WHILST household budgets are tightening, that of the military is increasing – £2.4 billion in military aid to Ukraine already and the percentage of GDP to be spent on defence increasing.

It’s a worrying trend, as not only are the poor and vulnerable going without but the risk of escalation to war is growing.

The conflict in Ukraine is also grinding on. The war is becoming reminiscent of the First World War: soldiers bogged down fighting for metres of ground and all around towns and villages blown to bits. Millions have fled and restoring the damage will take years and at huge cost.

It’s why there needs to be a push for peace. The loss to the country is catastrophic. Moreover, risks of escalation encompassing NATO and other nations is growing. As incidents between USA and Russia increase, the risk of nuclear confrontation likewise mounts. It’s time world leaders heeded the wise words of Pope Francis and seek to deliver peace talks.

There’s no doubt that Putin is an evil man but so are many others who the UK are only too happy to befriend. The behaviour of Saudi Arabia towards its own people and in the Yemen is equally despicable; what’s happening in occupied Palestine as legally and morally wrong as Russia’s invasion. These wrongs equally require addressed but that must be through agreement and international organisations.

The 20th anniversary of the Iraq War recently passed and that showed the futility of war. A war fought on a lie and opposed by millions still reverberates with the tragedy of refugees and terrorism. International institutions were sidelined and undermined. Putin’s appalling war in Chechnya was ignored then as he was being courted by Bush and Blair.

That war has been an unmitigated disaster. Some spoke out, such as the late Robin Cook. Others stayed silent or were complicit. Their responsibility should neither be forgotten nor forgiven. We have to learn from that catastrophic folly.