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Opinion

Blood-soaked rodeo

25 Apr 2024 4 minute read
People attend a St George’s Day rally on Whitehall, in Westminster, central London. Photo Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

Ben Wildsmith

There is nothing quite so unsettling as hearing the current generation of politicians projecting moral certainty as the rationale for their actions.

After everything we’ve been through over the last few decades it’s challenging to accept on face value their earnest pronouncements about protecting ‘our’ values and serving the cause of liberty.

It’s not our first rodeo; in fact, we have been trampled by the bucking bronco of their murderous dishonesty so frequently that we can barely sit upright on our horses.

So, when London and Washington announced eye-watering increases in defence spending this week, it was to populations who have every right to question the morality behind those decisions.

The UK, you will recall, has recently abandoned HS2, its only recent investment in large-scale infrastructure.

Bankruptcy

We in Wales, having contributed to it for no obvious return, watched the government write off our cash as the project was deemed unaffordable. Our councils are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and slashing services. Our taxes are the highest they have been in modern times.

We have pledged, none the less, to fund Ukraine to ‘do what it takes’ in its war with Russia. Given the near impossibility of Ukraine winning a war with Russia, there are only two potential outcomes to this.

Our money will be spent prolonging the war, at incalculable human cost to the Ukrainian people, or else NATO joins the war and the world as we know it passes into history.

The bean-counting utilitarian arguments upon which our government so blithely relies when it is denying essential services to its own people do not, seemingly, apply to its foreign policy.

At home, there is no magic money tree, everything must be ‘costed’ and if that means your granny has the heating turned down in her care home then wise-up, bucko, because we live in the real world.

When it comes to unwinnable conflicts, though, limitless resources can be found and justified on moral grounds alone. We are ‘standing with’ the Ukrainian people, right behind them until there are so few left that a grubby compromise is brokered, and our arms companies pay out their dividends.

Our proudly virtuous country is, of course, also supplying weaponry to Israel. As Rishi Sunak was explaining the inviolability of Britain’s commitment to international law, mass graves were being uncovered in the ruins of Palestinian hospitals, the bodies within having their hands tied behind their backs and bullets through the backs of their skulls.

This week, the same Rishi Sunak claimed victory for his bill to deport refugees to Rwanda, a bill that deems that country to be safe in contravention of legal findings and despite proof that it shot refugees dead only five years ago for the crime of asking for better food.

Caricature

Still, Sunak stood and spoke, his voice a caricature of dignity, his record an inventory of disgrace. Without a mandate, he presumed to speak for us, to impoverish us further in the pursuit of conflicts over which we refuse to negotiate.

Are we to believe that the traumatised residents of Gaza will somehow become more moderate as a result of what is being visited upon them, that the thousands of orphaned and homeless children there will grow up to reject the philosophy of Hamas and embrace Israel as their friend?

Is Russia going to respond to temporarily sterner Ukrainian defence by seeing the error of its ways and resolving to become a nice, cuddly social democracy?

Is the youth of Europe happy to be conscripted into an extinction-event war without our governments even exploring the possibility of a negotiated settlement?

As blood-soaked warhorses ran amok through London on Wednesday morning, the myth of British decency ran with them.

The day before, St. George’s day, the union flag was once again waved by Tommy Robinson’s drunken fools as they spat the last gobs of nationalist bile at their own police force.

Wales has never been part of that flag and I have never been so glad of it.


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Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
28 days ago

Another masterpiece from Ben ending with a line to which I add me too and it shall never be. Cymru am byth!

Rob Pountney
Rob Pountney
28 days ago

So, we abandon Ukraine to a Fascist dictatorship?
TBH the reason why Ukraine is not winning is because the powers supporting them are not doing it to see them win, but to see them ‘not lose’… That at least is beginning to change…
I’m surprised at this from Mr Wildsmith TBH…
Sacrifice Ukraine, sacrifice Moldova? how much will PPL ‘sacrifice’ before they act in their own self defence?

Riki
Riki
28 days ago
Reply to  Rob Pountney

Already is fascist! Kidnappings are routine, they even send disabled and The elderly to the front lines. We need to stop acting like we are five and thinking this about good and evil. The Ukraine government are just as brutal as anywhere else. Our leaders would do the same to us in a second if they could.

Riki
Riki
28 days ago

This is what really annoys me, I have no problem with them be patriotic Englishman and women, what I have a problem with is how they fight for that right while denying the same to the Cymric Britons (What they would call Welsh people). They are no more Brythonic than I am Japanese. The term was coined for one people and one people only, the Natives of Briton. The term survived into modern times, in turn….so too should the understanding of who it rightfully belongs to.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
27 days ago
Reply to  Riki

Cultural appropriation of the highest order. But it’s the only way they can deceive themselves that they’re not ‘immigrants’

Riki
Riki
26 days ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Spot on! You have to admit, they are very smart in how they engineered the “Welsh” to abandon the terms and titles that are rightfully theirs. Co-opt the name, then commit atrocities using that name so the natives in which those terms apply will no longer want to be seen as such. It’s high level Psychological warfare.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
27 days ago
Reply to  Riki

