tu114
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Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:02 pm

I'm sure most people have heard that our great leader's chartered DC8 left him stranded in South Africa this week. There are lots of arguments one way and the other about whether there should be a government owned large jet for the primary use of the PM and the decision to purchase has always been avoided, mainly for fear of "Blair Force One" type taunts.

Leaving aside the cheap political shots (always hard with this government, I know) what's the feeling - should the UK be one of the few major countries without a Prime Ministerial plane? If so, what should it be - A319CJ, A330/340? Unlikely that it could be a Boeing as Airbii are partially built in the UK.

I should add that I'm aware that this has been discussed before, but this week's events may have changed some minds.

[Edited 2006-02-14 11:03:30]
 
JHSfan
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:27 pm

How about Putin giving Blair a real PM plane built in Russia? Just to help Blair being properly "dressed" while flying.  Wink

- JHSfan
Look at me, I´m riding high, I´m the airbornmaster of the sky...
 
tu114
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:46 pm

A governmental Tu-204? Nice idea!
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 3:47 am

If we do need one (arguable), the solution is obvious.

Short range-already available, the 32 Sqn BAe-146/BAe-125's at RAF Northolt, NW London.
But when Blair uses them, well the press bitch.
"He's hijacking the Queen's plane" "He thinks he's a President"
(Never mind these aircraft are used by senior military and political people anyway-not just the Royals).

Longer range, the RAF is to replace it's VC-10's/L1011's with A330-200's, tanker transports.
Have one or two kitted out with the secure comms/IRCM etc, but with the tanking hoses for in flight refueling.
Not just for VIP, but to provide training/support for the tanker squadron without taking a tanker out of the line.

RAF VC-10's were much used until the mid/late 1990's, when these transports had wing mounted refueling hoses added, to supplement the dedicated ex airline tanker conversions.
 
Humberside
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:32 am

I totally agree with GDB, a joint government/royal fleet is needed. In the next few years the BAe 146's may need replacing however. Using converted A330-200's is the best idea for long haul. Even if they couldnt also be used as tankers, when not needed by the prime minister/royal family they could be reconfigured as troop transports.
Visit the Air Humberside Website and Forum
 
babybus
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 6:46 am

In an effort to contain further wastage of the public purse, no PM or their colleagues should have access to a private state aircraft.

Most of the work is within the EU or UK so why not use Easyjet or Ryanair as they seem to fly everywhere now with frequent services and on-time performance.

BA Club class could be used for the more difficult to reach places.  Wink
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
moparman
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:07 am

I believe that the British PM should have his own aircraft. I think something like a converted VC-10 would be good. Doesn't the RAF still fly them in a transport role? I cannot imagine that they have an enormous amount of time on them. Perhaps a converted A319LR... doesn't the German Chancler use an A310? It would also not be out of the range for him to have a B777 that is used as the PM does travel with a large deligation.

The simple fact is that for the PM of a major power to be stranded someplace on offical business is unacceptable. Even the Russians have dedicated aircraft for thier president. Hell - even Uganda has a dedicated aircraft.
"Harming a patient is unethical, but I can inflict as much pain as I like" Dr. Phlox
 
Humberside
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:18 am

Quoting Moparman (Reply 6):
Doesn't the RAF still fly them in a transport role?

Yes. Should be replaced by A330's in the next few years
Visit the Air Humberside Website and Forum
 
moparman
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:32 am

Quoting Humberside (Reply 7):
Yes. Should be replaced by A330's in the next few years

So much the better. They can take one out of service and rebuild it in an appropriate fashion for relatively little cash. The VC-10 would be an amazing aircraft as it highlights, specifically the UK aviation industry.
"Harming a patient is unethical, but I can inflict as much pain as I like" Dr. Phlox
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:33 am

No, lovely aircraft though it is, the VC-10's age is dictating it's (overdue) replacement.
It was built in small numbers compared to the DC-8 and 707, was out of production first, two long term support headaches there for a start.

