“We are safer than at any time since the Norman conquest. Yet £45bn is spent defending Britain against fantasy enemies . . .
“There are many evils that threaten the British people at present, but I cannot think of one that absolutely demands £45bn to deter it. Soldiers, sailors and air crews are no protection against terrorists, who anyway are not that much of a threat. No country is an aggressor against the British state. No country would attack us were the government to put its troops into reserve and mothball its ships, tanks and planes. Let us get real.”
President José Figueres Ferrer of Costa Rica not only said something similar but acted on his proposal. Costa Rica disbanded its army in 1949 and is the greenest and happiest country in the world, according to a new list that ranked nations in 2009 by combining measures of their ecological footprint with the happiness of their citizens.