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Comments

loyal_tory

"Few other Conservative politicians could propose such a programme without being accused of being old-fashioned."

But do we want them to?

James Hellyer

Of course, this is the "big idea" that had Cameron branded as an intellectual lightweight after he was asked about it at a meal with regional political correspondents before the Conference. They were horrified that even the most basic points, such as whether it would be compulsory, hadn't even been thought through.

Rob

Oh my god, does anyone else think this reeks of Blair style Citizenship, this sounds like a completely unworkable joke.

I have long suspected that Cameron is an old fashioned posh lad with few real radical ideas. This suggests very strongly my fears are true. Sending out messages like this will destroy any chance the party has of winning over the young vote. I seriously cant believe what I have just read, I fear for the future of the party now!

James Hellyer

It's also worth noting that national service worked as Cameron described by taking and mixing people from different parts of the country. How will his charity programme do this? Surely people would serve in their locality (and not mix any more than before), or is he proposing some form of expensive residential programme? If he is, who's going to pay for it?

michael

It sounds like a great idea - but school leavers would need to be paid to do it. Many sixth form leavers take a year out before going to university - a great opportunity for altruistic mind broadening activity, but they can often afford to take time out.

Many school leavers are looking to earn money because they need to.

a-tracy

The teenagers that I know are working at 16 in stores like Tesco and Argos in order to put money aside to help fund their progress through college and university and reduce the burden on their parents.

My fear is that you would have the children from wealthy families having a blast in Papua New Guinea with groups like Raleigh International whilst the poorer children end up cleaning up sick off the streets in their local binge drinking areas.

wasp

I think this should be linked to charity programmes abroad.

It could then be a much more worthwile way for middle class kids to spend a gap year abroad than just taking recreational drugs on a Thai beach.

James Hellyer

"but school leavers would need to be paid to do it."

Is that the sound of the state rolling out its frontiers?

And how does compulsion and remuneration square with the voluntary nature of voluntary work?

malcolm thomas

The problem will be how to find people to staff it all. The amount of child protecting legislation makes it a complete nightmare for anyone held to be responsible.

There are fewer and fewer willing to be head teachers. It's coming to the point where employers are sick of being sued for trivial infringements of workers' rights. If they want society to start working again, there'll have to destroy wholesale all the red tape - and inside the EU that just ain't goin a happen.

Youth unemployment is skyrocketing with the minimum wage. Now they want to lose a few into national service. This is a big government agenda, but what the hell, it might work.

Give it a go, and see.

Rick

http://www.amitai-notes.com/blog/

Dr. Amitai Etzioni is the man that inspired Blair. As I recall it was Singapore where Blair gave his speech about The Stakeholder Society, and of course Will Hutton and Anthony Giddings will be only too willing to join David Cameron in refining his policies...........


“It seems like it’s deja vu all over again,”

James Hellyer

"It could then be a much more worthwile way for middle class kids to spend a gap year abroad than just taking recreational drugs on a Thai beach."

Isn't this the sort of negative stereotype that Cameron would tell you off for using? Not all middle class kids waste their gap year.

michael

You're right james, it's a tricky one! It's either got to be so attractive that most people will volunteer for it or you make it compulsory so that everyone does it and benefits from the shared experience.

The ends seem more important than Conservative means to me on this one. ie young people benefit from a shared experience and one which contributes to the good of society and the economic benefit of local communities.

i think we should be told

Perhaps this proposal is to help those who will be paying tuition fees the opportunity to learn some new skills to help them pay off their loans? Or maybe it is an attempt to provide them with something tangible in their lives since they won't be getting their taxes cut to help them save up for the deposit on a home or paying off student debts (assuming they lack a parental trust fund)? Better still, maybe it is an altruistic attempt to enable the less fortunate to enjoy the bonding and mind-broadening experiences that others have enjoyed in expensive globe-trotting trips paid for by parents who have already dropped close to a quarter of a million pounds on their child's education?

Rick

It's also worth noting that national service worked as Cameron described by taking and mixing people from different parts of the country

Obviously didn't appeal to Michael Heseltine who dropped out pretty quickly......but still wears the tie !

wasp

Most kids pay for their own gap years by working for the first part of the year.

And they don't all spend the time taking drugs.

And James Hellyer I was referring to 'The Beach' by Alex Garland which was a cult hit with gap year kids when I was 18.

James Hellyer

"And James Hellyer I was referring to 'The Beach' by Alex Garland which was a cult hit with gap year kids when I was 18."

Cameron supporter gets shirty over lazy stereotyping scandal!

Seriously, I don't see how comments like yours are any different than the binge drinking comments Davis made, about which there was such a brouhaha on this blog!

Fall In

Surely anyone who read the depressing but important article in the Sunday Times about young people on council estates (where was the link, Ed?) wouldn't be so quick to dismiss this idea.

Jack Stone

Nowadays far too many youngsters neither respect themselves or there fellow citizens or believe that with the benefits society gives them come obligations and responsibilites.
I think David Cameron`s idea is excellent and that it will help build self respect and confidence in youngsters and build in them a feeling that they have a obligation and reponsibility not just to themselves but to there fellow citzen.
It doesn`t surprise me that the usual suspects are again first to critise DC. Frankly I think those above will attack him for whatever he says or does.
I suspect that even if DC leads the party to victory at the next election they will still have something to moan about.

James - the difference is wasp is a Cameron supporter. davis is a leadership candidate.

Samuel Coates

It is sketchy in detail, but I couldn't support this notion more.
Teenagers need these life experiences, it will imbue them with a greater sense of responsibility and humility.
I'm particularly keen on the virtues of the army in developing teenagers - though a national service would have to be in a way that didn't dilute the professionalism of the army

This proposal will certainly be about as popular as making a last ditch attempt to keep the pubs closed at 11.

I suppose that trust funds, binge drinking and being able to afford community service instead of getting a job are actually related, however inconsistent supporting licensing reform and supporting community service may appear at first blush.

James Hellyer

"James - the difference is wasp is a Cameron supporter. davis is a leadership candidate."

But he was one of the ones who made a fuss. Just noting the double standards, that's all.

"Nowadays far too many youngsters neither respect themselves or there (their?) fellow citizens or believe that with the benefits society gives them come obligations and responsibilites."

Quite right. Instead of compulsory community service, I think we should go for compulsory membership of the Bullingdon Club and White's for every young person. That way we can extend the obligations and responsibilities of the few to the many. It would enable young people to mix with people from different backgrounds "and to learn about the realities of life in different communities".

James Hellyer

"It's either got to be so attractive that most people will volunteer for it or you make it compulsory so that everyone does it and benefits from the shared experience."

There are much easier, cheaper and better fixes for our society than co-opting charities and conscripting our youths. Perhaps addressing the current form of multi-culturalism, and broadening the scope of "citizenship" classes would be a good start.

Of course, the type of person tjhis would most benefit ar those like David Cameron who were sheltered from the realities of life in this country.

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