Naming a Royal Navy submarine ‘Agincourt’: Part 2


To Bill Grant, MP on May 19th:

Dear Mr Grant

As my local MP, please raise my concerns, shared with others in Ayrshire, about the naming of a new Astute class submarine, ‘Agincourt.’ There are several reasons why this is a bad choice.

  1. The battle of Agincourt predates British history.
  2. The name is offensive to our NATO allies,France.
  3. The battle featured the slaughter of French prisoners of war.
  4. The battle was part of a piratical invasion of another state.
  5. The English army was led by a tyrannical, French-speaking, Anglo-Norman aristocracy, deeply unpopular back in England and Wales.
  6. There were Scots serving in the French army.
  7. Scottish/Ayrshire taxpayers contributed to the costs of this vessel.

 There is nothing heroic about this name. Please join the protest against it.

Yours sincerely

Professor John Robertson



Reply from Bill Grant MP on May 21st:

Professor Robertson,

By chance I met Gavin Williamson Minister for Defence this very morning, he advised as follows –

 There have been 5 or 6 vessels named “Agincourt” over the last 300 years

 The name is chosen by Naval / Defence staff

 Her majesty is advised of the name chosen and her approval is sought

 In the case of “Agincourt” for the astute class submarine, this has been approved by Her Majesty

Mr Williamson recalled somewhere in history, where a King at the time rejected the name “Cromwell “ for a naval vessel

 Hope this is helpful.

 Regards Bill Grant.


My follow-up on 22nd

Thanks Bill

I’m not sure why previous inappropriate practice and the Queen’s approval is an answer to my criticisms.

Do you feel you’ve done all you can?


Readers, should I pursue this? If so, how?

11 thoughts on “Naming a Royal Navy submarine ‘Agincourt’: Part 2

  1. Molloy Harry M May 22, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    Typical English absurdity. Keep on kick against this nonsensical English nationalist naming

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John May 22, 2018 / 5:03 pm

    Is there any point pursuing it John I ask you , the UK navy and The Queen have spoken , backed up by the Tories , let them keep going over ancient English history , it makes them feel good , moving on is difficult for them , they still think they are a world power , poor delusional souls. Save your time and energy for something that REALLY matters .

    Liked by 3 people

    • Alasdair Macdonald May 22, 2018 / 6:38 pm

      I think you MP has asked the question of the Minister and has got the standard Whiehallese answer.

      It reminds me of an issue more than 25 years ago when the single market in Europe was being established and it was discovered that identical makes and models of cars were costing significantly more in the UK than in Europe. This applied, too, to cars actually manufactured in the UK and exported to Europe. The answer provided was “Cars have always been, historically, more expensive in the UK.” Yes, I know they have always been higher, but WHY?????? “Because, they always have been” ……. and so on.

      They all learn this piffle at the PPE courses at Oxford and Cambridge. When you and I studied moral philosophy at places like Glasgow or Aberdeen, we learned to identify fallacies such as ‘the straw man’, etc. One of these related to giving a correct answer to a question that was not asked. Tarantula Man Williamson has done that and your MP has faithfully reported that to you.

      I think that you should ask about what the policy is with regard to the naming of vessels. As the Minister pointed out some names are simply reused when a previous vessel has been decommissioned. For example there have been several HMS Glasgow. What criteria are used – all of them please! – in deciding what names are suitable for use in RN vessels? Has there ever been a vessel with the name “HMS Edward I – The Hammer of the Scots”? Have there been vessels names HMS William Wallace or HMS Owain Glendwr or HMS John Paul Jones?

      I think that although it might be seen as mischievous or dismissed as cavilling, there is a serious point, which is about the distinction between England and UK/Britain. This identity politics is at the heart of Brexit and is a factor amongst some leavers – “We’ve got our country back?” And what is the name of that country, Mr Farage?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Alasdair Macdonald May 22, 2018 / 6:40 pm

        PS ‘Tarantula Man’ Williamson is I deploying the ad hominem fallacy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. David Howdle May 22, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    I agree with John. Save your energy.


