THE recent TCW article by Piers Shepherd about the 1982 Falklands campaign prompted me to develop a theme that had been taking shape in my mind. When Argentina invaded the islands I was an instructor flying Hawker Hunters at the RAF’s Tactical Weapons Unit at RAF Brawdy on the Pembrokeshire coast. Having myself been an operational Harrier pilot in the 1970s I was listed among the former Harrier men who would be ‘refreshed’ to ensure a supply of replacement pilots in the event of a prolonged campaign. The Argentinian forces surrendered and hostilities ceased before I was needed.
In February 1933 a debate took place at the Oxford Union on the motion that ‘This House will under no circumstances fight for its King and Country’. The motion was carried by 275 votes to 153, though it is worth noting that six years after the debate 2,600 Oxford students did answer the call to arms.
What of today, at the start of 2023? Would many fight and risk death, dismemberment and psychological trauma for King and Country? Would I, a former serving officer, do so? Leaving aside that I am now well beyond military age, the question is a troublesome one. The United Kingdom of 2023 is not the United Kingdom of 1969 which as a young man I pledged to serve.
It is often remarked that if the generations who fought in either or both world wars could have known the future of their country they would not have done so. To that we could add: if they could have known what the successive generations of post-war politicians would do to their children’s and grandchildren’s patrimony they would not have voted Labour in 1945. That was when the rot started and the United Kingdom acquired a seemingly permanent left-wing establishment which was held in check only during the interlude when Margaret Thatcher gripped the reins.
We are told that we are a multicultural country now and that it is a natural, deserved consequence of having been colonisers. We are a country in which all cultures are ‘celebrated’ except the dominant English one while it’s fine to be Scottish, or Welsh, or Irish. Our major institutions have undergone a crisis of confidence and must be ‘decolonised’, whatever that means, and our history must be rewritten to reflect what an awful people we are, particularly with reference to the Atlantic slave trade and colonialism.
We suffer a political class of an abysmally low standard, selected for their willingness to toe a party line rather than ability to think for themselves. There are exceptions but they are few. Many cannot tell you what a woman is and some cannot do simple arithmetic, let alone understand the nuances of climate science. They promise to ‘Build Back Better’ yet fail in their first duty to the defend the nation, refusing to control who enters, happy to run down the country’s defences, yet they posture in a war in a deeply corrupt country which has betrayed any notion of freedom, and which is none of our business. Furthermore they are sacrificing freedom for identity-politics ideology and intolerance at home.
The pinnacle of this corruption is the (deluded) King. The one who, while he has done much that is good, believes wholeheartedly in the climate fraud, helped to launch the Great Reset and who wishes to defend all faiths regardless of how cruel, fascistic and backward a certain one may be.
Lest we think that our Armed Forces, currently being cheered for their manning (and womanning) of the borders and ambulances, are all the paragons they are made out to be, a cursory search of the headlines in recent times shows a lamentable fall from grace of too many in the senior commissioned ranks which undermines the moral integrity, authority and respect essential in their command structures.
As for the people: look around any town today and you’ll see a largely scruffy bunch, minds numbed by social media and popular entertainment, seemingly demoralised, ill-disciplined and work-shy. Many are overweight and would not pass a basic military fitness test. Ask them a few simple questions about the geography and history of our islands and most would not know the answers. Some because they don’t care, others because they were not taught in the first place. They have no feeling for the land and the stories it can tell.
If I spoke openly about a belief in real conservative values I would attract vilification and hatred from many of them, perhaps even the majority. Why would I fight for them?
No. I would NOT fight for King and Country.
Yet there exists still another country. One of family, friendship, kith and kin. The country of ‘somewheres’ rather than ‘anywheres’. One of the ‘we’ referred to by Sir Roger Scruton which newcomers are welcome to join if they are willing to fit in. One rooted in the landscapes of these islands for well over a thousand years. One whose people fought and died to create a nation of patriotic free men and women under the Common Law. That one is worth fighting for.