A C Grayling has shocked commentators on social media by appearing to suggest that the government is deliberately trying to have a Type 23 Frigate destroyed by China to distract from Brexit talks.
Coming so late to this game – stable doors etc – smacks of an effort to distract from home news. A sunk frigate would eclipse EU talks nicely. “Britain to sail warship through disputed South China Sea https://t.co/jjzHBsPCnO
— A C Grayling #FBPE #ABTV#WATON (@acgrayling) February 13, 2018
Anthony Clifford Grayling is a British philosopher and author. Grayling was a director and contributor at Prospect Magazine from its foundation until 2016. He is a Vice-President of Humanists UK and Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and Patron of the Defence Humanists.
Many have likened his tweet to the plot of ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’.
You’ve officially gone mental. pic.twitter.com/xwhbofkm9Q
— McGraw #JezWeCan #RJCOB 🏳️🌈🌹 (@LeftySocialist) February 13, 2018
The plot of the film follows James Bond on a mission which includes a media tycoon, his former lover and a Chinese agent. Elliot Carver wants to complete his global media empire, but in order for this to work, he must achieve broadcasting rights in China. Carver wants to start up World War III by starting a confrontation over British and Chinese waters, the film features a Type 23 Frigate just like HMS Sutherland.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson recently said HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 anti-submarine frigate, would sail through the South China Sea on its way home from Australia ‘to assert freedom of navigation rights’.
“She’ll be sailing through the South China Sea and making it clear our Navy has a right to do that,” he told The Australian newspaper after a two-day visit to Sydney and Canberra.
This comes not long after Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told Australian ministers that HMS Queen Elizabeth will conduct freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea region on her maiden deployment in 2021.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said:
“We spoke about the challenges including in the South China Sea and we had a long discussion about the Pacific and the opportunities for deeper British engagement in our part of the world.”
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in response to concerns raised regarding freedom of navigation in the South China Sea:
“One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation to this area, to vindicate our belief in the rules-based international system and in the freedom of navigation through those waterways which are absolutely vital for world trade.”
Britain recently deployed a squadron of Typhoon aircraft to conduct exercises with South Korea and Japan amid heightened tension in the region. According to local media, the ministers agreed to identify opportunities to conduct joint activities when the two countries have ships or other assets in the area at the same time. We reported recently that it had emerged that the UK plans to sail HMS Queen Elizabeth to the Pacific in 2021 amid concerns regarding freedom of navigation in the region.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will sail to the Pacific on her maiden deployment in 2020 according to an ambassador. Kim Darroch, Britain’s ambassador to the US said at a think-tank event in Washington:
“As we bring our two new aircraft carriers on-stream in 2020, and as we renew and update our defence forces, they will be seen in the Pacific. And we absolutely share the objective of this US administration, and the next one, to protect freedom of navigation and to keep sea routes and air routes open.”