Tuesday, April 12, 2011

HMS Astute, Jonahs, Jinxed Ships and Governments!

The extraordinary shooting incident on board the nuclear submarine HMS Astute in Southampton, following on from its grounding which led to the court martial of its commissioning Commanding Officer, set my mind to pondering on Jonahs and jinxed ships in general.

Seamen are notoriously superstitious, and when a run of bad luck seems to randomly occur on board a vessel, it will not be long before tongues wag, gossip flows and the search for a Jonah begun. Believe you me, such a situation is an ugly event, particularly for any scapegoat thus selected. For once so tagged on one ship, the suspicion tends to follow thereafter.

A Jonah on board, however, brings bad luck which should only last for the duration of a trip, the problem being solved with the signing on of a new crew, but should a vessel itself seem to be the victim of successive incidents of bad luck, then the ship itself may become considered as jinxed. Then no new crews can easily be found.

When I was about eighteen years old I served on a jinxed ship. Her name was 'British Aviator' a 42,000 deadweight tonnage tanker owned by the BP Tanker Company. Early in her life she collided with another vessel 'Crystal Jewel' killing the young daughter of that ship's Captain, in an event which later became notorious as a "radar assisted collision".

Other incidents occurred thereafter and while I was serving on board as a navigating apprentice, the Captain disappeared while we were sailing in ballast between Aden and Kuwait in the shark infested, highly luminescent waters to the south of the Arabian peninsular. We retraced our course and searched the seas throughout the daylight hours but he was never found. We radioed the loss of the Master, which was picked up by the Evening News and reported as the loss of the ship itself, giving my family some hours of concern. The ship's reputation went from unlucky to jinxed and thereafter she could only find crews with difficulty.

Looking at the present coalition government in the UK, it strikes me that its Cabinet Ministers are somewhat alike the crew on an unlucky ship. First we have seen the search for Jonah's, passing variously between Vince Cable, William Hague, Liam Fox and now on to Andrew Lansley yet it now seems the mishaps, misjudgements and sheer incompetence cannot be assigned to one Jonah alone. Something more grave and sinister is at work, something that will only disappear when the whole thing is consigned to the scrapyard!

George Osborne, allowing his name, and therefore that of the Government whom he represents, to be put to the disgraceful document posted on this blog last evening and headed:

"Gödöllö (Hungary), 8 April 2011
Statement by the Eurogroup and ECOFIN Ministers"

which may be read in full from the posting immediately below, must surely provide the final justification for Conservative MPs to bring this farce to a close. Strangely, perhaps the main beneficiary of this eleven month fiasco, initially appeared the first victim of its misfortunes, namely David Laws?

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Blogger Robert said...

The biggest Jonah in the coalition is the great leader who had an insurmountable lead in the polls in October 2009, an opposition which was totally discedited and in near mutiny and an inheritence tax that had transformed his party.

Labour, despite their record in government, now have a poll rating of 45% which was higher than Dave ever achieved.

I am looking forward to the May election with interest.

9:16 AM  

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