View Full Version : Gordon and the Queen's Flight

Dick Whittingham
12th Apr 2006, 10:06
I see that Gordon Brown thinks the cost of flying to Brussels in a 125 of the Queen's Flight is £1,300. Anyone put a better figure on that for me?

Dick W

12th Apr 2006, 10:19
They know full well that it costs more than that but are trying to pull another quick one on the unsuspecting British public, after all how are they meant to know what the actual figure is. It's a shame that when the queen rightfully uses the Royal flight there is uproar yet when Tony and the mob abuse the same services they just shrug it off with an innocent smile. This in many respects is indirect theft but from a government that has a Czar for media spin, a Minister for Deceit and an action group for bright smiles and bad breath what do we really expect? Politics is no way near as important today as it was during the cold war days and doesn't warrant these so called essentials , they're just arrogant luxuries.

If they really need a quick, responsive and tailor made flight then why not negotiate something with netjets or someone who specialises in this sort of thing. It would be realistic and better managed and dare I say it even more accountable. This would make it more presentable to the public or other body for inspection and scrutiny. Gordon get your wallet out or get Tony to review it which in turn he approve and then send it to Prescott's office where it can be forgotten about.

12th Apr 2006, 11:10
For God's sake, Grow up!
There's more to it than just spoiling themselves. I don't like them any more than other politicians, but the constant whining about "abuse" really irritates me. Senior Government persons NEED to travel securely and also have the freedom to change schedules as reqd. What if they had a ticket on BA but got held up in an important meeting. Do people who complain about this use only buses instead of using cars or (horror)taxis? I'll bet that any of you who travel on company business don't go for the cheapest fare. (Though I do know a few who will if they are paying themselves!) In a previous job, the positioning crew tried to get Business class - and rightly so, in my opinion as they were often operating after arrival, but paying themselves? Ryanair or Easyjet!
I hear constant carping about hotac, "No Gym, Bar is draughty, window in room must open, Not in a nice area etc etc"
Also its hypocritical for the opposition to complain, 'cos they'll do exactly the same.
£1300 is possibly the DOC so Gordon is not lying, just being economical with the truth!

12th Apr 2006, 11:20

Grrrrr.. I'm not one to get too wound up by politicians, they are a bunch of people for whom I have little respect and faith. Let them get on and do whatever it is they do. However this news item got my goat.

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett took 106 RAF flights between 2002 and 2004 the figures showed.

Many of these were to East Midlands airport, near her home in Derbyshire.

But government officials said it was cheaper than commercial airlines and was within the rules.

I live in the North between Leeds and Manchester and spend a *lot* of time in London, perhaps 2 or 3 days per week. I'd like to see how I could justify a private jet to EMA as being cheaper than a BMI / BA flight to MAN.

Ministers, including Gordon Brown, have been using it for short hops to Brussels, Margaret Beckett has been using it to drop her home in the East Midlands and the prime minister has been taking it on holiday with him.

Why is Beckett using the aircraft to drop her home? Does it have a parachute? And what does Tony do when he has taken the aircraft on holiday with him? Park it by the pool? :}

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said many of Mrs Beckett's meetings in Brussels "often end at unpredictable hours in the middle of the night when there is no alternative transport available".

The spokesman added: "Returning to the UK immediately allows attendance at high level meetings early the next morning and represents savings on hotel accommodation."

Aww, diddums. Its as if politicians are of a higher, elite breed than the rest of us. I've never ever had a business meeting run late into the night, no sirree. :hmm: And if I ever did then I would find alternative transport and make things happen. Did Ms Beckett also know that she could stay over in Brussels, get an early flight back to LHR (at say 0700 local time?) arrive LHR at 0700 local time and still be at her desk in Whitehall before 0900? And if that is too late then get the meeting pushed back??? Or use tele conferencing, video conferencing etc.

Snouts, troughs, superiority complex. Wastes of bloody space and my taxes.

<rant off/>

12th Apr 2006, 11:27
The Czech, Armenian, and Thai Govts all have ACJ's, to name but a few. Those cost $2m+ in annual fixed costs for starters.

Let's get real - worrying that a Minister spends £1000 on a private flight is just trivial. The business world uses business jets to succeed; you won't find Bill Gates, Ted Turner or Rupert Murdoch on Southwest or JetBlue.

We need our politicians to succeed; Britain doesn't need losers. Give them the tools of the trade to get the job done; then kick them out of office if they don't, and try the next lot. But stop whinging about their costs. Do you really want to sit next to Mr/Mrs TB on your next ThosCook flight? Or should Beckett go easyJet to Brussels?

