The New Yacht
click to enlarge
Last October the Daily Tail launched a campaign for a new Royal Yacht. The inspiration came from the need to have a boat, flying the Union flag, ruling the world's oceans once again.
Quietly in the background, a consortium - called the University of Oceans - of prominent maritime, scientific and educational figures has already developed a fabulous plan for a 650ft ship (image). Maldwin Drummond, a marine author and co-founder of the project said: "This would unite the nation and business and serve an educational purpose for all ages right up to PhD students."
There wasn't much enthusiasm for the Mail's idea last year, so they've decided to give it another go and enthusiastically report it is also being privately 'supported' by Prince Charles and Princess Anne. There's no mention the two royals will be sticking their hands in their pockets, but I'm sure they'd be delighted to be photographed aboard the new all-singing-all dancing vessel. Often.
The ship is now being marketed as a 'privately funded royal yacht to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee' and the public are assured (several times) that it won't cost the taxpayer a penny, as it will be funded by private donors and personal donations.
To substantiate building this floating palace/science lab/exhibition centre, the PR experts realised they must somehow mention a benefit to children in their marketing package and they have succeeded. They managed a quote from Michael Gove, who is said to support the idea of a new yacht because there is no public funding involved. Being Education Secretary he was bound to mention children and he duly did: "I support that project because it would provide opportunities for disadvantaged youth from across the country to learn new skills and to take part in exciting new adventures."
The end product will cost £80 million (and the rest- ed) and tomorrow morning a bunch of officials from Buck House, the Westminster government and Boris HQ will unveil the plans for what is being hailed as 'one of the great spectacles not just of 2012 but of modern times'.
What's not to like? Surely only hearts of steel could refuse the Queen a new floating home. She's reigned over us for 60 years and deserves a wee gift.
Come to think of it - didn't she cry when her old one was snatched by Tony Blair and dumped in the waters of Leith?
I, for one, would be delighted to formally return the boat to which she was so emotionally attached. In fact, I'd go as far as transporting myself to the Leith dockside, equipped with a new lace-trimmed white linen hankie, with which to wave my farewell on its sail south. It has been given several refurbs and is currently undergoing another, but I'm told the paint will be dry long before it's needed to whisk Her Majesty and her courtiers along the Thames for the occasion of her 60th anniversary.
David Cameron could organise for it to be open to visitors and business groups when royalty don't require it for official duties, (personal royal shindigs should be classed as business events), and the income could be used for running costs.
What's not to like?
The Royal Yacht Britannica
in dock at Leith