Advanced search

national service

(43 Posts)
fairwater Sun 14-Aug-11 06:59:25

would you bring back compulsory 2 years national service for boys and girls.
self discipline, self respect and respect for others, learn to live in a community, learn a trade. what do you think, would this be something to petition for.

2shoes Sun 14-Aug-11 07:34:50

why should the good kids be punished?? and what is it with petitions.

mycatoscar Sun 14-Aug-11 08:38:59

i think it should be offered as a choice for those who dont want to stay on in full time education until they are 18. Choice should be school/college/apprenticeship/vocational training/national service.

ZZZenAgain Sun 14-Aug-11 08:54:24

petitions part of the democratic process, so why not 2shoes?

I don't know about national service, I haven't experienced it so I don't honestly know what the whole thing involves for the govt and for the youth themselves. I spoke to my mum about this once and she said she thought it hadn't been a bad thing, she found the boys (of course it was just boys in those days) went away as boys and came back as men. I think that is what she said. The change being to maturity and a willingness to take responsibility and she found it a positive change.

My own father went to Singapore with the airforce and looks back in fondness on it. Have to read some people's bad experiences with it to get the whole picture (have not ever heard any) and understand why it was actually dropped in the end to decide

TotallyUtterlyBroke Sun 14-Aug-11 09:17:14

No, OP, I would not. I would, however, support the idea of young people learning a trade through an apprenticeship and think employers could be supported to offer these.

What would you do with young people on National Service? Send them into conflict zones or make them do meaningless drills? Do you have any idea how many ex-servicemen end up in jail or on the streets, by the way?

I lived for years in a country where there was National Service. Guess what? The rich could buy their way out of it and the rest spent two years feeling mainly resentful. All the young men dreaded going away and for those who had jobs it was an interruption to their career. Those who went to uni had to do it straight afterwards, rather than enter the job market. Lots of them tried to move abroad to avoid it and one or two I knew pretended to be seriously ill or homosexual in an attempt to get out of it (in a country where homosexuality is sadly not acceptable.) My exH had to do NS and described it as the biggest waste of time ever. All it did was teach him (and every other male) how to handle a gun. Not surprisingly, gun ownership in that country was very, very high.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 14-Aug-11 09:20:43

I'm with mycatoscar. Rather than national service in some military sense I think there should be a commitment that everyone age 16 -18 has got something useful to do. Whether that's further education, training, voluntary work, apprenticeship or a job it doesn't really matter. But I think there has to be something lined up to give young people a sense of purpose.

HoneyPablo Sun 14-Aug-11 09:22:36

I don't think that it should be called national service but I would be in favour of some sort of scheme that was community based that actually taught young people about contributing to society. Something along the lines of the Duke of Edinbirgh awards that is going to benefit the people taking part. School children already do work experience in year 10. It is possible to do but it is going to take a lot of organising and money to implement. So not much hope there then.

meditrina Sun 14-Aug-11 09:26:06

Remembering all those who called for the military on the streets last week (when were were no snidy statements about jail or homelessness in the exForces community - nice to see MN back on form for that), on one level you'd think this should be welcomed with open arms.

But I keep thinking of the wonderful Yes Minister episode about this - where Sir Humphrey, by asking leading questions, gets Bernard to be in favour of it one minute and against it immediately after ("Congratulations, Bernard, you're the perfect balanced sample")

sparky680 Sun 14-Aug-11 09:30:29

would you be willing to do this youreself fairwater?
exellent post Totallyutterly-i agree.

Tortington Sun 14-Aug-11 09:37:24

yes, teach warfare and how to use guns

excellent hmm

oh and why should the army have to deal with what is clearly a parenting issue? our army is well trained actually - i'm sick to death of the 'stick em in the army' argument. why should the army put up with stupid imbeciles?

PonceyMcPonce Sun 14-Aug-11 09:40:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BikeRunSki Sun 14-Aug-11 09:47:09

I have been saying for years that school leavers should have a choice of

1 - National Service
2 - Apprenticeship into a trade
3 - Funded degree in a reserved profession (with stringent controls of attendance and penalties for not doing so)

I realise that this idea may need the detail tweaking, but surely we (UK Plc) needs to address the lack of work skills coming through?

meditrina Sun 14-Aug-11 09:59:42

I've sometimes wondered if calls for community service actually mean the same as Big Society with an element of compulsion.

Presumably the calls for a military component are thinking of external discipline to foster self discipline, and provision of more men in leadership roles? (Under 18s aren't sent to operational theatres, so that's not part of the equation).

SuchProspects Sun 14-Aug-11 10:02:54

I think the emphasis on "young people" needing to learn to contribute to society is inappropriate and a way of scapegoating the young. I don't see why young people should be expected to "serve" in a capacity that older people are not. IMO the separation of children and youth from adult society is part of what makes the UK one of the least happy places for children to grow up.

As for national service in the armed forces - I don't think that's a good idea at all. We had national service and we still had violent and disaffected people coming out of it, and commanders had to cope with a lot of people in their ranks who just didn't want to be there. The only good thing about national service is the way it makes sure the real impact of war isn't concentrated in a small section of society.

Solopower Sun 14-Aug-11 10:07:57

Agree with TotallyUtterlyBroke!

The army has a lot to offer (and can really turn a young person's life round), but you can't make it compulsory. It really isn't for everyone, and would be self-defeating in the end.