Our leaders should be out there using every last hour of the day battling for Britain, and a bizjet is the only way to get them to do the hours.

(and Yes, the rates they talk about are for the marginal extra fuel, not the cost of having them; the Military bear the cost as purportedly they have a 'war role'. Creative accounting)

12th Apr 2006, 11:47
I don't think that people object when the RAF is used when required. What people object to is the justification for trivial use. One minute they go on about global warming and tax larger cars, the next they use the Royal Flight for their own convenience and suggest that it saves money (and of course they or should I say we pay for "carbon emissions").
Margaret Beckett hardly needs to have the use of a private jet when she could get quite easily to Brussels by schedule.
Tony Blair makes a point of having an "official meeting" whenever and wherever he goes on holiday so that he can use RAF flights.
I seem to remember a couple of years ago that the German Chancellor had a holiday in Italy at a bed and breakfast. Fat chance our lot would do the same.
Like so many Socialist they savour the trappings of power.

12th Apr 2006, 12:13
What's all this rubbish about "Grow up", it's not me who needs to do that. That seems to be Downing street talk for anyone with an alternative view. How many of these meetings are so critical and if they are then why would any of the Royal families engagements be any less important yet receive scorn from public and media. In Britain Margaret Beckett could easily flown into Uxbridge and then taken a flight back to East Midlands or even got a chanffeured car back home (far cheaper and still very luxurious). This is a removal from reality and blind arrogance, looks like they have been watching too many French cosmetic adverts on the TV, no you're not worth it. The labour party really need to approach Netjets and though it would be cheaper for the UK taxpayer it would unfortunately put an end of personal freebies which is what it's all about.

The quote about Socialists who love the trappings of power is right on the mark. Not that Tony and is dream team are Socialists more the Blair appreciation society (even worse).

12th Apr 2006, 12:30
Why are we worrying about how much the Queens flight costs when theres so many more pressing issues in the government? (Like how to get rid of the bumbling idiots)

How much do we spend on Asylum, unused cycle paths, killing our own troops, etc......

The government charter/ wet lease aircraft all the time from a major airline to hop around Europe. Higher profile people representing the country need a private aircraft due to security. Imagine a person posing as a random passenger, trying to hold them hostage or attempt hijack. Why take the risk?

Now if we're paying for inflight caviar and Cristal, that's a different matter!! (Because I wasn't invited!!)


Norman Stanley Fletcher
12th Apr 2006, 12:45
I should point out that I am not a Labour voter and would dearly love to see the back of Blair, Brown et al. Nonetheless, there is a slightly crazy view of the world being exhibited here. I find myself agreeing with WideBodiedEng in his assesment of things. However much I loathe our current government, I recognise that they must be able to travel freely around the world at a moment's notice in order to conduct the affairs of state. Every single government in the world, including every banana republic on the planet, provides executive transport to their ministers and we should be no exception. Forget the personalities - our Prime Minster and Chancellor should not have to hang around Luton Airport waiting for Ryanair or EasyJet to take them somewhere! We are not talking about familites being sent by private jet to shop in Milan or something. I fully recognise the need for security, privacy and our leaders being in a fit state to conduct the affairs of government on our behalf. That means posh limos, executive jets and airports kept open late to cater for strange departure and arrival times. If you think these are 'perks' of the job then so be it. To my mind it is just giving our government ministers the tools necessary to run an efficient and credible administration. Now, whether they are doing a good job at it or not is another matter.................

12th Apr 2006, 12:55
Spoken like a true polititian Norman.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding!!!! :}

12th Apr 2006, 12:59
Just to be a bit pedantic but it hasn't been called the Queen's Flight since 1995 when the Queen's Flight was amalgamated with the Metropolitan Communications Squadron (ie the RAF's VIP squadron) to form 32 (The Royal) squadron.

12th Apr 2006, 13:02
I agree with Norman. However, quite why we need a squadron for a unelected, dysfunctional, inbred German family to swan around, but not the elected goverment of the day, I've never quite understood.

Ekaterinburg for the lot of them.

12th Apr 2006, 14:20
Dear all,

I do not know if the rest of you know about it but here in God’s Country we developed two devices that can be used to transmit voice and pictures over great distances at the speed of light. I am pretty sure that this is faster than a 146.

I have no probs with Queenie and her family jetting all over the world at my expense, I mean she has had a hard life what with living with the DOE and having been knobbed by him at least 4 times.

However, when it comes to the slimy lowlife politicos attempting to line their pockets at junkets then I draw the line. Blair can get Shrub on the old ‘dog and bone’ and tell him “yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir”.