A scheme was examined around 1990, to refit the RAF fleet with 4 x V2500 engines, at this time a further 5 ex BA aircraft were being converted to tankers.
However, it fell foul of the expectation that VC-10 would be phased out around 1999, now they'll go on another decade after that, as it's turned out.
 
wingscrubber
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:22 am

He shouldn't have his own plane, there's enough controversy about the royals flying around - anybody remember recently the complaints from all the environmental activists about prince harry(?) catching a lift in an RAF Hawk on a routine training sortie? If the executive decision was made to purchase, maintain and operate an official 'blair force one' the press would bitch whine and moan about how the money could be better spent elsewhere and the environmental issues about flying it. On that premise, I don't think the government would ever dare, they barely scrape enough money together for our ever-shrinking royal air force, but RAF aircraft are at their disposal and they do regularly use them. Private charters are the way forward then I think, but DC-8? Who's still flying those?
Resident TechOps Troll
 
moparman
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:03 am

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 10):
He shouldn't have his own plane, there's enough controversy about the royals flying around - anybody remember recently the complaints from all the environmental activists about prince harry(?) catching a lift in an RAF Hawk on a routine training sortie?

Even I remember that, but you are comparing apples and oranges here. Harry, Willie, or who ever else in the Royal Family does is not in the same vital position as the British PM. The PM is the outward expression of the U.K. governement and he deserves the best the government can muster. A dedicated aircraft isn't a very high price to pay.

Wasn't this Harry the same one that dressed up in a Hitler Youth uniform and stomped around the place? Wasn't this the same Harry who his father, Charles, smacked around after the occasion (and rightfully so)? This is just a spoiled little boy who has had everything provided for him in his life. Perhaps he needs a swift kick in the butt. You cannot compare the outrageous behavior of this boy with the needs of the U.K. Governement. Besides, it is utterly embarrasing to have your PM stranded by a failed aircraft.

Quoting GDB (Reply 9):
No, lovely aircraft though it is, the VC-10's age is dictating it's (overdue) replacement.
It was built in small numbers compared to the DC-8 and 707, was out of production first, two long term support headaches there for a start.

I didn't know they were that old. Perhaps a new A319LR off the production line, or a A330 would be applicable. Like it was said here before, a Boeing (which I would like to see) would be a unlikely choice as there is a British stake in Airbus.
"Harming a patient is unethical, but I can inflict as much pain as I like" Dr. Phlox
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 3:44 am

Aside from using a non tanker equipped RAF A330 (sorry I got that the wrong way around in my first post), I can see a replacement for the 32 Sqn BAe-146's, in the shape of a V2500 engined A319CJ or two, (which BA could maintain to C and D check level, possibly A check too with their low ultilisation, thus not infringing as much on the RAF infrastructure).

Again, these would be available for a range a VIP's, not just the PM and senior Cabinet Ministers, or Royals on official state business, but senior armed forces personnel.

I would not bother with a direct BAe-125 replacement as such, the RAF are getting Global Express airframes, in the ASTOR surveillance procurement, so add one non ASTOR airframe, again like the A330, tasked also with training/support of the No.5 Sqn ASTOR Global Express fleet-why use an expensive, specialized ASTOR, (or fully tanker equipped A330), for crew training etc?
 
crox1
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:04 am

Hi,

As much as B-liar would like to think that we are equal to America, and that he stands shoulder to shoulder with Bush, he should remember one fact, we are a Monarchy, with the democratic right to elect a Leader of Her Majestys Government, He, alone is not the leader of this country, he is not the most important person in this country.

The Queen has a Squadron of aircraft at her disposal, but, they are used for other purpose also; the Queen also uses BA airctraft from time to time, whats wrong with high and mighty wannabe Yankee Blair using the same.

Why waste hard earned tax payers money on a plane just for Blair?

Andy
Both optimists and pessimists contribute to the society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute
 
moparman
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Fri Feb 17, 2006 8:40 am

Quoting Crox1 (Reply 13):
Why waste hard earned tax payers money on a plane just for Blair?

I shouldn't have to discuss political implications, responsibilites, and viewpoints demanding an aircraft, not for Blair, but the British PM. Your slanted arguement "B-lair" is telling and not at all objective.
"Harming a patient is unethical, but I can inflict as much pain as I like" Dr. Phlox
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 1:28 am

Crox1-sorry but that is pure Daily Mail nonsense.
32 Sqn, to justify it's very existance, provides VIP/Secure transport to the range of people I listed above-Fact.
That might not have been the case years ago, it is now, besides how absurb would it be to have that fleet for just the very infrequent Royal use?

You are telling me that neither John Major or Thatcher never stepped on board a 32 Sqn 146?

Actually-Maggie was the most expensive PM travel wise.
(And you want one PM who thought themselves a near monarch? Try her-which led to tensions with the Queen).
 
egmcman
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:32 am

This has been discussed many times before so we know why Blair didn't get an A319CJ.

IMHO it would be better go on fractional ownership route or buy a used Global Express or G5. Anything else would be viewed as an extravagent waste of money.

Quoting Moparman (Reply 14):
shouldn't have to discuss political implications, responsibilites, and viewpoints demanding an aircraft, not for Blair, but the British PM.

Blair won't be PM in 18 months time so I agree.

I think the arrangement with BA is a good advert for them in terms of free pr.
 
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shamrock350
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:37 am

During his question time, just after the engine problem in South Africa he was told by someone to "stop wasting his time on little jets and buy some real European planes from Airbus" I thought it was funny and Tony Blair went on to say how Airbus are doing great and that it shows that European countries can work together and produce amazing products.
 
wingscrubber
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:51 am

Moparman, Blair deserves his own plane because he's the PM? I don't see your argument I'm afraid... There's plenty other aircraft at his disposal, namely RAF and private charters. And, not a high price to pay? With our penny-pinching government this sort of expenditure would definately be interpreted as a high price to pay by the press.
Also, you're entitled to your own opinion about prince Harry, but my point was in fact that if a single hitch-hike in an RAF trainer by a VIP can stir up so much controversy then the purchase of an aircraft for purely governmental purposes will not do them any favours PR-wise.
Resident TechOps Troll
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:25 am

Moperman, to add to what wingscrubber posted, you have to understand the horrid, hypocritical, curtain twitching, trivia obesssed, mean minded, petty nature of the UK tabliod press.

I would not call this government 'penny pinching' however.
Except when it comes to VIP transports!

Much bleating in the press about the luxury and cost of the aircraft chartered for the SA trip.
Nevermind the cost quoted was about the same as that of a BA777/B747 charter, (I think aircraft availability at BA was a factor for this trip, we turned down a request for a Concorde charter in early 2003 from the PM's office for the same reason).
 
moparman
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:20 pm

Quoting Wingscrubber (Reply 18):
Blair deserves his own plane because he's the PM? I don't see your argument

Not just Blair, but any PM deserves a VIP transport to carry him to official business abroad. Chartering a DC-8 is something that, while I would like to fly on one, it is not fitting....

also:

Quoting Shamrock350 (Reply 17):
he was told by someone to "stop wasting his time on little jets and buy some real European planes from Airbus"

is one of the most idiotic statements I have ever heard!!! Shamrock350, thanks for sharing this South African quote.
"Harming a patient is unethical, but I can inflict as much pain as I like" Dr. Phlox
 
egmcman
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:35 pm

Quoting Moparman (Reply 20):
Not just Blair, but any PM deserves a VIP transport to carry him to official business abroad. Chartering a DC-8 is something that, while I would like to fly on one, it is not fitting....

If you were a UK tax payer would you opinion be any different?

The problem for most of political parties is they have big plans spending money on public services such as education and the health service. Only the treeasury are the only people qualified to make decision as to whether we can afford such an aircraft .
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:49 pm

Clearly we don't have the figures to show for example, that a dedicated VIP fleet wins out finanically against constant airline/VIP operator, occasional RAF chartering.
Hence my suggestion that any VIP fleet fits in as much as possible with what the RAF are actually procuring, such as the A330/Global Express, with other roles aside from VIP.
 
boeingfanyyz
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:47 am

Why wont he just use the royal Majesties plane for all his "long" trips! How long has it been since an American tour?

Just my $0.02 (CDN)

Cheers,
Boeingfanyyz  airplane 
"If it aint boeing, it aint going!", "Friends are like condoms...they protect you when things get hard!"
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:38 am

Boeingfanyyz, again-what 'Her Majesties Plane'?
No such thing exists, unless you count the ROYAL Air Force as a whole-but as stated, VC-10's almost totally military tasked, as are the L1011's, Iraq, the big new Afghan deployment, maintaining the small Falklands garrison, former Yugoslavia, Cyprus, usual tanker support of RAF assets, support of RAF aircraft on exercise abroad like Red Flag, training, the RAF are busy boys!

