THE name Wagner now means more than a stirring opera. Thanks to David Pratt (We should not underestimate the importance of crisis in Sudan), Wednesday’s National once again focuses on issues beyond the petty political squabbles that fill the Tory-run tabloids. Private armies such as the Wagner Group, currently on hire to Putin, require financing.

READ MORE: Chris Law: Now's the time to work with the world on independence

As is the case in Sudan, with the aid of corrupt political leaders, the plundering of vital mineral resources upon which today’s modern society depends is one favoured means. For the moment most of the world’s armies are under sane democratic control and financed by willing taxpayers. There have been exceptions – not all UK taxpayers supported Blair’s Iraq war.

The world’s wealth is circling into fewer hands. How long before they graduate from bodyguards to hiring a private army to protect their interests?

Heartily sick of the Union Jack, most of the world is on our side. The time is ripe, let democracy prevail.

Iain R Thomson