I don’t think I am being chauvinistic when I say that I believe the British Armed Forces are equal or better than any in the world. I can remember men telling me of the excitement they experienced in the First World War when whole batches of them went to the recruiting centres, it was like an hysteria. In the Second World War, when I was too young to join up, I got into every group connected with the war that I could, and I waited impatiently for my turn to come. The fact that the realisation is not up to the imagination never seems to filter down to the next generation.
I have always railed against the fact that our government has to get our men into the forefront of every conflict that is going at any time. Presumably it is the ‘leading the world syndrome’, a throwback from the days of the Empire. Now with a credit crunch, with young men throughout the world, having their futures made insecure, having difficulties in finding suitable work, we have an opportunity to build, under the auspices of the United Nations, an International Legion, which is supported financially by the wealthier nations, and can go to hotspots like so many areas in Africa and the rest of the world, putting down corrupt governments, for the sake of their people, tackling terrorism, fighting drug trafficking – need I list more? In fact, upholding reason, compassion and the rule of law. If they’re not fighting, they can be called upon to help with any emergency throughout the world.
One thing I would not want to see is conscription, as psychologically it is counter-productive in the long run. I firmly believe they would have an opportunity of selecting the very best candidates, because the supply, at this time, will more than outstrip the demand. Nations across the world would then be more closely tied in with the United Nations, which has developed from its original glittering ideal, into a weak talking shop, and perhaps, thereby, giving it more backbone.