certainly the sudden and spectacular loss of several capital ships, with almost all hands, was disastrous.

There were serious questions about the performance of gunnery, signals, armour and shells.

And there was a profound debate over the balance between regulation and initiative in the culture of the Royal Navy.

As many of you know, historians, academics and naval officers still exchange broadsides on these issues today.

Perhaps, with the benefit of what we would today call better situational awareness, Jellicoe could have inflicted a crushing defeat worthy of Trafalgar.

But in repelling, rather than sinking, the German High Seas Fleet, he had done enough.

As painful and surprising as Britain’s losses had been, in truth, they did little to dent the Royal Navy’s superiority.

The very next day the Grand Fleet was back at sea and ready to do battle again, and within in a month the losses in ships had been made good.

The High Seas Fleet had failed to break the superiority of the Royal Navy and command of the sea remained with Britain.

Royal Navy today
Much has changed in a century.

But the fundamentals remain the same:

Britain is still an island nation and a global maritime trading power.

We are still dependent on the sea for security and prosperity and the nation still looks to the Royal Navy to protect its interests at home and around the world. […]

Conclusion
Over the next week, this centenary will be marked in Scapa Flow, in the Firth of Forth, in our dockyard towns and at sea off the coast of Denmark.

But it also right that that the Battle of Jutland is remembered in London too, alongside so many other reminders of our island story here in the National Maritime Museum.

We will never forget those who fought and died in the North Sea a century ago.

But in a conflict otherwise remembered principally for the trenches of the Western Front, Jutland also serves as a necessary reminder of the enduring significance of sea power to our defence and to our prosperity.

Thank you.

From the MOD. via Think Defence

The reason this battle is arguably comparable to Trafalgar is this: without Trafalgar, the British may not have had control of the sea, with all of its consequences through the nineteenth century. Jutland ensured that the English-speaking people would continue that control throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. If Jellicoe had lost, that control would have passed to Imperial Germany, at least in the Atlantic, and possibly Imperial Japan in the Pacific. there is no telling exactly how it would have ben different, but the world would be an entirely different place, without the Anglo-Saxons controlling the seas.

For me, it was as was said earlier by another First Sea Lord, the Earl St. Vincent, and has so often proved to be true.

I DO NOT SAY, MY LORDS, THAT THE FRENCH WILL NOT COME.

I SAY ONLY THEY WILL NOT COME BY SEA.

The Rising of 16

pizapcom146219386145812Jessica and I are both rather taken with Ruth Davidson, the leader of the conservative opposition in the Scottish Parliament. Jess wrote about her, here, and she just keeps sounding better and better. For instance, last Sunday, writing on one of my favorite British blogs, A Conservative Woman, Tom Gallager said this.

The SNP’s [Scotish National Party] membership swelled during the referendum which David Cameron carelessly gifted to Alex Salmond when he was First Minister, on terms that suited the SNP. Militant activists from post-industrial west-central Scotland now dominate the party. The new party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, sought to appease them by talking up the chances of another vote on Scotland’s constitutional future in an otherwise lacklustre campaign.

The Scottish Tories have got a capable team who often sound authentic because many can relate to the farmers, housewives, small business people, owner occupiers and aspirational young people overlooked by the SNP in favour of urban activist groups.

Months on the stump under a massively popular young leader, Ruth Davidson, have persuaded a lot of Scots to take a fresh look at the Tories and not dismiss them as class-ridden, out-of-touch and anti-Scottish.

Like Labour before it, a mediocre SNP has ramped up the anti-Tory rhetoric to make up for its glaring deficiencies during 9 years in office. But outside some Clydeside areas, this opportunistic tactic has obtained diminishing returns.  Six Tories have been elected for single constituencies instead of relying on salvation by getting a place on the list system which makes voting in Scotland roughly proportional. They include Davidson herself in Edinburgh, Adam Tomkins in Glasgow, an academic who played a formidable role in the 2014 referendum, and a swathe of new MSPs right across southern Scotland.

via Tom Gallagher: The SNP is obsessed with social engineering – The Conservative Woman

Yep, and you know, part of what I detest about politics here, and in Britain as well, is all the negativity and campaigning by running down your opponent. Since Jess moved to Edinburgh (and had the pleasure of voting for Ms. Davidson, which I envy) I’ve been watching the Scottish news fairly regularly, and if anything Ms. Sturgeon comes off worse to me than Tom says above.

