Ah yes, we are recognised as the only country dumb enough to buy two new aircraft carriers and completely forget to buy any planes for them. Oh, except maybe one type that hasn't finished development yet, we won't be able to afford and relies on being a strong US ally.
I would certainly agree that the indecent haste with which the UK's VTOL / STOL capability was ditched was a huge blunder that I could not understand at the time and still don't. Having said that would be Harrier still be a viable concept 10 years on from that decision? I doubt if the actual aircraft would have been, although I would like to be wrong about that.
Trying to regain some of the capability doesn't seem to be too bad a plan, although I share your concerns about the F35 and everything that it entails.