Today’s Sunday Telegraph, the top badger’s Sunday newspaper, publishes an article about the hazards posed to our servicemen and women overseas by unregulated wildlife. Particularly, the article mentioned a gratuitous assault on an officer in the Parachute Regiment, 3rd Battalion, by an elephant during exercises (by the Parachute Regiment) in Kenya.
No doubt there are those who will claim that the elephant was in some way ‘startled’, or ‘defending its bananas’ or perhaps in some way confused by the mating impulse. Those of us with a functioning memory and ‘badger smarts’ will, however, recall that it is not so very long ago that elephants roamed freely across Europe, goring people at will; and that it was only due to the determination and pluck of men and women (and badgers) of those times, armed with the most rudimentary anti-elephant ordnance, that these trunked menaces were driven from the continent.
Today, we should remember these forbears of ours – this truly greatest, pachyderm-despatching generation. And we must also prepare ourselves to repeat their effort and their sacrifice. Today, the elephants (African elephants, at any rate) are still largely confined to Africa. But as for tomorrow? There can be no guarantees. If we wish to live in an England where it is safe for members of the Parachute Regiment, of whichever battalion, to exercise without elephantine mishap, we must ensure they have an environment in which it is safe to do so. Security begins with preparation. It is time to arm the badgers.