  4. gavin May 22, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    “England expects”…………………..their history is OUR history, and our history doesn’t exist.

    How many hours on the Tudors (history, drama, docudrama etc) can Scotland’s licence fee buy? Yet not a minute of Scottish history, either pre or post the Union. My little village has historical tales that would fit right into Game of Thrones. Every village in Scotland could say the same. But it would never get any interest from the Anglo-centric BEEB.
    I think we could rebadge BBC Scotland as BBC North Briton for all the Scottish content it has.

    I see Carney is NOW saying a currency union could work. A bit too late, but a new currency for Scotland was always best.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Contrary May 22, 2018 / 9:37 pm

      Still resigned? Well, I think Alasdair’s idea is a good one, if head-on doesn’t work, think laterally. We are all resigned really though, to matters such as these – our second class citizen mind-set puts everything in order of importance, that’s why they get away with arseholery such as this, or rather, protesting over ‘minor’ things when you have met with patronising stubborn refusal to even acknowledge you may have an opinion for 300 odd years – not you personally, obviously, but it’s been beaten out of us.

      So, maybe we should be asking ourselves – for things we might normally think ‘not worth the fight’ – maybe we should care? Maybe that is how we get a bit more of our self-respect back? ‘equal partners’ in a union ,,, I must think more on this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Alasdair Macdonald May 23, 2018 / 8:49 am

        I think Contrary has a [point about things we might normally think ‘not worth the fight’.

        This is where a Gramscian perspective is insightful with his concept of hegemony. The huge bag of interlinked concepts which I am summarising as the England/Britain conflation really has to be challenged. We have seen how potent it has been and still is in the EU referendum and in the post-result trumpeting. These deeply held, unreflected-on attitudes are expressing themselves in xenophobia, jingoism, bantam-on-a-shit-heap crowing.

        When someone like Jeremy Corbyn, who has pretty strong internationalist principles, says things like ‘Scotland is part of England’ and ‘we can’t have different laws in different parts of the UK’, we get an example of how deep these things are. Pointing out such things is usually dismissed condescendingly with phrases like, “there are far more important things to be worrying about, such as NHS waiting lists and the need for a cure for cancer”.

        Of course I want people to get treatment more promptly, I would like to see more effective treatments for cancer. The dismissive response is a deployment of the ‘false dichotomy’. We can have faster and better treatments AND we can deal with the chauvinistic English/British mindset.

        Think back to the kinds of argument that were deployed against women’s suffrage, for example, and they way so many were PATRONISINGLY – literally – dismissed. It was the mindset which told Elsie Inglis, “My dear woman, go home and sit still.” But women like Elsie just continued to do what they knew was right.

        All colonisers know that military repression can only go so far: they have to wage a cultural war. All the BRITISH history we were fed in school was that cultural war in action, and the ignoring of SCOTTISH history was intentional. More contemporarily, the deportation of the Windrush Generation is an example of a cultural and racist war. Not far below the media suface is the wish to portray the Grenfell victims as ‘immigrant welfare scroungers, possibly harbouring Islamism’.

        Much as I revere his writing and dramatic insights, Shakespeare was writing, in his ‘Histories’ propaganda for the ruling classes. He was providing a ‘justification’ for their power. How often have we heard on BBC NEWS programmes quasi Johns of Gaunt quoting:

        “This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,–This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.”?

        Shakespeare had seen what happened to Christopher Marlowe and knew that these kings and their supporters were really nast bastards. Underneath all these polished Eton, Harrow, Charterhouse and Stowe exteriors, there are psychopaths far worse than
        than the Krays ever were.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. johnrobertson834 May 23, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    GRANT, Bill

    11:50 AM (4 hours ago)

    to me
    Not minded to raise the issue in the Commons.

    Regards Bill Grant.


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