:) :) :)

Row 12F
12th Apr 2006, 14:26
Don't forget - Alastair reads this and he knows where you live.

Since he doesn't really like Gordon, you may be alright. But keep the comments on Tony strictly to the mindlessly abusive (easy to rubbish away) or lickingly praiseful.

On the other hand, he is positioning himself to be Gordon's right hand. It's the only way to make him smile.

12th Apr 2006, 15:01
FWIW I *do* agree with many points here that the nation's executive need to get from A to B quickly to conduct the business of politics.

AND they are targets which need to be protected.

AND the incremental cost of a flight might only be a couple of grand and hardly dents the national budget.

BUT it is their sanctimonious justification of WHY they need such cosseting that gets me. I still don't see any response here explaining why Beckett needs to fly home with the RAF.

And to claim that returning home on a 'private' RAF flight helps to save hotel costs is really taking the biscuit.

12th Apr 2006, 16:41
point taken Norman and I agree that the top people need to get around in flexible and at times instaneous manner. Nevertheless when I hear anything regarding this New Labour lot my bloods boils and has done so not recently but since 1997 !!! I am truely suffering :)

12th Apr 2006, 18:36
I wouldn't mind if they (the Blair crowd) actually delivered something. They have had their chance and given that they are completely pants at managing the country I consider all the assets they have used in that time to have been wasted.

As for Queeny, don't even get me started. She deserves all the 'attentions' of the DOE. And Alastair Campbell, well he certainly deserves to be given a daily shagging by the DOE. That way His Royal Highness would actually be doing the country a service.

12th Apr 2006, 21:34
So they flog around the sky at our expense. Perhaps
up there they cause less damage.

Can anyone tell me what has actually improved in the last 8 years
since Gord, Tone, and the rest of the freeloaders got their grubby mitts
on the taxpayer's money?

I do hope that Italy's election result will give Tone a chance to offer Berlusconi a roof over his head. It's the least he can do for all the free holidays he and Cherie and their litter have enjoyed in Italy.

Anyone got a spare BAe 146? :rolleyes:

12th Apr 2006, 22:12
As somebody who spent 6 years based at RAF Northolt (1990-1996) in the Royal Air Force I had daily dealings with 'The Royal Flight'. Back then it was used primarily for senior Government officials and the military top brass for various meetings with a good mix of Royals. It was abused then as it is now. Golfing trips, 'business meetings' and the Corgi run to ABZ! Yes it did happen.

It does seem now, however, that the aircraft are used primarily for Government ministers shuttling to and from 'meetings'. Meanwhile The Royal Family are told to tighten the purse strings and use sheduled flights and charter other civilain aircraft. Blair and Co should re-read the name of the Squadron.

Yes, they are entitled to the added security which is needed in these times so we have to see both sides of the 'story'. It is about time that the Government, whoever is in power, invests in a decent 'fleet' of Government and 'Royal' aircraft. We are the only memeber of the G8 group who does not have a dedicated VIP/VVIP/ROYAL aircraft. What must other Governements think of our attitude to it costing too much? How much is spent each year on chartering civilian aircraft, refitting them out to VVIP/ROYAL specification? Surely there are additional security costs too?

13th Apr 2006, 00:47
Wasn't Prince Charles on a BA flight and discovered that he was in Club whilst TB and his cronies lorded it in First?

13th Apr 2006, 01:05
Yes, he was in Club World and all the Government were in First! HRH wasn't impressed, nor should he have been.

What other country sends the Heir to the Throne commercial?! Or indeed the Head of State. Totally outrageous!

13th Apr 2006, 03:54
Boogie-nicey: "...it would be better managed..."

Well, Boogs, I can tell you as one who flew for TQF that there was no flying unit anywhere in the world better organised or managed. That is, unless you know differently in your experience? Pray tell....:suspect:

13th Apr 2006, 10:46

Whoops, you got me there, I meant to state the activities of the Government bods that were abusing the system or should I say convienent loophole. I wasn't refering to TQF, I have no doubt that are TOP NOTCH and see these planes passing over my home in Buckinghamshire as they turn final, have alot of respect for them.

Instead I was insisting that these freeloading ministers armed with convienent reasons and explanations need to have a better managed and more open system with regards to their transdport arrangements. But they like to stay far away from the truth and public accountability as possible and the net result is that the TQF and the Royals get indirectly blamed for this, that's not fair.


13th Apr 2006, 17:20
Prescott can't take the 125, has to be the 146.

Weight and balance issue, you see ...........

