It is eighteen years or so since the Soviet Empire in eastern Europe collapsed and the former slave states of the Warsaw Pact bolted for freedom. The rump of that empire lingered, taking a long time a-dying, another couple of years before it finally expired.

Its end was as humiliating as you could get for its demise was entirely down to its own mismanagement and incompetence over most of its existence. The Reds could not point to the fact of being utterly defeated on the field of battle by more powerful foes as happened to The Germans in 1945. No, this was as bad as it gets, the end of their world coming not with a bang, nor yet with a whimper, but with no more than the ever-diminishing sound of a whoopee cushion deflating.

Russia, a once great nation and erstwhile superpower must have felt this humiliation intensely. The Huntsman must not have been alone in feeling great sadness for the long-suffering Russian people, held in thrall as they had been for seventy years, at last watching as the Communists whose tyrannical, murderous but incompetent regime had brought them as low as a snake on its belly. Most of us had no animus against The Russians at all. Our beef was with the communists who were far more evil than ever Hitler and his Teutonic Acolytes ever were: the Communist butcher’s bill over seventy years makes the Holocaust look like a footnote in history (and before all you LuLu ‘holocaust denier’ bashers start frothing at the mouth, just read that properly. Any suggestion that The Huntsman is belittling the Holocaust will be met with a sharp verbal smack on the snout).

Now the Bear is back. Last year they gave a test run to the Gas weapon, briefly cutting off supplies to the West in mid-winter. Then the murder of Mr. Litvinenko came, laid at the door of an ex-KGB man. Estonia, whose only sin was to move (not destroy or desecrate) a Soviet War memorial, came under cyber attack. A Royal Navy exercise found itself being visited by Russian bear bombers which were then chased off by RAF Typhoons. A plan to defend the West by setting up a missile screen in Eastern Europe evoked a series of hostile mutterings from former KGB boss Putin. Now one of the arms limitation treaties that followed upon the demise of the Warsaw Pact was torn up by The Kremlin.

This may mean nothing. Or it may mean everything. We should not underestimate the keenness with which Russia must still feel its utter defeat in the Cold War. They still think they should have a lot of clout. The difference now is that Russia is just beginning to have a lot of money to hand which it never really did in communist days. Bit by bit it has been grabbing all the energy firms it can lay its hands on.

The Huntsman cannot yet see clearly into his crystal ball. But we are now, in defence terms, in a parlous condition. Our Navy has been run down to the status of coastal defence force, as weak as it has been in three hundred years. The Army has lost much of its conventional heavy weapons capability and would be hard pressed to fight a serious opponent, its core components having been butchered to pay for loads of ‘gender awareness officers. The RAF has been stripped to the bone. We are, all in all, as weak militarily as we have been for seventy years.

It is difficult to see the load of Quislings who are currently ruining our country doing much about this. But just remember, you read it here first. And that is, start burnishing your swords and beating your plough shares into guns today, for tomorrow is always too late.