YESTERDAY, a bill backed by Tory MP Philip Hollobone had its second reading in Parliament, calling for the return of National Service.
Whilst it may have thrived at the time of the First and Second World Wars, I believe that the education system today means that the rejuvenation of National Service would be irrational, unpopular and unproductive.
When I hear the words National Service, I think of conscription. After all, throughout the 30s, 40s and 1950s that’s essentially what it was.
Males between the ages of 18 and 26 could be told to report to a military base and then shipped away within a week.
Whether building bridges on a Royal Engineer course in Cyprus, or providing nursing support to troops in Korea, participants could expect to have their lives brought to a stop at any time.
If National Service was to return in 2014, it’s not difficult to see why it would take a rather different shape.
Considering the huge loss of life among young soldiers during the 20th century, a replication of the original national service would be scandalous, and this is something that Hollobone of course is aware of.
As a result he has instead drawn up plans of service to enhance the ‘self respect, personal reliance, discipline and behaviour’ of 18 to 26-year-olds.
He claims that the program will run with the NHS, yet admits that military service will still be involved.
If this plan was to go ahead, it might mean that education would be greatly affected.
Having to take two years out of studying, at a time when I would be preparing for further exams, would mean that years of work would need to be re-learned.
The original National Service aimed to supply men with jobs by learning a trade, with more teenagers going to university than taking jobs, this would now be aimless. National Service is irrelevant for the 21st century.
As a result of its downfalls, it’s extremely unlikely that this bill will be passed, yet there certainly is room for MP Hollobone’s intentions.
Young people should be taught respect and cooking skills, and I believe that we live in an intolerant society. But there is no need for National Service. These types of schemes were effective 80 years ago, not today. There is no question that we could benefit from money management advice and the other courses offered in the Bill, yet offering it in this manner just isn’t the way forward.
Any plan would need to stripped of any military connotations and added to the curriculum at secondary education, where it could be effective, rather than simply disruptive.
If MP Hollobone is so keen on teaching teenagers manners and life skills, then this would surely be a more appropriate course of action.
A career information fair for anyone under 25 will be held at Dorchester’s Corn Exchange on Thursday, April 10 from 2pm until 5pm. You will be able to get advice on education, employment, health and housing.