Surely we should have called our new flagship HMS Margaret Thatcher?

28 March 2014

1:00 PM

28 March 2014

1:00 PM

It’s great news that this summer will see the launch of Britain’s biggest-ever warship, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, built on the Clyde and weighing 65,000 tons. This beast will be carrying Merlins, Chinooks, Apache and 250 troops, and also features a ‘Highly Mechanised Weapon Handling System’, which I don’t quite understand the meaning of but definitely makes me aroused.

But couldn’t the Powers That Be have come up with a more original name? I love the royal family and everything, but how many things do we have to name after them? Most recently, a year or so ago it was announced that they’d come up with a name for our part of Antarctica – and they’d decided on ‘Queen Elizabeth Land’. And there are already a lot of things named after the Queen.


Aren’t there other people we can commemorate? For some reason the British have this boring obsession with naming everything after the royal family, while the French tend to honour great people instead; if you look at the 100 Greatest Britons list, and ignoring the living (few of whom will make the list in 50 years’ time), how many have had ships, streets or other such things named after them?

I imagine this is part of a British tendency to avoid controversy, as the obvious choice for this new ship would be the HMS Margaret Thatcher (which admittedly might not be hugely popular on Clydeside). I imagine the Americans will have named one of their ships after her before we have.

If it makes people happy we can name the sister ship the HMS Tony Benn, although I’m not sure he would have appreciated it. As it is, it will be called HMS Prince of Wales, which is just boring snoring.  I’d rather they named it HMS Mary Seacole or HMS Equality and Diversity.

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Show comments
  • Sean L

    Pubs used to be named after battles and soldiers as well as kings and queens. But most of the pubs on Tottenham High Road are betting shops. The smoking ban and liberalising gambling regulations have literally disfigured the landscape.

  • ProfJohnCrown

    Less controversial than the Americans naming a nuclear sub “USS Corpus Christi” !!

  • Two Bob

    No! No! No!

  • Jabez Foodbotham

    If she is to be crewed by intrepid sea dogs like the bunch that were captured in the Gulf by an Iranian gunboat, maybe HMS Handbag would be appropriate.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      HMS Soft Power

  • mrsjosephinehydehartley

    HMS Whistleblower

  • rjbh

    HMS Margret Thatcher…..

  • komment

    Whatever its name it should be permanently berthed in the Falkland Islands…oops! did I mean the Malvinas

  • dalai guevara

    This is not difficult.
    Sell the name to the highest bidder, or those who will supply planes from day one.

  • Icebow

    Why could she not have been nuclear powered?

    • Ron Todd


      • Icebow

        Well, our subs are nuclear powered. Virtually infinite range without refuelling; seems a price worth paying.
        I hope the F-35 thing works out. If not, she may need to be renamed HMS Inadvisable, and her sister (or brother) ship HMS Herpes, to commemorate the Falklands conflict.

  • ADW

    Not bothered about the name, I’m more concerned about it being ridiculously over the top for peacetime duties (anti-piracy/anti-drugs/disaster relief and antiquated for any war involving something more than a third world weakling. In the Persian Gulf she would be far too vulnerable to supersonic missiles, which the West have ignored for some reason, also small boat swarm attacks and submarines with super-caviting torpedoes.

    That and the fact she has no planes.

    • Ron Todd

      For anti pirate duty we could just use a few merchant ships converted into fleet carriers with some attack helicopters.

      • ADW

        My point exactly. in fact, we don’t even need that, just need to arm the merchant ship. Having a couple of dozen marines on each ship with some side arms would be far cheaper than several thousand men on board a carrier strike group, tearing around with fast jets and helicopters.

        • Ron Todd

          A few helicopters would allow them to be proactive to go out and attack the pirates first and offer some protection to weaker boats.

  • Ron Todd

    Isn’t there already a QE2? With only helicopters and no catapult to launch AWAC aircraft HMS pointless would be more appropriate.But then again what is the point of the Royal family?

  • mightymark

    If this is an attempt to wind up the left I doubt it will work as associating Mrs Thatcher is a rather good name for so hated an object and it will assist in creating even more resentment against defence spending among them.

  • Wessex Man

    Does it not worry you that no actual aircraft will be flying from it, as to Name it should have been HMS Churchill amnd then people who seem to have an aversion to Winston Churchill can kid themselves that it was named after John Churchill.

    How lucky this nation was to have two of them, it’s a shame we haven’t got either now rather than a spineless Call me Dave who is too frightened even to join Clegg and Farage in debate!

    • Barakzai

      HMS Marlborough commemorates John Churchill.

      • Wessex Man

        That’s it then let’s have HMS Winston Churchill and honour both!

  • dockyard davy

    this ship is built all across the united kingdom and assembled at rosyth and not just on the clyde also you’r picture shows part’s of the ship being towed up the river forth and not the clyde as stated please get you’r fact’s right in future

    • kgbarrett

      I am reporting you to the Society for the Protection of the Apostrophe.

      • dockyard davy

        I am very sorry if my punctuation is not up to the mark , however I do feel a sense of pride in my work as I actually work on hms queen elizabeth so I think that Ican be allowed some leeway evan though I am old and of a pre computer age

        • kgbarrett

          Only pulling your leg, DD.

  • Simon B

    Surely it would be better to have an HMS Iron Lady to go with our HMS Iron Duke?

  • Chris

    I think HMS Oliver Cromwell would be perfect. Or is that name already taken? HMS Margaret Thatcher would be a more suitable name for a garbage barge.

  • Barakzai

    If you had any awareness of tradition related to the naming of British capital ships, you would know that HMS (and never preceded by the definite article ‘the’) ROYAL SOVEREIGN – or the alternative chosen, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH – is entirely appropriate. As the ship is a carrier, HMS ARK ROYAL would have been appropriate too. Naming major RN warships after mere politicians is very unusual; HM submarine CHURCHILL was such a rarity.

  • Alex_Cheshire

    No ship should be name after any politician who is in living memory. We have many great historical figures, far more than we have ships in the navy. Why not Newton, Shakespeare, Bede, Brunel, Dickens, Wren or any of the other greats?

  • startledcod

    HMS Diversity has a nice ring to it; we could name all new ships after Britain’s Got Talent winners: HMS Ashleigh and Pudsey, MMS Paul Potts and HMS Attraction, perhaps a new nuclear submarine could be HMS Susan Boyle or even HMS Subo (pronounced Subbo rather than Soobo). Whaddaya reckon?

    • Perpetually Astonished

      How about HMS Ken Dodd, complete with a very arousing ‘highly mechanised tickle stick weapons system’ designed to confound our enemies into submission.

  • saffrin

    Calling our latest flagship HMS Thatcher would muddy the water regards the sanity of its commander.
    HMS Churchill would be better than naming it after someone that was all wind and water.

  • Daniel Maris

    Er – no.

    • Wessex Man

      er, why no? Please expand on your all too brief reply.

      • Daniel Maris

        Monarchy has many uses. One is providing a neutral focus of loyalty in the armed forces. Would the son of a miner made unemployed by Mrs Thatcher really relish serving in such a ship?

        • Wessex Man

          You really are the ugly side of British society arn’t you.