The armed forces of the UK are in a state of prolonged, enforced contraction, and at a time when we are still embroiled in the pointless horror that is Afghanistan. And, as another general was kind enough to point out, we might ‘have to get involved’ in Syria, as well.
Meanwhile, the blinkered idiots that run this country want to spend the eye boggling, totally incomprehensible sum of forty-five billion pounds to upgrade Trident; a completely pointless weapons system that can neither be condoned, justified or afforded. But that won’t stop them trying.
Trident owes it’s existence to the Cold War, and the old NATO- Warsaw pact confrontation in those years that followed the Second World War. But the collapse of the Communist system pulled the rug out from under the Emperor’s feet; and he was truly seen to be wearing no clothes.
So who are all these shiny, supremely superfluous missiles aimed to protect us against? China? A supposedly resurgent Russia? Iran? Don’t make me laugh.
They keep calling Trident ‘a deterrent’. Just like they once called hanging a deterrent, even when it plainly was not. Does anyone honestly think our handful of missiles would deter someone as calculating and callous as Vladimir Putin, if he really decided to go for broke?
Do you really think that the Mad Meerkat of Moscow would give a figs’ leaf if we nuked two or three of his cities? He’d probably consider it as collateral damage, nothing more. Putin is a black hole of morality; much like our own, dear, political elite.
So why the mania to cling to something that is as obscene as Trident, both in terms of cost and concept? Simple. It’s all about us keeping up with the big boys; maintaining our place on the world stage.
Most of all, it’s about maintaining our place at the United Nations Security Council. The grand poo-bah of all talking shops; the holy of holies in terms of empty, posturing rhetoric.
The core of the UNSC is comprised of the five victorious powers from the Second World War, America, Britain, China, France, and Russia. It was founded in 1946, and has been the very core of the entire United Nations ever since, right up to this day.
Now, all the four other members of the big boy’s club; they have nukes. So, therefore, to stay at that top table- to maintain prestige, influence and our global reach- we have to have nukes. Once it was battleships; but that’s all very 1930’s now. We don’t talk about that any more.
It sounds mad; it is mad. Every bit as mad as the arms race that provoked the Great War and, by default, World War Two. Yet our leaders appear to have learned nothing. And, as it is always the ordinary people who pay the human price for the folly and failures of those entrusted with our governance and safety, we are perfectly entitled to ask: why?
You have to consider the peculiar psyche of generations of politicians and generals in this country; the people who really do believe that ‘Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton’.
One lot after another of them grew up in a system of public schools such as Eton, which conditioned them for a lifetime of duty- plus a surfeit of privilege- in running and administering an Empire on which the sun would never set. Only it did.
But the mindset of these people- the belief that they were born to rule- remains intact. It explains why we have turned out generation after generation of unscrupulous, self indulgent politicians and blithe, bone- headed military men who believe that they can shape the world according to their blueprint. And it largely explains why our scarred, sacrificial history keeps repeating itself. For these people, the aphrodisiac of power remains the one constant goal. They think they know better; therefore they deserve to dictate the course of the country as a whole. It’s a fatal cocktail, and it has had hideous consequences for centuries.
If the Empire has gone- hey, we’ve still got the bomb. Mess with us at your peril, Johnny Foreigner….
The ordered, unavoidable contraction of the post war Empire must have seemed like a waking nightmare to these nostalgic heirs of Rhodes, Disraeli and General Gordon. The loss of power and influence must have felt like a personal slap. So you can bet your last penny that they are not going to let another ounce of power slip from their cold, dead hands if they can possibly help it. Trident is one of their last emotional crutches; a snip at a mere forty five billion pounds. Doctor Strangelove really is still doing the rounds.
Meanwhile, the poor sodding squaddies are still being expected to fight and die in the unwinnable, entirely pointless quagmire of Afghanistan. Like the ghastly Blair before him, Cameron likes to strut like a toy soldier on the world stage; a buffoonish posture that has more in common with Captain Mainwaring than Bernard Law Montgomery.
This should not be such a surprise. Blair,after all, is Cameron’s idol; the man he refers to as ‘the master’.
Our continued presence in Afghanistan serves nothing other than to send home more troops in body bags. Our forces know they are fighting an unwinnable war and, more to the point, so do the Taliban. Time is on their side, and so is history. Another prime example of our leaders learning nothing from our Imperial past.
You don’t have to be a genius to realise what all of this must do for the troops that are still out there, fighting and dying in that fearful, fly blown hell hole. And, also knowing that even as they fight and die for the failure of our politicians, those self same politicians are now attacking their own families at home, via a string of savage, punitive cuts without equal in British history. And, being professionals, confined within the strict and unyielding straitjacket of military discipline, they cannot speak out.
And, of course, the politicians know this, The sullen silence is filled by the sounds of Iain Duncan Smith driving tanks across the lawn of any unarmed opposition he can sniff out.
Let’s be clear; government after government- of all complexions- have all failed, abused and squandered the courage, commitment and sense of duty instilled in our armed forces. Every November 11th, Cameron, Milliband and Clegg walk soberly to the Cenotaph, lay wreaths, and bow their heads.
As well they should. They should bow in shame.
Shame for their cowardly inability to end the pointless war; shame for using our blood to prop up a brutal, corrupt, self serving, misogynist government that will likely collapse like a house of cards the moment we are gone. Yet they maintain the fallacy that the blood and the sacrifice of our young is both precious and ‘necessary’.
For whom, exactly? Karzai? Cameron? Both?
Then you get the glib, verbal platitudes that our soldiers die for ‘Queen and Country’. And it largely goes unchallenged.
Firstly, the Queen never, ever asks soldiers to go to war in her name. Indeed, she has NO CONSTITUTIONAL POWER to do so. As a mother and grandmother herself- one who has lived through more wars than many of us- I’m pretty sure the idea of asking young men and women to die in her name would fill her with the deepest horror imaginable.
No. Our governments send our young off to war. Just as they always have. ‘Queen and Country’ is like a comfort blanket. Or, as I like to call it, a smoke screen.
I mean, how else are we supposed to showcase our armaments industry to the world, for God’s sake? The sums involved in arming and supplying every nasty little dictator that buys our death dealing expertise contribute massively to the UK economy.
Truth be told, neither civil or military authorities have ever shown scant care or respect for our armed forces, or their welfare. One word; Deepcut. Five suspicious military deaths. Still no inquiry. Still no plausible explanations. Still five grieving families.
More? Look at the cases of the 301- yes, 301- soldiers shot as deserters during the Great War. Most suffering from what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, They were shot after farcical trials; their names not added to memorials to the fallen. The MOD had to be dragged to the pulpit to offer a posthumous pardon to these men- shot ‘as examples to the others’- almost a century later. It resisted all the way, kicking and screaming to the very end. Well, it wouldn’t do to have the facts laying bare the callous, brutal stupidity of their predecessors from Sandhurst, would it?
And, by way of a salient point; those nasty, evil Germans- the people we were fighting- shot 48 men for desertion during the same conflict. The German army was far bigger than ours. And that figure of 48 accounts for both the soldiers fighting in the west, as well as against the Russian Tsarist forces.
I hope some of this gives you pause for thought. God knows it should. As for our ‘leaders’- they are God’s right hand.
I just hope God eventually smacks them across the face with the left one. Over and out.