‘Cymric Britons’ most certainly are not ‘natives of Britain’ any more than the Anglo-Saxons or Norman settlers. Go back to the Ice Age and no-one lived in what are now these islands, and before that time, only a very few lived here, and they certainly weren’t Britons, Cymric or otherwise. No one denies us our right to celebrate ourselves in patriotic terms as any visit to a YesCymru march or even the National Stadium (or whatever it’s now called) on an international match day would confirm. Get up, stand and stop snivelling (and grow a backbone)! Celebrate who you are… Read more »

Riki
Riki
26 days ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Native implies the first to give a name to where they reside, or have resided for Millenia. And yes, the Cymric Britons are the natives as that’s where we get the terms Briton and Britain from. The Romans coined the terms for the natives they interacted with Based on the native terms for themselves. So Britain literally comes from Prydain via Latin and Greek translations based on the original Brythonic terms. This is why the Anglo uses the term Welsh and forced their language on the Britons, so they would lose the ancient terms for themselves as they no longer… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Riki
Jeff
Jeff
27 days ago

Not good. Why not ask Ukraine what they want. They are not the problem, Putin is. You know, the bloke that deployed chemical weapons in the UK and routinely murders opponents.

If trump wins, he has already told putin he can go for it. Ukraine are fighting for all of our freedoms at the moment.

CapM
CapM
27 days ago

“Is Russia going to respond to temporarily sterner Ukrainian defence by seeing the error of its ways and resolving to become a nice, cuddly social democracy?”

Are you making an argument for a permanent sterner Ukrainian defence.
If so it seems at odds with the general tone of our article.

If not are you suggesting that Ukraine and other ex Russian empire states need to ‘suck it up’ and just accept a nasty interfering expansionist tyrannical neighbour in order that our standard of living isn’t effected negatively.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
27 days ago

Spot on Article Ben!!!

blc
blc
27 days ago

Are you quite seriously implying that we should entirely abandon Ukraine and let Russia take over? I do hope you at least understand that they won’t stop with Georgia, or Ukraine, or any of the former USSR territories, not while Putin is alive. I don’t know enough about the sales to Israel to comment, but I do know that a strong defensive capability is now more important than it has ever been. We’ve been rather lulled into a false sense of security in the last decade or so, believing that smaller-scale “anti-terrorist” operations represented the totality of modern warfare and… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
27 days ago
Reply to  blc

Agree with you 100% Ukraine should have been far better supported back in 2014 when Putin first invaded, and certainly should have committed far more once it became obvious that Ukraine wasn’t just going to roll over, and crucially the supporting nations should have formulate what the strategic objective was for them, which is to state that they were for Ukraine winning. Despite Mr Wildsmith’s somewhat bizarre notion that it’s impossible for Ukraine to win, he should perhaps look to the 1905 Russo-Japanese War where Japan won, despite being a far smaller country – the Japanese, like today’s Ukrainians were… Read more »

Linda Jones
Linda Jones
27 days ago

Great article again. It seems to me we are governed by warmongers who allow people in the UK to go hungry and homeless while flashing the cash on foreign wars. Lets face it Ukraine cannot win, they have to negotiate. Russia has stated on numerous occasions they would stop all aggression if Ukraine agreed to remain neutral ie not a member of NATO or the EU. Surely that’s worth agreeing to in order to save lives.

Jeff
Jeff
27 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Putin will murder and rape his way through Ukraine, this is what he is doing now. Putin wants to make his position solid and continue his reign. He is a thug. Putin would never have stopped had Kyiv fallen as putin hoped. Now we have many nations wanting to join NATO because they are next in Putins sights. Ukraine has stopped putin before we had to. Ukraine will lose if we let them and lets hope that Trump never sees power again because he will hand Europe on a platter to putin. Believe Russia if you want, they are committing… Read more »

Rob
Rob
27 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

How exactly is EU membership a threat to Russia? There is an argument to be made about NATO but the European Union is an economic alliance, not a military one. Ireland, Cyprus Austria are not NATO members, neither was Sweden or Finland before the war. Sovereign means the right to join any organisation it wanted. Appeasement never leads to peace, as Chamberlain learned.

Riki
Riki
26 days ago
Reply to  Linda Jones

Yep, it’s amazing isn’t it. I listened recently to Dr.Mearcheimer on Pierce Morgan and it was fantastic in how he schooled him into understating how America would do nothing if Russia nuked Ukraine, he layed the framework as to why America would not risk a World war based on nuclear warfare for the sake of any country on the other side of the planet, and the only support would ever be conventional….And he’s right, what sane person would?! And this was also used to explain why America wouldn’t want Iran to have nuclear capabilities, effectively, he showed that the only… Read more »

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
27 days ago

I will condemn russia when george ‘dubya’ bush and tony blair are at the Hague, charged with war crimes.

Rob
Rob
27 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Whataboutisms does not justify Putin’s war crimes. There isn’t a single person who regularly visits this site who would disagree that Bush and Blair should be tried in the Hague. We can be equally opposed to both Western imperialism and Russian imperialism at the same time, they are not mutually exclusive.

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