New royal yacht Prince Philip is a waste of £200m

The Royal Yacht Britannia sails into Portsmouth today (Saturday) for the last time before she is dec

The Royal Yacht Britannia sails into Portsmouth for the last time before she is decommissioned in 1997 - Credit: PA

The new royal yacht named after Prince Philip is a waste of £200 million, says MITCH BENN.


This week brought the news our beleaguered nation has been waiting to hear. Yes, we are still fighting our way out from underneath the virus; yes, our economy is about to go into freefall; yes, we are still being governed by the Emperor Nero (well, Emperor Nero Enough anyway) but none of that matters because we are about to have a new Royal yacht!

Of course, when I say we, I don’t actually mean “we”. You and I are never getting within a mile of the damn thing. 

We will merely have the privilege of paying £200 million for the yacht’s construction; our betters will no doubt find a good use for it. Probably, one imagines, giving our newly bereaved sovereign the chance to spend her remaining glorious years on a never-ending SAGA cruise.

Not that this jaunt will in any way help Her Maj get over that bereavement, mind you; the vessel itself is to be named for her late husband. Because nothing says “ushering in a new era of international diplomacy” like invoking the name of Prince Phillip.

Or perhaps there is something metaphysical at play here? Perhaps the vessel is not merely being named for the Duke of Edinburgh, but maybe as a deceased naval officer, he is to be reincarnated as a ship? Before his spirit can move on, is he required to atone for decades of diplomatic gaffes and colourful racial epithets by spending the next half-century floating around the world being walked all over by foreign dignitaries?

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Like, I imagine many of you, my first thought upon hearing about the new yacht, and indeed its price tag, was “Huh; I wonder who in the cabinet has a brother-in-law who build boats?” Before realising, of course, that nobody in the cabinet has a brother-in-law who builds boats, but rather somebody in the cabinet knows someone who’s never built a boat in his life, but is about to be paid £200 million of public money to build one anyway.

The royal yacht Britannia arriving in Venice, Italy, 1985

The royal yacht Britannia arriving in Venice, Italy, 1985 - Credit: Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images


So it seems that many of the 12 million viewers who tuned into the Line of Duty series finale on Sunday night were dissatisfied with what they saw as an anticlimactic end to this season’s story, in which (incoming spoilers) our heroes discover that the bent copper at the centre of a network of police corruption is not the fiendish criminal mastermind that they (and many of the viewers) had been expecting, but rather a shambling chancer who has disguised years of grotesque wrong-doing behind a facade of genial, bumbling incompetence. Hmmm.

Quite how Line of Duty scribe Jed Mercurio managed to slip this plot past the increasingly craven and compliant mandarins at the BBC is a mystery for the ages. One looks forward to next year’s series, in which AC-12 realise that the whole enquiry has been a big fuss about nothing, that nobody is really corrupt (except perhaps a few foreigners) and all live happily ever after.


The ongoing controversy surrounding the lavish refurbishment of the prime minister‘s official flat (and, moreover, who paid for it) was mysteriously not allayed this week by the news that there would indeed be an enquiry into the funding of the works, and that the person in charge of deciding the extent of that enquiry’s remit would be... the prime minister himself.

Mr prime minister, if I may…? Remember a couple of weeks ago where I said in this column that the way to persuade everyone that the Sewell Report into institutional racism hadn’t been an abject whitewash would be to commission a report into the report, which could conclude that the report was perfectly okay, and that if anyone had a problem with that, to commission a report into THAT report, and so on and so on…?

THAT WAS A JOKE. This is a satirical column, not a think tank. Please, leave me some space, it’s hard enough to make this stuff up as it is…


In England’s green and pestilent land
Modesty still prevails
But west of the Dyke, they can do what they like
They’re hugging again in Wales.

In England, so much as an unsanctioned touch
Can land your behind in jail
But down in the valley, they’re getting real pally
They’re hugging again in Wales.

The English are starved of contact
For bodily warmth they thirst
Soon there will be oodles of legal canoodles
But not until June 21st.

In Wales it’s all over the papers
And on the TV and the radio
Get out in the street, hug whomever you meet
Yng Nghymru mae'n gyfreithiol cofleidio.

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