The usual excuse for not blogging: pressure of work, will not apply. The fact is that the weather in Tallinn is so sunny and pleasant that the idea of writing has become something of a chore.
However as I look across the shining waters of the Bay of Tallinn, my eyes are drawn to the low shape of HMS Illustrious, which has come alongside the Tallinn cruise ship quay. The sailors will take part in tonight's unveiling of the Freedom monument by President Ilves. Tomorrow is Victory day- the anniversary of the defeat in 1919 by the Estonians and Latvians of the Baltic German army under General von der Goltz. Tonight, just before midnight, the monument will finally be unveiled, accompanied by a premiere of a new oratorio by Urmas Sisask. The Royal Navy will be present in recognition of the role that it played in the War of Liberation as the most powerful allies of the Estonians in their struggle for freedom against both Bolsheviks and Baltic Germans.
Yet although the pride of the Royal Navy, it is hard not to notice how small Illustrious actually is. Moored next to one of the larger cruise ships, the Aircraft carrier is dwarfed by her neighbour. The fact is that these carriers were built as anti submarine warfare platforms, but from the beginning, they have been asked to take on much wider roles, including flags ships for our force in the gulf and off shore support for Afghanistan. It is quite clear that the much larger vessels of the new Queen Elizabeth class which are due to replace the Invincible class carriers after 2016 are very much overdue.
Yet there is the matter of cost- the combination of replacing the Invincible class carriers and replacing the Vanguard class Nuclear missile submarines is huge, at a time when the defence budget is already stretched by our involvement in so many active military operations and the tight conditions of the economy. It seems very clear that something must give, and given the role of the aircraft carriers in combines operations, it can not be the carriers.
The Conservatives have already suggested that by asking the question of why the British nuclear deterrent must be carried on submarines, the Liberal Democrats are "flaky on defence". Nothing could be further from the truth. The point is that our nuclear deterrent could be delivered in many different ways: by aircraft, land based missiles or by ship based missiles at a fraction of the cost of building new ballistic missile submarines. By reducing the cost of our deterrent, the Liberal Democrats are focusing on the the fact that our conventional armed forces have not been properly funded and seeking to solve it. The scandal of inadequate equipment in both Iraq and Afghanistan has cost lives - and that is unacceptable.
It is Labour and the Conservatives, by trying to ram through a new weapons programme without adequate funding, that are threatening our defence capabilities. It is time to be responsible. The two new aircraft carriers are essential.
The proposed replacement for Trident is an expensive luxury.