Not much of that with Ms. Davidson. She seems to be all about responsible government, improvements, especially in education, Britain’s educational system is in almost as bad shape as ours, and for the same reasons, mostly. Tom also made this point.

The SNP is dominated by lawyers and managerial types who along with mobilised minorities have sought to turn Scotland into a laboratory for  ever more radical forms of equality laws, which are a screen for heavy state control of society by ‘experts’ and overseers.

It is well-known that Ruth Davidson is a lesbian, less well-known that she is a practising Christian who has boosted the appeal of her party by offering common sense answers to problems rather than ideological prescriptions. She is committed to making government more transparent and less centralised and arbitrary. With this approach she struck a chord with numerous Scots throrougly fed up with SNP autocracy.

The Scottish Tories are stronger in terms of brains, experience and broad appeal than any of their competitors. This is quite a turn around for a political force written off by academics and media commentators as moribund or from another age. They will make their presence felt in the committee system of parliament where the SNP has been able to ram through civil service blueprints for turning Scotland into a thoroughly state-controlled entity.

As I said to Jess recently, Davidson portrays conservative parties as they should be, both here and there. What I said was this, “The party of productive people at all levels, and all (how do I say this) lifestyles.” because as conservatives, we know that what you do at home isn’t our business, it’s yours, and likely something for you to take up with God, not the politicos. That to me is the worst part of the very leftist SNP, they really do want to stick their nose in your bedroom.

But let Ruth Davidson speak for herself.

Too often, our parliament has focused on the powers it hasn’t got and on endless debates about the constitution.

The time for that is over.

Whatever else Nicola Sturgeon has, she doesn’t have a mandate to drag independence back to the forefront of political debate.

This is one area where I will be uncompromising. There can be no excuse for the SNP to continually hold our country to ransom.

We’ve had enough of the grievance. Enough of the dog-whistle politics which always seeks to lay the blame at Westminster. Enough of the clumsy attempts to claim that whatever the problem in Scotland is, the answer is independence.

The SNP were sent a clear message last week.

The people of Scotland asked them to govern for five more years.

In denying them an overall majority, the voters put them on a shorter leash.

The SNP need to focus on the day job. Making sure they do will be my guiding mission for the next five years.

via: Ruth Davidson: I will work with the SNP as opposition leader – But there will be NO second referendum on my watch

My sort of conservative, she is!

The title? Well, if you know your history, you’ll know that in 1715, there was a rebellion in Scotland against King George I, attempting to restore to the Throne King James II, after King George had purged the Tories from government, and amongst other things, imprisoned in the Tower Robert Harley, for supposed financial mismanagement. The rebellion succeeded for a time in Scotland under the earl of Mar but ultimately failed, almost everyone was pardoned, except for Rob Roy MacGregor, eventually, the entire Clan Gregor was mostly suppressed, many coming to America. In fact, MacGregor, Iowa is named for the clan. The rebellion has come down to us as ‘The Rising of 15’.

And that made me think of a few line from Walter Scott’s poem Glenfinlas

Not so, by high Dunlathmon’s fire,
Thy heart was froze to love and joy,
When gaily rung thy raptured lyre
To wanton Morna’s melting eye.

Angry and afraid, Moy replies,

And thou! when by the blazing oak
I lay, to her and love resign’d,
Say, rode ye on the eddying smoke,
Or sail’d ye on the midnight wind?

Not thine a race of mortal blood
Nor old Glengyle’s pretended line;
Thy dame, the Lady of the Flood—
Thy sire, the Monarch of the Mine.

Almost, but Not Quite

From the Daily Standard:

The magic number needed to capture the Republican presidential nomination in 1976 was 1,130 delegates, and Ronald Reagan was oh so close as the national convention prepared to convene.

After losing six straight primaries to President Gerald Ford early in the year, Reagan had come roaring back, attacking Ford for his weak foreign policy and deficit spending and winning the crucial North Carolina primary with help from Sen. Jesse Helms. Reagan achieved a political resurrection and posed the most serious challenge to an incumbent Republican president since 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt had taken on William Howard Taft.

After Reagan won the Texas, Indiana, Georgia and Alabama primaries, a nonplussed GOP establishment that favored Ford struggled to understand the former California governor’s appeal. Conservative author Richard Whalen made it easy for them: Reagan was doing well because he was “unsullied by Watergate, untainted by Vietnam, and uncorrupted by a Washington system that isn’t working.”

However, after failing to carry Ohio although easily winning his home state of California, Reagan realized that the political momentum was shifting back to Ford. Something dramatic had to be done. Breaking a long-held precedent, he announced his running mate before the convention: Sen. Richard Schweiker of Pennsylvania, a moderate conservative with a high rating from the AFL-CIO. Schweiker assured Reagan and his aides that he could pry loose delegates from Pennsylvania and other Northern states. […]

Anxious to achieve unity, Ford generously invited Reagan to join him on the platform following his acceptance speech. Reagan gave a rapt convention and tens of millions of viewers a taste of what they would have heard if he had been nominated. Without notes or a teleprompter, he speculated how Americans 100 years from now would look back at this time.

Would they say, “Thank God for those people in 1976 who headed off that loss of freedom; who kept us now a hundred years later free; who kept our world from nuclear destruction?” This was this generation’s challenge, Reagan declared. “Whether [the Americans of 2076] have the freedom that we have known up until now will depend on what we do here.”

via When Reagan Almost Won: The 1976 GOP Convention

And perhaps we shall, once again, have cause to quote the old English ballad that Reagan quoted the next day:

“I’ll lay me down and bleed awhile; although I am wounded, I am not slain. I shall rise and fight again.”

If so, we will know, once again, that it is the truth. And we shall return to the arena.

The Queen’s 90th Birthday

 

UntitledcgffI wanted to write another post on leadership today, so I did.

Today is Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. Like the very luckily much younger (and far more beautiful) Laura says here, “she’s the only Queen of the United Kingdom, I’ve ever known”. And Britain and the Commonwealth, and yes, the United States, as well, is very lucky for that fact.

Like her mother, who I wrote about here, she has lived a life of duty; duty to her people, and to her God. She has lived it faithfully, far more than anybody else on the scene today, and the world is a far better place for her. Think about that, she has done her duty, every day, pretty much since the day her father became King, with the abdication of King Edward VIII. From being an ambulance driver (and mechanic) in the Second World War until today, she has never faltered, never flagged. How many of us will be able to look back and say that?

Her mother famously said, during the dark days of The Blitz, ” The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.” And that is exactly how her daughter has lived her life. And we’re all much the better for it.

FILE - In this Saturday, June 13, 2015 file photo, Britain's Prince William holds his son Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Britain's Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, file)

FILE – In this Saturday, June 13, 2015, file photo, Britain’s Prince William holds his son, Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, file)

I love the Queen. Like, I seriously love her. So far, I’ve narrowed it down to 60 reasons:

  1. She’s the only queen I’ve ever known.ca3d962ca934ade44e012b5822ec15c0
  2. She’s the only queen my parents have ever known.
  3. No one knows what’s in her handbag so she’s pretty much Mary Poppins.
  4. She got her training in statesmanship from Winston Churchill.
  5. She rocks the greatest hats.
  6. She still wears white gloves.
  7. Her grandson was lucky enough to marry Kate Middleton.
  8. She loves the Commonwealth, and puts up with the lot of us.
  9. Her hair looks like a giant diamond from a distance.
  10. She jumps out of aeroplanes.
  11. She’s the sexiest Bond girl ever.
  12. Her dad is Colin Firth.
  13. She was a car mechanic in the war.
  14. She fell in love with her future husband at the age of 13.
  15. She became queen while sleeping in a tree house in Africa.

Continue reading 60 Reasons I Love the Queen. (Sadly the link is no longer active)

And then the Queen also has let us know what wrong with the United States

Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government?
Are there any tips you can give me?”
“Well,” said the Queen,

“The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.”
Obama frowned, and then asked,

“But how do I know if the people around me are really intelligent?”
The Queen took a sip of champagne.

“Oh, that’s easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle, watch”
The Queen pushed a button on her intercom.
“Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?”
Tony Blair walked into the room and said,
“Yes, your Majesty?”

The Queen smiled and said,

“Answer me this please Tony.
Your mother and father have a child.
It is not your brother and it is not your sister.
Who is it?”
Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered…

“That would be me.”
“Yes! Very good.” said the Queen.

Obama went back home to ask Joe Biden the same question.
“Joe, answer this for me.”

Continue reading The Queen’s Riddle.

My dearest friend, and editor, Jessica, has an excellent article today on All Along the Watchtower, about this wondrous anniversary today as well.

My Country Tis of Thee done Right

Long Live the Queen – God save the Queen!