I think we just have to accept that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for the problems young people are facing today, and agree with the posters who want more (real) choices to be made available for them.

What they want more than anything is jobs (+ apprenticeships, training, etc), further and higher education. That's what they've got to have if we want society to function.

TotallyUtterlyBroke Sun 14-Aug-11 10:11:56

I do agree with you, SuchProspects. As long as we treat 'the young' as separate from the rest of society, they will act as if they are separate from society...

Marjoriew Sun 14-Aug-11 10:14:12

My son is a professional soldier of 12 years. Do you seriously think he'd want to have some layabout who'd been forced into National Service watching his back in the field? I don't think so.

BooyHoo Sun 14-Aug-11 10:14:55

"i think it should be offered as a choice for those who dont want to stay on in full time education until they are 18"

it's already an option. anyone can join the army at 16. (health permitting)

no i would not petition for this. no-one is forced into 2 years as a nurse, or a paramedic or a social worker. all areas that are in high demand for staff. why this obsession with increasing army numbers as a way of disciplining people? who the hell decided that is the best wayto instill discipline in the young? the answer is no-one did. national service was compulsory for a very different reason than discipline.

littlegreenalien Sun 14-Aug-11 11:00:23

When you think about some of the problems in todays society being caused by youth with too much time on their hands, forming gangs, carrying weapons, participating in postcode/turf wars, national service doesn't seem a million miles away and just seems a way to channel those negative urges into something more positive. (Ditto re the rioters, not necessarily the same group of people as the gangs, with a seek and destroy, carry off some spoils mentality).

I am coming round to the idea that society is failing the "youth of today" individuals in much the same way as an indulgent parent fails their toddler by not establishing and enforcing boundaries at the right time in their life to set the pattern.

The major complaint seems to be "there's nothing for us, no suitable jobs, nothing but a life on benefits" so I would be in favour of national service as a compulsory option for those unable/unwilling to get into higher education or work after they leave school. Those searching for work would be able to leave national service if they found a job but would be recalled straight away if they lost their job, employers would be obliged to notify the relevant authority and if you had no recourse to any other state funding/benefits until you had completed your 2 years national service you'd have to go back into it or suffer financially.

There has to be some form of stability in people's lives throughout a tricky period of time in their late teenage years and national service could provide this. There could be a "peace corps" option that carried out community service work too. National "Service" doesn't need to be military service but it does need to be disciplined training, early starts and a full day, a rota of day shifts/weekend shifts/night shifts to the same level as a full working week and with paid holidays just like being in a real job.

Unfortunately the thing is that in order for it to have any chance of making a difference it needs to be made compulsory and have all the punishments associated with going AWOL that apply in the regular forces. It needs to be cumulative so that if you go missing/get sacked you just delay your completion date. It needs to have childcare resources allocated such that girls who get pregnant don't have a "get out of national service free" card to play and still have to complete a full 2 years with "maternity leave" not counting towards the 2 years.

Too many people "know their rights" but won't accept that rights go hand in hand with responsibilities.

Oh, and while we are on the subject of girls getting pregnant, why can't the government spend money on rewarding the relevant demographic group for not getting pregnant each year rather than paying the bill once they are pregnant. Contraception is free and a bonus payment on your birthday each year for not having got pregnant would surely be an incentive ? Even if you aleady have a child or 2, if you are identified as being in the group of girls/women likely to have more pregnancies, entirely state funded children, this could still act as an incentive.

With the benefit of hindsight, in the boom years Labour were concerned with getting re-elected so they couldn't consider implementing radical reforms and wasted the chance use the money they did have tackling the problem, instead funding plenty of other "warm, fuzzy, touchy, feely" schemes which, with some exceptions, I think we can all now see have not done anything to tackle the overall problem and I'm guessing there is no money to fund such a radical scheme as properly funded, 21st century style, UK national service.

Any solution to the UK'S current problems is going to be unpalatable to a lot of the human rights at all costs section of society but if the coalition can pull it off we could be a grateful electorate all round.

usualsuspect Sun 14-Aug-11 11:02:16

I think its a ridiculous knee jerk reaction

herbietea Sun 14-Aug-11 11:06:18

Message withdrawn

BooyHoo Sun 14-Aug-11 11:07:31

paying girls for not getting pregnant? so what do the boys who dont father children get? why is the responsibility of pregnancy once again being dropped solely on girls.

littlegreenalien Sun 14-Aug-11 11:11:36

It's far from a knee-jerk reaction, it's a possible medium to long term solution to Britains ailing society.

There is no knee-jerk quick fix solution to our current problems. no Daily Mail type, evict them or some other quick fix punishment.

We need to treat the problem which has been building up, aided and abetted by government policy, human rights issues etc for so long that there is a no longer any "stitch in time saves nine" solution. There isn't just a little hole in the fabric of society there is a damn great tear which is fraying at the edges, getting bigger and bigger.

littlegreenalien Sun 14-Aug-11 11:14:08


H'mmm, lets see now, because a boy who fathers children, except in fairly rare circumstances, isn't making the claim for them and their child to be supported by the state.

BooyHoo Sun 14-Aug-11 11:25:01

no,the girl is left to shoulder that stigma aswell isn't she? nice attitude you have there.

when are people going to start apportioning responsibility equally?

men father children. women do not become parents alone (unless of course it is sperm donation or something similar) men need to be held as accountable for their parenting choices as women are. it takes two people to make a girl a single teenage mum.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: