The question that no politicians, academics or leaders in Britain seem to be addressing with any urgency. The answer to which many from previous generations, having paid such a high price, understood clearly. Alas, that clarity has all but disappeared in our present assemblage of leaders because they are consumed with greed. Greed for power, greed for influence, greed for wealth. All greed for the wrong reasons. And sadly, they are too afraid even to raise the question, let alone and answer it, because they know it will have a heavy price tag. Of course, the question is - is maintaining a strong, well equipped, highly trained Armed Force a cost worth paying for?
The answer, in my view, is an emphatic yes. But so many people alive today have little or no perspective or understanding of our Armed Forces and conflict.
We now live in a world where political correctness has become ridiculous and threatens our democracy, freedom, and way of life. The very idea that there are people in our society who are so thin-skinned that they object to being referred to as Miss or Sir; that grown-up people are actually arguing about their gender and which lavatory they should use. And there are even some people who think it is essential that they have the right to be gender-neutral. This whole PC issue has reached absurdity. I am not anti-gay, racist, trans-gender or agest - or anything else - except anti stupidity. I believe individuals should be allowed to live as they please, providing they do no harm to others.
But talk about Human Rights gone crazy. Do these "PC" self-indulgent feckless people not realise that there are others in our world who have real and genuine reasons to raise the spectre of "human rights"? In my view, the PC lot don't have any genuine rights to complain whatsoever. Much of what they say only deserves ridicule. I am all for sensitivity but within limits.
Enough already. Politeness, courtesy and good manners are essential for a civilised society (something that the incumbent Primeminister of Jamaica has apparently yet to learn) but trying to cater to every whim of the faint-of-heart is a cul-de-sac and will lead us to nowhere we want to go.
The British Armed Forces are something to be proud of and represent the very best of all the attributes that are the foundation of a strong society.
I have met and talked to many people who did their National Service. A very few of them admitted they did not want to do it initially, but I never met anyone who did National Service and wished they hadn't.
Successive Governments have reduced and weakened the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom to a nearly unsustainable level. It is well beyond time to reverse this trend, and in view of what is taking place in Eastern Europe - it is now urgent.
There is not some mythical money tree secreted in the depths of 11 Downing Street, as so many socialists seem to believe. Every penny has to be earned. And when you borrow - it costs. And the cost of borrowing is going up - rapidly. So yes - there is a price that has to be paid.
The government decides how much to spend and on what. I listened to a Ukrainian lady two weeks ago, and she encapsulated it perfectly: "Two weeks ago, she said, all I wanted was a new iPhone and a new pair of trainers. Now all I want is to be safe, warm and not starving."
We who live in the UK take so much for granted - but safety has a cost. If we as a nation are not prepared to pay that cost; if we continue to bury our heads in the sand and think we can go on having our cake and eat it - we will get a very rude awakening - and then it will be too late.
Just as you should fix the roof when the sun is shining - we should strengthen our Armed Forces while we can - so any potential aggressor will know; in war - fear the British.
I am not suggesting an arms-race - not by any means. But we need to double what we spend on our Armed Forces. That is both moderate and sensible - it is our national insurance that we need to pay to be secure and safe. And we, in the meantime, also need to continue to at least support Ukraine with more military hard-where, including tanks, mobile artillery, air defence systems and fighter jets.
Other leaders around the world need to know - you might be able to beat the UK in armed conflict, but the price of trying will be much higher than anyone would want to pay. This is not about being a warmonger. It is about defending democracy, freedom and honesty - our way of life and being a solid and reliable ally to those like-minded nations.
So instead of being indolent, precious and fearful, we need to reawaken our Bull-Dog spirit and set an example for those who value democracy, honesty and freedom. Nothing is free in this world - everything has a cost. There is a price to pay, which while high, is much lower than the consequences of not paying it - we must wake up, smell the coffee, and recognise that fact. Action this day.
Rick - Suffolk - UK - 29th March - 2022