Throughout human history, empires have risen and empires have declined. The Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Moguls, the Spanish, the British, and now perhaps the Americans (followed undoubtedly by the Chinese), all are subject to the natural laws of growth followed by decay, as are all living things.

The question for Great Britain is, does this mean a serious dwindling into the status of a minor power on the world stage, or can we retain some of our past illustrious standing where, until only quite recently, we have punched far above our weight?

A survey of present conditions within the country would seem to indicate that we are dangerously close to descent on a slippery slope from which it will be difficult to recover. The best indicator of a nation's health is the state of its public institutions, and where Britain is concerned this does not make for happy consideration. The Civil Service, the NHS, the police force, the education system, the armed forces, the national infrastructure, and even the great banking and financial institutions, are all under immense strain, and subject to constant criticism by the public and the media.

The NHS for instance is universally considered to be at crisis point, with medical staff on strike, waiting lists lengthening, hospital facilities crumbling, and health statistics declining. Governments of all colour seem incapable of correcting the situation, mainly because the electorate are clinging to a vision of a utopian complimentary system that isn't feasible in the modern world, but which no politician seems brave enough to challenge.

The civil service seems also to be run on outdated lines, and victim to overwhelming pressure on its bureaucratic systems. It finds it increasingly difficult to deal with the immigration problem, the processing of documents and statistics, the handling of complex tax affairs, and the general organisation of government administration.

The police force is having to deal with an ever-growing crime sheet, where apparently eighty per cent of reported crimes go unsolved, and the officers themselves are under increasing pressure and criticism. This is not helped by an overburdened court agenda and a crumbling prison system, which is understaffed, under-maintained, and ineffective at rehabilitation.

Education standards in Britain appear to be woeful compared with those of other civilised countries. Many of the young people one encounters emerge from the system with little knowledge of language, history, geography or world affairs. This is compounded by the uninspired and woke attitudes of teachers, the loss of the grammar schools which were the way to self-improvement for many underprivileged children, and the inevitable underfunding by governments. It is no wonder that middle-class parents bankrupt themselves attempting to pay for the superior teaching offered by the private sector, which is itself under constant threat from the left who are now promising to impose VAT on struggling schools.

The shrinking armed forces, once universally admired, appear to be found deficient and under-equipped nowadays when involved in actual conflict zones. Their equipment, their morale, and their self-discipline are often called into question in much-publicised incidents. To their credit, they have been at the forefront of the international effort to aid Ukraine in its plight, but this seems a rare achievement. All too often they have been the butt of American derision during battle events, which can do nothing to improve confidence or recruitment.

As to the infrastructure - whilst the government is striving manfully to meet its green targets, the state of the nation's roads, railways, power networks, sewage systems and general public institutions seems to be another indication of a land that is struggling against the odds to maintain its efficiency.

Allied with all this is the housing problem. Social housing is seriously insufficient, and new home building is way behind demand. It is reckoned that the country needs between two and four million new homes to meet all needs. A walk down London's famous Oxford Street at night reveals dozens of sleeping bodies along the pavements and in doorways. The same is evident in all major cities. A nation is surely defined by how it houses its citizens.

None of this is helped by a pessimistic media, which appears to be forever seeking out the negative, the scandalous, and the controversial, instead of promoting creative agendas for advancement.

In the end, it is always the character of its citizens that determines the health of a nation-state. Over the past couple of centuries, Britons have on the whole been able to hold their heads up high. They have led the world in industrialisation and modernisation, and they have founded the largest empire in history, which, despite the criticisms of the woke brigade, was far more benign and a force for good than most other regimes. They have led the way in the sciences, the arts, economics, and the democratic stability of constitutions. They have spread their methods, their language, and their culture across the globe. More recently, however, the aberrations of government, the struggles of the economy, the squabbles over Brexit, the questionable reactions to Covid, and the general decline of public debate have undermined the country's status in the eyes of the world.

This need not be an irreversible process. I have great faith in the basic strength of character and good nature of the vast majority of the British populace. When one spends much time in other countries one realises how comparatively safe and civilised life still is in Britain. However, what we seem to lack is visionary leadership. Politicians and Prime Ministers with the broad perspective, inspiration, and strength of character that motivated their people in the past. Towering figures such as Gladstone, Disraeli, Lloyd George, Clement Attlee, Nye Bevan, Churchill, Macmillan and Thatcher. Leaders who were not afraid to stand up and declare their vision despite the shouts and shrieks of the opposition, and to ignore the supposed advice of opinion polls.

What the British crucially need at this challenging time in their history is a prophet who understands the needs of a world that is in crisis on many fronts, and who can promote a philosophy to deal with it. Is he or she there in the current leadership, or lurking somewhere amongst today's ranks of parliamentarians?