Rishi Sunak has pledged that UK military spending is going to rise to 2.5 per cent of national income by 2030, with Labour agreeing to the same. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has signed off a $95 billion aid package, primarily to help Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. 

That’s a lot of money, a high price for unleashing the dogs of war. Although not yet signing himself up for the front line, the super-rich Mister Sunak believes that the country is on “a war footing".

Like George Bush back in the early 2000s, he has also talked about countering threats from "an axis of authoritarian states". Such places appear to include Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China.

The way things are going, anyone under the age of 60 in England might soon be conscripted to fight on the frontline in Crimea. That prospect sounds crazy in some ways but it is now a thing of public debate.

Back in January, General Patrick Sanders of the British Army suggested that the UK should establish "a citizen army" in the event of future open conflict between Russia and NATO.

The problem with this isn’t that idea of a citizen army. Switzerland, for example, has a form of national service that seems to benefit society. Those who want to play at being soldiers get to play at being soldiers and those who want to help society in other ways can do that.

National Service is only a problem when a country’s on “a war footing” and Britain seems to be on a permanent war footing. Through my whole lifetime, I don’t think there’s been a period of time without war.

And it feels like it’s only going to get worse rather than better. Understandably, the world is worried by Putin’s Russia. Possibly, if Ukraine gets defeated, they could push further into Europe.

But then again to quote Pope Francis, this whole situation has been made worse by NATO “barking” at Russia’s door. Maybe it was all in somebody’s interest to let slip the dogs of war in Ukraine.

War is big business. 2.5 per cent of national income would buy a lot of armoured cars, tanks and guns. It would also go a long way to stocking up the cupboards of our depleted health and education systems.

Again in January of this year, the British government invested £250 million in producing artillery shells for the Ukrainian army. And while doing that, they spoke of factories being on a war footing too.

But how much of this is just fantasy talk from a Tory government totally out of touch with everyday reality? I mean, the cost of everything nowadays is so out of this world it’s almost astronomical.

Forget the Russians for a minute. If spacemen invaded the coast of Plymouth, where King Billy once landed, they’d go back home again when they saw the price of train tickets to London.

Recently I saw a social media post about a train fare from Taunton to London. That return journey cost the person over £300. That’s for little more than two hours of travel each way, a similar amount of time to the bus journey from Enniskillen to Belfast.

These are the things that need to be fixed, not faraway conflicts. As society’s straining under the weight of bills, people don’t need wars. Sadly it seems too many politicians just don’t get this.

But our local politicians, whatever the party, should understand the dangerous realities of letting slip the dogs of war. All too quickly, these things can spiral out of control, from talk to boots on the ground.

A few years back I recall a conversation with my father before he died. That was about what it was like in the years before the boots of the British Army turned up in the Bogside on the 14th of August 1969.

I asked if ordinary people in Fermanagh back in the middle 1960s had any expectations of things ever turning out that way. And he said they didn’t, never imagining the 20-plus years of violence to come.

Ironically, which I have only just realised in writing this article, my father died suddenly on August 14, 2016, 47 years after the sudden deployment of troops and the beginning of Operation Banner.

Nobody ever thought the whole thing could escalate as it did. But sending soldiers into the mix was like putting a match to a dry forest.

Sometimes it’s just small things that start big fires. A single match or a stray cigarette can burn down a whole forest. And that’s the danger in playing with fire when it comes to psyching people up for war.

Even now, we might only be one accidental missile strike away from everything getting worse in Ukraine. If it went nuclear, we’d all be in trouble and it’d be over before we even knew it.

And, as said in one immortal line from Neil Jordan and Patrick McCabe’s ‘Butcher Boy’ film production: “It'll be a bitter day for this town if the world comes to an end.”

According to one of the few Ukrainians that I actually know, the whole thing would take seven minutes, start to finish from the button was pressed. There wouldn’t even be time to get a last round in at the bar.

Or a last tweet before the birds stopped tweeting. It’d all be done and dusted and if the blasts didn’t get us, the dust probably would. That’s not making light of a very serious situation but it is what could happen if the dogs of war win out over the doves of peace.

Maybe today it’s Russia that the West is fighting and weakening but in the near future, it might be China. And why? Because they’re a threat to America’s global supremacy? What’s so bad about that?

Wouldn’t America be better off trying to share global power equitably and peacefully? And wouldn’t Britain be better off using soft power to position itself as a broker of peace, not an assistant to America’s wars?

As I’ve said before, Britain has more to offer the world than 250 million pounds worth of artillery shells. Investing that in Education, Science and Tourism/Entertainment would be a far better way to spend the cash.

But right now it feels as if the dogs of war are chomping at the bit, awfully close to the way they chomped just before World War One.

Again to cite the great Francie Brady in The Butcher Boy: "What’s this world coming to?" 

Maybe it’s all going as mad as he was!