View From The Ground
14th Apr 2006, 00:20
Unfortunately this thread is symptomatic of our beloved press...slagged off elsewhere on PPRUNE....Whatever you may think of him Tony Blair puts in very long hours for what is actually a pretty minimal wage

Blair by numbers

A statistical breakdown of the prime minister's record so far

Ian Valvona, Julian Glover and Shafik Meghji
Friday April 26, 2002
The Guardian

45 Countries visited by Tony Blair since becoming PM
22 Counties visited by Tony Blair since September 11 2001

23 Percentage of countries in the world visited by Tony Blair as PM

£102,417 Tony Blair's salary in 1997

£171,554 Tony Blair's salary April 2002

£19.58 Hourly cost to the British tax-paying public of Tony Blair

£75 Typical hourly cost of calling a plumber in London

2 Number of holidays taken in the UK by Tony Blair since 1997

162 Prime minister's question time sessions attended by Tony Blair as PM

7 Prime minister's question time sessions missed by Tony Blair

81 hours. Amount of time spent by Tony Blair answering questions in Commons

So what if he saves himself some time stress and hassle when he goes on holiday...as anyone with common sense will know a PM is never truly on holiday..and given the propensity for the tabloids to make a story from nothing........can you imagine......

Let us not forget that many of the pilots on this forum justify their salary, quite fairly, on the basis of their responsibility for the safety for between 10 and 500 pax....Blair or any PM is responsible for the well being of the whole country 56,000,000 or so! Is that really bad value for £19.58 per hour!!!!!! so the cost to you of our PM, for the whole year is less than 1/2 pence each....

Personally I think that any PM deserves for the job they do and the very real risks they take a figure more in the £20million a year bracket...How many Company CEOs have that responsibility yet on the whole we don't find any whingeing on here about them using private jets...in fact I would imagine the pilot community are rather happy about the jobs they provide!

Lets get real if you don't like the government you can vote them out but don't pretend that being the PM is a walk in the sun not deserving of a decent salary and a few perks...Ask yourself would you really swap your life/working hours and responsibilities for his for that sum of money, before you complain too much.....

Ministers and office-holders in the Commons: including Parliamentary salary (£59,095 for 1.4.2005 to 31.3.2006)

From 1st April 2005 - 31st March 2006

Prime Minister 183,932

Cabinet Minister 133,997

Minister of State 97,949

Parliamentary Under Secretary 88,586

Government Chief Whip 133,997

Government Deputy Chief Whip 97,949

Government Whip 84,100

Assistant Government Whip 84,100

Leader of the Opposition 127,757

Opposition Chief Whip 97,947

Deputy Chief Opposition Whip 84,100

Assistant Opposition Whip 84,100

Speaker 133,997

Chairman of Ways and Means 97,949

First Deputy Chairman 93,243

Second Deputy Chairman 93,243

Solicitor General 124,358

Advocate General for Scotland 124,358

The above are the most recent figures I can find looks like we are paying for Cameron as well.......for leading the Tories....not sure who has the tougher job!! :hmm:

14th Apr 2006, 21:37
While not a subject of the Queen, I do say that I think it is fine for a special squadron of the Royal Air Force to provide appropriate transportation for those of the government of the UK.

I even saw the Queen's BAE 146 at San Francisco airport many many years ago.

In the US, Bush deserves Air Force One...I wouldn't want him on a regular airline flight...bad guys might take it out!

14th Apr 2006, 22:47
"Bush deserves Air Force One...I wouldn't want him on a regular airline flight"

Also, because he might sit next to me!

15th Apr 2006, 15:47
I don't mind senior government people using this transport as long as it isn't abused, but some of these pollies are not senior enough for a private jet. People of equivelant seniority in business wouldn't dream of taking private jets to their destinations, they wouldn't be able to justify it and know that scheduled availability is sufficient for their needs. Just needs organisation and planning, pollies know little about that so i suppose that is their justification!!
I remember a story when the ginger jock was still alive, Teflon, Gordon and the jock all had to go to Lisbon and went on three different private charters. Teflon was supposedly going later in the day but Gordon and the jock weren't speaking so went on different aircraft..It was some EEC "do" but the first meeting was a dinner which they all attended so could have gone together...

