Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why are they called defence forces?

There has been a lot of talk in the news about the defence budget and Gordon Brown's decisions as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Britain is spending too much on defence and trying to punch above its weight. It needs to consider the future of its defence forces.

This got me wondering about the meaning of the term 'defence'.

If you are a football fan, you'll understand defenders to be those big guys at the back, who head the ball away and gently bump into attackers sending them into balletic back-flips across the penalty area.

Attackers are the speedy ones up front who fire shots at the enemy's goal and try to defeat them.

So why are the armed forces the defence forces?

I think they really should be re-named the attack forces. They go forward, not stay back and defend. Maybe they are like the Brazilian wing backs?

When was the last time they were actually used to defend this small group of islands? Yes, it was World War II.

Unless you count defending the Falklands in 1982 or defending Northern Ireland against the IRA.

In terms of big full on wars they are definitely camped in the other teams' penalty areas.

Maybe it's because most politicians grew up in the private school system playing Rugby rather than football.

The backs are the attacking players in Rugby. That must be what confused them.