I’ve just realised that whether we’re on the left or the right of the political spectrum, as Brits we all share one political belief: that the country’s going to the dogs, whoever’s in charge.
The difference between the left and right is just that the British right believes it goes to the dogs slightly less rapidly under a Conservative government, and vice versa.
No-one actually believes any party, even the one they support, can or will do anything to make things better. At best we hope that our chosen party, when it screws everything up, won’t be quite as catastrophic as the other lot would have been.
The success of the expanded TA is crucial to the overall changes in the Army. The new size of the TA, increasing by 20,000 from its current 10,000 to 30,000, is supposed to counter the reduction in the regular force from 102,000 to 82,000. On paper, the total number of regulars and reservists remains the same, so that the United Kingdom maintains the same military capability while reducing costs.
Describing the Mughal system of revenue collection on page 179 of The Cambridge Economic History of India – Volume 1, c1200-1750, Tapan Raychaudhuri calls it:
“a vicious circle of coercion helping to maintain a machinery of coercion.”
Never mind the Mughals; this is as succinct and clear a description of statehood itself as I’ve ever seen. And more accurate every day as the machinery of coercion improves in sophistication and reach.
Over the past few years, we’ve heard a lot from newspapers and the like about the growing menace of “internet trolls”: nasty, ignorant cyber-bullies who hide behind the safety of their computer screens and hurl abuse and harassment at politicians, celebrities and ordinary innocent people unfortunate enough to step into their sights.