Indian navy shows how it's done
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 08:52

By blowing the pirates out of the water the Indian navy has shown what can be done. It's a pity that the Royal Navy and others don't get involved too and show what they can do.

Britain used to be the ruler of the waves, you don't have to look any further than the language we speak to realise how our nautical past lives on. Here are just a few examples . . . .

  • Getting to know the ropes - refers to sailing ships and their hundreds of ropes that were used to control the sails.
  • Awash with something refers to decks being underwater from waves
  • Swinging the lead - onboard ship everyone was expected to work, even the sick, but they were given the lighter duties, such as taking depth soundings by swinging a lump of lead on a thin rope and calling out the depth of water.
  • Spinning a yarn - similar to swinging the lead, spinning yarn was a lighter task given to the sick.
  • Bale out - something we all know about, but in the nautical sense it's baling the water out of a boat to stop it sinking.

So what can we learn from this rich natuical heritage?

Britain today could take one simple lesson from its seafaring past. Everyone should work and earn their keep unless they are too ill to stand. Being sick is not a reason to be kept by the state, neither is being disabled. These people should be working at the lighter tasks like swinging the lead or spinning a yarn. We used to have certain roles reserved, like lift (elevator) operator, which meant honest, paid work for these people. It was a better system than just handing out money for nothing.

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