 

Character is Crumbling in Leadership

Ebctnb5Dale R. Wilson, who publishes Command Performance Leadership, is one of my oldest blogfriends. He doesn’t publish as often as he used to, which is a shame, but when he does, his posts are always incisive, and important. This is no exception.

In military and civilian academic institutions around the world, above and beyond their core curriculum, character is taught and inspired.  In each of the military academies in the United States, as well as college Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs, the purpose and responsibility is to produce leaders of character.  To accomplish this, they incorporate the values of integrity, respect, responsibility, compassion, and gratitude into the daily life of cadets and midshipmen who aspire to become tomorrow’s leaders. […]

At the U.S. Military Academy at West Point character development strategy promotes living honorably and building trust.  West Point believes that their approach not only develops character, but modifies behavior over the course of the 47-month cadet experience.  Ultimately, the desire is for cadets and rotating faculty members to depart West Point with the character, competence, and commitment to build and lead resilient teams that thrive in complex security environments.  Most importantly, everyone commits to living honorably and building trust, on and off duty.

The Cadet Honor Code at West Point:

A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.[iv]

Recommended Reading: Duty, Honor, Country [Go there, if you haven’t read this lately you owe it to yourself, to see what built our country! Neo] […]

No matter what our challenges happen to be, either driven by stress or human urges, we must strive to reach deep within ourselves to overcome the temptation to make poor decisions; no matter if we are in uniform downrange, or in daily life with our family or friends.  Our country, society, superiors, peers, subordinates, family, and friends are relying on our steady and consistent moral courage to translate into professional decorum and behavior; always.

Many respected military leaders of the past espoused the vitally important qualities of a leader.  Lieutenant General John A. Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps said, “Leadership is the sum of those qualities of intellect, human understanding, and moral character that enables a person to inspire and control a group of people successfully.”  Among General Douglas MacArthur’s 17 Principles of Leadership, which essentially acts as a leader’s self-assessment questionnaire, there is this question: “Am I a constant example to my subordinates in character, dress, deportment and courtesy?”

via Character is Crumbling in Leadership | Command Performance Leadership

Well, are you? Frankly this isn’t something just for the military, nor is it just something for Americans. This is the essence of leadership, and servant leadership, at that. It is the ideal,the pinnacle of leadership. None of us succeed all the time, but if we wish to have a free society, we must try, and even more to the point, so must those we appoint to lead us.

Frankly, I learned this early, my dad, showed this, almost as strongly as General Marshal did, but even so, ROTC codified it for me in the saying.

First: the Mission

Second: the Men

Last: yourself

That is what I’ve always strived for, and in whatever measure I’ve been successful, it is that striving that is responsible. But, in business today, like our military, I see little of this. What I see is a selfish, uncaring of anybody but oneself attitude, that assumes that everybody is looking out for themselves. They may be right, to a point, but they (and their companies) will not find long term success, using this rubric, nor will America. Because much too often they’ll not lead, but manage, and bring that down to the level of the next quarterly bottom line. In every case that I have seen, that has led to losing the best people, and the ruination of the reputation of the brand, and often the demise of the company.

Not a good recommendation, for our companies, nor, especially, for our churches, and our military, and, emphatically not for our country.

Newman Lectures

Francis CampbellThose of you who were here last year at this time will remember that we carried, the audio of and some pictures (videos when the speaker agreed) from the Newman Lectures, sponsored by the University of East Anglia, and the Diocese of East Anglia. We are again going to carry them, as they become available, barring technical glitches, which do happen, as we all know.

This year has a very distinguished group of presenters

  • 4 April:   Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor, St Mary’s University, Twickenham
  • 11 April: Dr. Graham James, The Bishop of Norwich
  • 18 April: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Former Archbishop of Westminster
  • 25 April: Bishop Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth

I’m very excited about this lineup, and also again working with John, Andrew, and Siobhan. So if you can’t make it to Norwich, don’t miss out completely.


 

THE CHURCH IN SOCIETY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE STATE

The first Newman lecture this spring was by Francis Campbell. His CV is most impressive:

Currently Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Francis has had a long and distinguished career, working as – amongst other things – Policy Advisor and Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Senior Policy Director with Amnesty International, and British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005 to 2011.

Probably wouldn’t hurt to add for us Americans, a British Vice-Chancellor is an American university president.

Enjoy, a most interesting lecture.

These lectures are sponsored by:

UEADiocese of East Anglia

 

 

 

Next will be: Dr. Graham James, The Bishop of Norwich

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