British complacency over defence has to end

The army is remote to most of us and investing in security is deemed unethical — but we need to wise up to new threats

The Times

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Narrated by William Hague

In the many years I represented Richmond, North Yorkshire, I lived just down the road from Catterick Garrison, Britain’s largest military base. A foreign visitor who happened to see only that part of our country would conclude that we are armed to the teeth. Fierce-looking Gurkhas stroll the streets, the shops are busy with uniformed personnel, machine-gun fire from mock battles fills the air and road signs tell the unwary to look out for tanks. Military life and the local community are intertwined. This, the visitor would think, is a country ready for anything.

But for most people, at a time when our army is the smallest since the Napoleonic era, the defence of the country is now remote from them. The majority probably know