Ministry of Defence sinks navy’s cocktail parties

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Mar 14, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. From The Sunday Times
    March 14, 2010
    Ministry of Defence sinks navy’s cocktail parties
    Sara Dixon

    COCKTAIL parties hosted by Royal Navy commanders visiting foreign ports, a mainstay of British naval tradition since the time of Lord Nelson, are to be scrapped in an effort to save money.

    Navy chiefs are said to be furious over the demise of the tradition, which helps cement good relations for the UK across the globe.

    The relatively small cost of each cocktail party — estimated to be around £1,000 as alcohol served on board a navy vessel is exempt from tax — is minor compared with the £36 billion military budget that the Ministry of Defence is struggling to bring under control.

    It is estimated that scrapping the much-loved “Cockers P”, as the parties are known in navy jargon, could save the MoD between £50,000 and £70,000. An MoD spokesman said: “Royal Navy warships organise official receptions in order to build and maintain relationships and international relationships while on official port visits. We are asking commanding officers not to hold these receptions when on routine business to make savings in the financially difficult times.
  2. Said the MOD spokesman when sat in one of these :)
  3. Bulls eye in one shot!
  4. Oh FFS, that is penny pinching at its worst. These events do wonders for UK - other country relations. Yet all these Labour politicians swan around Europe on freebies making the most of receptions. It's also a real slap in the face to expats who are promoting UK plc and use these visits to network with the local business community.
  5. Unsurprisingly, Rum Ration also has a thread on this (with one poster reminiscing about how the Soviet navy looked bad for being unable/unwilling to meet the normal standards of inter-Navy exchanges ("Don't we want to be GREAT Britain any more?")

    Also, I note with interest that this Administration set up a Government Hospitality Unit. Since it's inception in 1997, it has spent over £7m (spending increased every year and latest figure I found was £800,000 pa. Hope they will have a similar 100% overnight cut too.
  6. If the Royal Navy is going to spend money on entertaining and returning entertainment, there may not be enough money left for us to steal and trough! - Thus spake the politicians and the civil servant who almost certainly made this decision.

    What next? Her Majesty hosting receptions for Heads of State in the Victoria Station McDonalds?

    I bet there will be no cutting down of entertaining in No. 10 whilst the fat pig occupying said bunker is trying to get elected - for the first time!
  7. Isn't a visit from a HMS almost like a floating embassy has pulled up?

    This is daft.
  8. Can anyone tell me how much would be saved by removing the subsidy on House of Commons food, alcohol and tobacco subsidies?

  9. Bingo!
  10. Dunno about the Commons, specifically, but Cameron (not an unbiased source) seems to think about £5.5m for Parliament as a whole (the Guardian, as usual incorrectly, reports this as just the Commons ...)
  11. 13 years in the mob and that is the first time I have ever heard them referred to as 'Cockers P'...

    Still, I'm sure in the grand scheme of things, saving £1k per visit is vital when you consider how carefully the budget for social services is managed... :roll:

    They are a pain in the arse to help organise but you cannot overemphasise the importance that these events have for defence diplomacy abroad. The local dignitaries and expats love them and they do provide very valuable contacts which undoubtedly lead on to income revenue for UK PLC.

    If the MoD are so concerned about saving money, why don't they start by stopping individuals being able to claim duty travel to gay pride events...
  12. Although a wardroom thing, there were perks for the lads too, especially on small ships. I've helped out on one or two of these things, pouring G&Ts and Horses Necks. You never emptied a jug, always left an inch or so in the bottom of the jug which was decanted into a large dixie or brand new pussers black plastic bucket, prior to being refilled. These buckets would wend their way down below for mess cocktails prior to going ashore, happy days

    I've seen one or two of the lads being picked up by a bit of posh totty further down the quayside on the way home too.

    Yet another Naval tradition gone by the by.
  13. Tell you what, sack that dumbass who wants to lower the criminality age, there we go £138k per year saved.

    Although I doubt we will have have the fuel to visit that many ports!
  14. I doubt the political scum classes will be cutting back on their own junkets.

    Attached Files:

  15. Contrary to popular belief, the main cost of the traditional 'Cocker's P' (known less salubriously as a 'Cake & Arse Party') is borne by the officers of the host ship on a mess share basis. This invariably constitutes the largest debit on anyone's mess bill during a busy deployment. Official sources provide rare and relatively tiny subsidies, normally begged from the insubstantial Fleet Entertainment Fund. Thank goodness for duty free prices; there was a time when pink gins replaced G&Ts in popularity because the cost of the tonic far exceeded that of the gin.

    In the UK, shipboard CTPs provide ideal opportunities for the RN to thank area supporters and volunteers including local government dignitaries, members of the emergency services, charity workers, sponsoring businesses and affiliated towns and organisations such as schools, associations, regiments, air stations and the cadet forces. In foreign countries, CTPs allow the RN to showcase itself to the locals while bolstering the applicable British embassy or consulate (which normally compiles the guest list), business people and members of the expat community, enabling them to pay off old favours or garner new ones among the local populace in a convivial atmosphere. Such functions often lead to the 'adoption' of the ship's company by the local police (sometimes including a 'get you home' taxi service), invitations to special events, use of facilities and free or discounted entry to local attractions.

    My most vivid memory of the good work a ship's CTP can achieve harks back to 1989 during a visit to Aden by three minehunters returning from the Gulf. This was the first visit by any British warships since the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY - otherwise known as South Yemen) had achieved its independence in 1967 after 128 years as a British possession. The CTP was a truly international affair and, if memory serves me right, there were diplomatic representatives from over 50 countries including such intriguing combinations as the Soviets (this was at the height of Glasnost and Perestroika) and Cubans, Iranians and Iraqis, Greeks and Turks, and Israelis and Syrians. The Americans had no diplomatic mission in Aden and were conspicuous by their absence. The innocuous-tasting punch prepared by the stewards worked its usual magic and soon all of our guests were engaged in animated but entirely amicable discussion. Afterwards, the British ambassador told me that the RN had done more to improve British diplomatic relations in that one night than he had managed to achieve during his entire tenure.