I don't think we'd see a transatlantic 32 Sqn BAe-146 VIP tasking-but again, these are not wholly Royal aircraft-they were once, but that went out with the Royal Yacht Britannia.
That's why I laugh at all this 'it's for Blair's vanity' or 'he thinks he's a President'.
What nonsense-his government greatly reduced the Royal travel bill, have themselves used BA far more than previous Governments (Maggie insisted on a RAF VC-10-Never mind a BA, or RAF, L1011 might have been cheaper).
 
EZYAirbus
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 22, 2006 4:17 am

Quoting Babybus (Reply 5):
so why not use Easyjet or Ryanair

We had Mrs Blair on easyJet last week, she flew LTN-TRN for the opening ceremony of the winter olympics!

Glenn
http://www.glenneldridgeaviation.com
 
LawrenceMck
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:53 am

A far fetched idea, but here goes... I think it'd be great for the PM to hava a classy aircraft like the L1011 or an MD11, I know these suggestions arent practical but hey...u can dream.  Wink

Lawrence
Love It To Live It
 
boeingfanyyz
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 22, 2006 7:05 am

Quoting GDB (Reply 24):
Boeingfanyyz, again-what 'Her Majesties Plane'?

Then what does Her Majesty use?

Cheers,
Boeingfanyyz  airplane 
"If it aint boeing, it aint going!", "Friends are like condoms...they protect you when things get hard!"
 
tu114
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 22, 2006 6:08 pm

Quoting Boeingfanyyz (Reply 27):
Then what does Her Majesty use?

As mentioned further up the page there are a small number of RAF BAe 146s that are often used for transporting the Queen. But she has also been known to fly on chartered and even scheduled (Air New Zealand) flights.

I seem to remember that on her last trip to Canada the Canadian government sent a plane for her.

Certainly there's no specific long haul plane for her use in the UK.
 
boeingfanyyz
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Wed Feb 22, 2006 11:13 pm

Quoting Tu114 (Reply 28):
As mentioned further up the page there are a small number of RAF BAe 146s that are often used for transporting the Queen

Wow, I must be going blind!!!  wink 

It seems kind of weird that the POTUS has his own plane, while (arguably) the most powerful person in the world does not!

Just my $0.02 (CDN)

Cheers,
Boeingfanyyz  airplane 
"If it aint boeing, it aint going!", "Friends are like condoms...they protect you when things get hard!"
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 5:46 am

The last Queen who was a powerful person, in the sense you seem to think of, was Queen Victoria, over 100 years ago.
And she, the Empress, was still a largely symbolic head of state.
I think you have some misconceptions above how the UK Head Of State and political systems work.

Neither the Monarch or PM have ever had their own long range aircraft, the now replaced and short ranged HS.748's and Wessex helicopters, were largely for Royal use, but that was over 20 years ago.
The current BAe146 of 32 Sqn, reduced from 3 to 2, are, as stated, multi tasked for a range of VIP's.
 
piercey
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Thu Feb 23, 2006 7:24 am

How about retrofitting a Concorde? One could only dream.......

First private A380, that could be interesting..........
Well I believe it all is coming to an end. Oh well, I guess we are gonna pretend.
 
aircanl1011
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:33 am

Quoting Tu114 (Reply 28):
seem to remember that on her last trip to Canada the Canadian government sent a plane for

Of Course, Canadian Taxpayers have all he money in the world!!!!!

Quoting Boeingfanyyz (Reply 29):
It seems kind of weird that the POTUS has his own plane, while (arguably) the most powerful person in the world does not!

I would definatly argue that the Queen is the most powerful person in the world. She has as much power in the UK as Britney Spears does in the US.
CYMRU AM BYTH / WALES FOREVER
 
BCAL
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sat Feb 25, 2006 3:51 am

Quoting AIRCANL1011 (Reply 32):
She has as much power in the UK as Britney Spears does in the US.

You need a lesson on the British Monarchy! To say that The Queen has as much power in the UK as that pop star Shitney has in the US is pure gobbledygook.

