Halt! Who goes there?

I missed National Service by 2 years, and very glad I was of the fact. Most people who served their 2 years didn't actually resent it too much and probably gained a lot from it. Talking to people at the Farmers Market on Saturday in Maidenhead, nearly 50% volunteered that it would be a good idea to bring it back, without me prompting them.

It's not on the agenda of any of the main political parties, so far as I know, and the military would certainly need more funds if a form of National Service were reintroduced. Many European Countries have NS, and in some countries the soldiers have to turn up for an annual camp and more re-training. I am not sure what happens to the girls, but presumably what is good for the gander is now good for the goose.

The reason why people thought that a return to National Service would be good was a general feeling of a lack of discipline in young people.

Personally, I would rather try seeing if a greater immediacy of the consequences of your actions, together with the provision of more overnight cells in police stations for disorderly people, and the removal of obstacles to employment like the minimum wage and NI would not achieve a more responsible society. But if it didn't work, National Service is a further option that should not be ignored.

However, my view is that the availability of a form of military training for all below a certain age would be most beneficial. Of course, there is availability now in the form of the Cadet Corps, The TA and similar organisations. But they should be extended to what we have called a National Youth Service (a form of Peace Corps), providing training, structure and occupation for volunteers and for those with repeated bad behaviour, as an alternative to community orders and lower tariff prison sentences.

Then we would return to the freedom to walk down our streets without fear of a drunks or brazen aggression. And the training and self-discipline that young people received from the Service would provide skills that could be carried to civy street.


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