15th Apr 2006, 20:49
Well said Norman and Ezyboh. I regularly see news reports where the journo is interviewing some Minister on a Train fer heavens sake. Probably the quickest means of getting from A-B, but hardly secure is it.? We elect these people to act for us and like it or not Tony Blair is in power and should be protected from the loonies out there who want to harm him and his Ministers. Witness, The Pope, Reagan, Kennedy, Ghandi x 2 etc etc. They MUST have the most complete protection that is available, and if that means a private aircraft so be it.
As Norman hinted, it's not only security. I was in Dhahran some time ago, when The Queen arrived in the Dart. The Saudi King then appeared in a 707 HZ-HM1. It was probably the most gorgeous 707 on the Planet, but it was still a 707, whilst HM arrived in the Concorde. Later, she departed on the Royal Yacht. Two Icons of Class (You can buy the vehicle, but you can't buy class).
Nope, I dont' object to it. If the President of Giberovia can do it, then our PM should be able to. :*

15th Apr 2006, 22:24
Not a lot of probs with your post.....but what about the Wicked Witch? Mrs Beckett, Mr Straw......who have and still do take the PEE out of the Great Unwashed...:{

Norman Stanley Fletcher
16th Apr 2006, 22:07
View from the Ground - you are possibly working at Labour HQ or somewhere similar and may indeed believe all the good publicity about Blair. As I said previously, let him travel anywhere, anytime in pomp and circumstance. Your figures about salaries are indeed correct but in the best 'Labour Spin Doctor' traditions it is not the whole picture. My personal view is the Prime Minister should be paid several times as much as he currently is - not because it is Blair, who is dire, but because he is the Prime Minister. Incidentally, my view is shared by the salaries committee (I cannot remember their exact title but that is what they are!). The reason I want him to have a high salary is simply to save him from temptation to be corrupt along with his ministers. Alas, that has not been possible as evidenced by Messers Byers and Vaz - but such is life. Why is it then that the righteous Mr Blair feels able to so graciously turn down the offered salary rise? Is it because he is not really a 'champagne socialist' but a true champion of the left wing principles he would claim. Alas not - Mr Blair neglected to mention that his wife, a QC and Judge, earns £250,000 a year! Nice work if you can get it.

View From The Ground
17th Apr 2006, 20:25
NSF...not at all...in elections so far I have voted for the blues 3 times and the reds once...and that was to oust a sleazy Tory government. Lets get things in proportion here UK politics whatever its fault is amongst the least corrupt in the world...I refer you to the Mayor of Malaga or was it Marbella and her bribes for planning permission scam...let alone further afield..
What I really object to is people not looking at the whole picture.....I am sure Blair costs us more than 1/2p each by the time you have taken into account security...and...dare I say it travel....but in the scheme of things it is small change....and he or any other British PM is a world leader....so perhaps it is not appropriate to send him round the world on Easyjet!?!
As for his wife she has earned her position as a QC independant of the PM so what relevance her salary has I do not know....the fact is Tony Blair or any PM deserves more than they get for what they have to do and put up with...

18th Apr 2006, 12:48
NSF, in bringing Cherie Blair's salary into the arguement you have decended to the level of the tabloid newspaper. What she earns is totally irrelevant to the discussion on use or misuse of aircraft. She has earned her success in her own right and as such, should be treated as such.

And, for all those who seem to think £180k is a lot for a prime minister to earn, consider the fact that Digby Jones, of the CBI earns in excess of £300k and I am sure he has nowhere near the responsibility of TB

18th Apr 2006, 14:39
And just to be pedantic, the Queen's Flight (http://archive.thisislancashire.co.uk/2000/12/2/703385.html) does still exist ... but is a bit cheaper to run than the other one!

Back on thread why in this age of video conferencing do our valuable :rolleyes: politicians have to go on so many trips ... oh sorry ... video confs don't make for good photo opportunities......

18th Apr 2006, 14:43
And just to be pedantic, the Queen's Flight does still exist
Run by Squeezyjet (and others no doubt :E )

20th Apr 2006, 20:23
Look. Just buy the Royals and PM a jet of their own and let them get on with it. Every other nation in the world has their own Government/Royal aircraft so why are we any different. It is going to cost money, but at least it will be obvious and accountable.

It doesnt have to be lavish or top of the range, but an aircraft fit for the purpose. An aircraft capable of flying anywhere its required to go, beit short/medium or longhaul.

Its also a security issue that our government and royal family (whether you like them or not) are safe and secure whilst flying around the world.

20th Apr 2006, 21:07
Even though it is not my country I agree with tristar.

Even Castro has his own long range VIP aircraft now.

20th Apr 2006, 21:24
What the hell does that Beckett woman do for Joe Public anyway? I say stick her on easyJet. She's doesn't exactly need to save time or extra security like Blair does, does she? As for that bollocks about saving on hotels and early morning meetings etc I don't know how they've got the nerve.
Perhaps not easyJet but i'm sure BA business class isn't too bad really.

These people never seem to take the train anywhere. I wonder why.