For starters Blair is not in charge of the country and neither is Cherie the country's first lady. The British Prime Minister is the Queen's servant and normally the leader of the party that has a majority in Parliament. The Prime Minister does not make decisions. His ministers make them and The Queen abides by the advice of her ministers. The Queen has certain residual powers, notably to appoint a prime minister, and to decide whether or not to grant dissolution of Parliament.

As well as being Head of the Church of England and the Crown Dependencies, the monarch is Head of the Armed Forces and it is the monarch alone who can declare war and peace – not the Prime Minister.

The Queen's influence today is mainly informal. She has a right and a duty to express her views on government matters to the prime minister at their weekly audiences, but these meetings – and all communications between the Monarch and her Government – remain strictly confidential. Only the Sovereign can summon Parliament, prorogue (i.e. discontinue without dissolving it) and dissolve it. When a prime minister wishes to dissolve Parliament and call a general election, s/he is obliged to seek the permission of the Sovereign to do so.

It is unheard of in modern times that the Sovereign goes against the advice of her ministers.

So when you see the world leaders assembled, the British PM is not in the real sense a 'leader' but is the representative of the Queen. As such it is not the British Prime Minister that needs his own 'Blair Force One'.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sat Feb 25, 2006 4:27 am

BCAL has it right, but I fear that 'Brenda Force One' has less of a ring to it!
 
aircanl1011
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:24 pm

quote=BCAL,reply=33]It is unheard of in modern times that the Sovereign goes against the advice of her ministers.[/quote]


Hence she is nothing more than a figure head that really has no real control of anything. Us Welsh people have been saying that about her for years. I do not need a lesson in the Monarchy to know that it is out dated and of no use other than to wave a flag at.

As Tony Blair is the Prime Minister and the head of the party that was actually chosen by the people and not just forced upon them, he should have his own aircraft.

I will agree that the Britney Spears comparison was incorrect, but the Queen is not the most powerful person in the world.

Here in Canada the Queen is the head of state, but as a figure head only. Our Prime Minister does not use public transport and yours should not either.
CYMRU AM BYTH / WALES FOREVER
 
QANTASforever
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:50 pm

The Australian Prime Minister and all Australian Vice-Royals use a fleet of BBJs and CRJs. Soon they will also have the use of A330 Air Force tanker/VIP transporters.

The fact that the UK doesn't have a similar system is rather odd.

QFF
Fighting for the glory of the Australian Republic.
 
BCAL
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:00 pm

Quoting AIRCANL1011 (Reply 35):
As Tony Blair is the Prime Minister and the head of the party that was actually chosen by the people and not just forced upon them,

Whilst Labour won 356 seats against the Conservative's 197, 8.78 million voted Conservative against 9.56 who voted Labour. If you include the Liberal Democrats, 14.77 million voted against Blair, so effectively he was forced upon them. Blair's 'victory' was simply because there was no strong leader to oppose him.

If the ruling British PM was given his own aircraft, this would be available for all important Ministers and the Royal Family. Knowing how many ministers, their spouses, not to mention certain members of the Royal Family, would abuse their power/privileges (by using the plane to go on holidays, speaking and shopping trips, jaunts to the golf club etc), it is best that there is no private plane at their disposal.
MOL on SRB's latest attack at BA: "It's like a little Chihuahua barking at a dying Labrador. Nobody cares."
 
GDB
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RE: Should The British Pm Have His Own Plane?

Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:09 am

True about 2005 BCAL, but very far from the first time, Labour polled more votes in 1951, but the Tories won.
The two elections in 1974 were very, very close, in 1992, the Tories under Major had one of their best ever results in terms of votes cast, yet had a mere 21 seat majority, a fraction of what Thatcher enjoyed in 1983 and 1987.
In conclusion, neither main party can complain, first past the post suits both much of the time.

PR, it can be argued, can equally distort things.
I for one think one George Galloway is enough, PR could produce more, as well as maybe even a Nick Griffin MP.

We saw in 2000 that US democracy was far from the perfect creation often touted.

I do not see how a dedicated long range VIP aircraft would be abused for sure, as long as safeguards are in place, if any future PM used a RAF A330 to bugger off to say, Barbados on holiday, with family, the press would go mad, for once, they'd have a point.

Hence my view that any VIP procurement would have to be part of a wider buy of a type, like the A330's, so multi tasked, I'd agree that having an aircraft sitting on tarmac for 90% of the time would be a scandal.

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