Like all reasonably-minded people in the civilised West, I’ve been pleased to note that Ukraine’s war against Russia seems to be going rather well. 

Actual news reports on this have, admittedly, been hard to access but scenes from the football Euros in Germany do indeed suggest that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has turned a corner in his country’s struggle. 

This has been evident from the boisterous fervour displayed by tens of thousands of happy and healthy young (mainly male) Ukrainian football fans in Germany.

It’s uplifting, heart-warming and uplifting to know that so many young Ukrainian men have found the means and made the sacrifices necessary to make such a gruelling journey to watch their national team in action. 

I can only conclude from this that Ukraine’s heroic resistance against the psychopath Vladimir Putin is prevailing. 

Surely, if Ukraine was struggling to cope with the Russian invasion of their country, these thousands of fighting-fit young men would be on the frontline alongside their brave comrades in this war for freedom?

It was only in February of this year that President Zelenskyy said that around 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers had thus far been killed on the battlefield, although Western intelligence agencies estimate significantly greater losses. 

According to the House of Commons Library, Britain has pledged £12.5 billion to support Ukraine’s war effort since 2022. 

The US has spent upwards of £50bn. Perhaps, following next week’s election, whoever is in residence at Number 10 could give the Ukrainian president a call to ask him how so many young men of fighting age have appeared at the Euros? 

If it turns out that Ukraine is still struggling to preserve its sovereignty then perhaps some uncomfortable truths need to be conveyed to Mr Zelenskyy: namely that it risks harming national morale when families of dead soldiers turn on their televisions and see so many young men having a jolly time of it in Germany while so many of their fellow citizens are suffering. 

Bordering on madness
I USUALLY get rather queasy when people start talking about patriotism. Historically, patriotism is what happens when very rich and very powerful people ask very poor people to sacrifice their lives by telling them it’s a sacred mission from God. 

This is why, during Armed Forces Day yesterday, we saw pictures of King Charles sporting enough baubles and ironmongery on his military tunic to suggest that he’d been on the frontline of every war Britain has fought from Ireland to Afghanistan. 

Britain’s ruling classes have always exploited the love of ordinary people for the royals and their innate loyalty to their country to send them into this country’s wars of fortune and empire. 

However, if someone had decided to invade Scotland for some reason in the course of the last 40 years, I’d have had no hesitation in signing up. 

Defending your land against an aggressor is a lot different from waging war against poor people in Middle East countries for dubious reasons. 

Anyone found to have been travelling overseas to watch Scotland play football while the nation was in mortal peril would be told rather forcefully not to bother returning. 

Nefarious Nato?
MEANWHILE, an assortment of warmongers and nuclear apologists have been queuing up to condemn Nigel Farage and my good friend George Galloway.

It seems that this pair have struck some raw nerves by suggesting Nato’s failed diplomacy over the last 30 years had been a contributory factor in goading Putin into invading Ukraine. 

Neither of these men, nor those of us who sympathise with such analysis, have any regard for the mad Russian president. Yet simply for stating such a view risks being called a Putin lover. This is the insult favoured by politicians who pander to global arms dealers and manufacturers and artisan radicals in the western media. 

The British public have never been consulted about membership of Nato. The mutual defence clause of the Nato treaty, Article 5, commits Britain to war if any one of an unspecified number of tripwires is activated. When Nato was founded in 1949, its aims were outlined by its first secretary-general Lord Ismay: “To keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” 

All those aims have, of course, been fulfilled, the last of which was the fall of the former Soviet empire in 1991. Yet, since then, almost 20 countries have joined Nato including several in close proximity to Russia. Prior to the Russian invasion, Ukraine was virtually begging to join this sprawling Western military alliance.  

It was Margaret Thatcher who first expressed concern about provoking post-Cold War Russia in the months after the Berlin Wall came down. She felt that reunifying East and West Germany too soon would risk the ire of Russia and its people, and stoke up national resentment which could be exploited in future by a power-hungry demagogue like, well … Vladimir Putin. 

It is, of course, also reasonable to suggest that some small former Soviet republics joined Nato as a means of protecting themselves against future Russia encroachments. 
But I’m suspicious of those who spit “Putin-lover” at anyone who questions Nato’s policy in the region. 

True price of war
SCOTLAND’S Nato fetishists and midnight cowboys say that Article 5 has only been triggered once. This was in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks on the US. And I concede that this may have been appropriate in the fevered aftermath of such evil. 

Yet, in the two decades that followed, we also learned that Halliburton capitalism had been sizing up Iraq for several years. 

We also know that US and British action in the region sewed 20 years of regional and several more wars. 

The glove puppets also claim that a strong Nato has preserved peace in Europe for 80 years (once you strip out the vicious Balkan war in the 1990s). 

Peace in Europe (by and large) might well have been achieved. But the lucrative global arms industry and construction opportunities in the aftermath of wars always need to be fed. So, the West has become adept at outsourcing wars in other continents. 

In the year before Covid, Britain sold £1.3bn worth of weapons to more than half of those 48 regimes described as “not free” by US monitoring institutions. 

War is always good for business, especially if you can get other people to fight them.