On this day remember what it cost us in life and gold to be at the heart of Europe in 1914-18. I counted 1200 dead on my old school war memorial. In every village and hamlet in the land there is a similar monument. It was a war that we should never have got involved in. Worse it spawned the rise of Hitler and created the conditions fo WWII.
In 1914 if we had just left the French and Germans to fight it out would things have been any different to what they are today, a German dominated Europe? The UK would have been much richer and stronger than it is now as would Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the others who fought with us in 1914 in that terrible war.
What concerns me is that we are still ruled by the same public school elite that got us into WWI and were so incompetent in its exececution. We first lost in Afghanistan in 1837-40. Did we learn anything? Well the miltary brass, 100% public school, certainly did not and we have 453 bodies to prove it. I remember pointing out to one military gent who worked in Downing Street after we had gotten the Northern Alliance onside to 'defeat' the Taliban that Russians had just lost in Afghan with a ten times bigger, war hardened bettter equiped army than we had so why on earth did he think we could do better. The Taliban were not of course defeated and are now back big time. I also felt obliged to point out to him that it was the Russian Red Army that had defeated Hitler not the Brits Plus Yanks etc.
It was the same story in Iraq where the Yanks had to save the British Army surrounded in Basra. I did note in the First Gulf war with Stormin Norman running the show that his Chief of Staff was a Hearts supporter. Strange I thought. His name was Robert Johnston and he was then a Major General and retired a Lieutenant General. He came from the next road in the Edinburgh Council Estate on which I grew up. How many of our Army big wigs grew up on council estates? There were no playing fields of Eton there only the 'back green' where we played and our mothers dried the washing.
Another army Scot was Wullie Purves. I quote from his bio
Born in Kelso, Scotland, Purves attended Kelso High School before commenced training with The National Bank of Scotland (now The Royal Bank of Scotland) in 1948. This was interrupted by National Service in Korea, during which time he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) – the only National Service officer to have won this honour.
He must have been terrific to get a DSO as a National Service man from a humble background. He also kept all his men alive during the action for which he was given the DSO. That is the sort of officer the squadies respect.
Our nation cannot progress until it becomes a more meritocratic less deferential society. The rank is but the guinea's stamp the mans the gowd for a' that.
Let us not be led into further European wars against Russia in the Ukraine by a Euro elite. Like Blair they will do very well out of the conflict whilst our sons and daughters do the dying.