Fit for Purpose
I have to side with Mr Page, an aircraft carrier is much more than just another boat, even with his cut down escort units around it and if they build them with a catapult, steam or mag, better still. The Harrier did a sterling job, the STOVL F35 might be better, but for something with decent range and warload plus be able to launch a proper AEW bird and heavy COD, you need catapults. Plus its a good bet the Labour govt signed such a watertight contract, it would cost more to cancel than it would to build, even if we flog them to the Indians.
Those who suggested closing the German bases have to be right. There's little point in housing thousands of troops, expensive to maintain tanks and other AFVs in Central Europe, whilst paying out LOA (or has that already been axed?) just to have them primed to flood the Fulda Gap in one last heroic charge (before they got fried with a couple of TAC nukes). when the enemy they were set to fight headed East 20 years ago. They've already lost permanently based RAF air support and the Harrier squadrons stopped playing in the woods years ago.
Nimrod MR4 hasn't been mentioned? Come on, why are we still trying to extend the life of a hand built 1950s civvie jet? Apart from to prop up BAe. Is it too late to save anything by stopping this particular gravy train?
Axe the Tornado squadrons? I hope BA and the rest need some pilots, because this has been on the cards for a while. Buy ground launched Tomahawks for the long range work and some decent drones for the shorter range precision stuff, no huge bases to man or protect, stop recruitment of techies for a while (another money saver) and re-assign the GR4 ground crews to whatever jobs they've not already outsourced to the civvies. They won't get much for real estate that houses the tonka toys though, Lossie is miles from, err, anything and Marham isn't much better, just not as cold and wet.
As for the last time the RAF shot down any sort of plane air to air, I suspect that would be May 1982 when a 92 Sqn Phantom splashed a 14 Sqn Jaguar. Jag pilot got his MB tie and ended up with a second one some months later when he banged out over Scotland.