Leading article: Unruly admirals

Click to follow

For a group of senior retired naval officers, including the former minister Lord West, to demand a rethink of government cuts to the Senior Service is unwise, to say the least. That they should choose the week of Armistice Day to make their démarche, when public sympathy with the armed forces is at its height, smacks of cynical calculation.

Most reprehensible of all, though, is the suggestion that Argentina, by virtue of the decision to scrap the Ark Royal and the fleet of Harrier jump jets, is "practically invited" to reinvade the Falklands. In many countries, such a sentiment would be seen as treacherous, in giving comfort to the enemy. Here, it forced a statement from the Falklands authorities that they had confidence in their security.

The Comprehensive Spending Review and the Strategic Defence and Security Review were preceded by intense lobbying from all branches of the armed forces. There was also extensive formal consultation. In the end, though, it is for the elected government to decide. Lord West and his co-signatories clearly do not like the result, but they are arguably implicated in the over-ambitious spending that cost the Navy the Ark Royal. Once the decision has been taken, the time for complaint is over. If the Navy still has a ship with a plank, they should walk it.