« Widdecombe and the liberal tyranny | Main | Cameron should be above dissing his internal critics »


Excellent idea to give the young a sense of community and belonging. As citizen service is not complusary participation ought to be seen as a big statement on a young persons CV. Employers should recognise the citizen service and even ask on application forms and in interviews "Did you complete citizen servive?" Let the award carry weight.

Hopefully all future employers will ask "Did you complete citizen service?" The award should carry weight and be seen as an essential part of a persons CV.

Social enginering. Still Mr Cameron "feels very passionately about this", so that's alright then. Remarkable how this uncosted scheme gains ready approval, whilst tax cuts cannot be discussed.

This might be a decent idea but I am worried that 6 weeks is probably too short to make any real difference. If it was an option during school holidays from an earlier age culminating in a 6 week course, then it really could make a difference.

I'd have loved to get involved in something like this in the long summer break between GCSEs and 6th form (not the military aspect obv)

My slight concern is whether it would attract those who would otherwise be out commiting crime/anti social behaviour.

Cornstock, I think thats why its important that the citizens service award is seen as essential to a young persons CV. Questions like "Why did you not do citizens service?" Should be standard at all job/college interviews. Imagine job adverts that say 'Must have completed 'citizen's service' etc. If the award is seen as carrying a lot of importance it will make the scheme work in the way it should.

Will it be restricted to that summer between High School and Summer? There could be value in allowing anyone between particular ages say 16-18 (i.e pre-university) to take part in the service.

I of course meant "between High School and Sixth Form"

If calling for a short (too short if anything) voluntary course that encourages teens to broaden their perspectives, get involved in voluntary work, and feel a greater sense of citizenship is social engineering... then I'm proud to be called a social engineer!

Besides, the idea is backed by today's Page 3 girl (I'm told).

I think it will be taken up by middle class children, encouraged by their parents to improve their CV's. I do not think it will attract those who would most benefit from it.

Its not perfect - but it is a start. If we do nothing - try nothing - then we are as much to blame for the breakdown in society as Gordon and Tony!

And this distinguishes itself from a nationalised alternative to the Duke of Edinburgh awards how?

Aren't we all meant to have left these kind nationalised, government schemes in the past? Especially when there are perfectly good civil society-run alternatives? What next, a nationalised version of the Boy Scouts or Girl Guides?

It may be nationally-coordinated by government, JE, but my understanding is that the six week schemes will largely be delivered by civil society organisations.

This is a superb idea and very much to be encouraged!

with ref to John Coles @9.11 is the Conservative Party nothing more to you than a means to achieving tax cuts??

There is an idea which myself and other right of centre, pro-capitalists believe in called "investment". Ie spend some money now and achieve the returns later. This is how we should differentiate ourselves from Labour, not just by being cheaper in the short term, but by improving things AND being cheaper in the long term. I think an idea such as this is a good example of this.

If a return to National Service is out of the question, what about expanding the role of cadet forces both in and out of schools? This could be coupled with an expansion of our reserve forces.

What employers would mostly like to see is not extra bits on the CV but school-leavers who can read, write and do basic maths. They would also like to see school leavers who are polite, punctual, know how to work, dress appropriately and generally know how to behave in the big bad world as opposed to how to behave when they go clubbing with their mates. Will those six-week schemes achieve that?

Btw, Editor, what is a civil society organisation? How many people does it employ, what sort of offices must it have, how much bumf does it produce? In short, how much does it cost us?

Editor, hopefully young people will be fielded into the programme after coming out of school.

Its a pity that this idea has been on the backburner for such a long time but onward we move. There are some problems here, such as the length of it (six weeks is fairly short) and the criticism that its not really much different from the Duke of Edinburgh is very valid. With it being voluntary, Im not entirely sure that the children we will want to get to attend (those most likely to turn to crime) will be the ones who actually turn up. Itll be those who are likely to be responsible adults anyway who will attend.

James Maskell, its a bit difficult to see how it could be extended beyond the six week summer period as young people have to get on with their lives once college starts. It might be an idea to have something running locally that could extend the citizens service into the evenings or weekends for those that want it.

It would have to be evening/weekends obviously.

I think you might be right James Maskell.

Reading between the lines I get the impression it'll be aimed at students in between GCSEs and Sixth Form. Surely it ought to be targeted at those dropping out of education at 16 and going into dead end jobs, or those who've effectively given up on education even earlier. They are the ones who actually need this kind of thing.

I think the concept behind it is excellent but it should not be at the expense of the voluntary organisations and schemes already existing. They would all look good on anyone's CV.

Six weeks however is not really long enough but perhaps can be viewed as a bare minimum leading to links to other out of school/college activities.

Conceptually excellent, but probably totally unworkable.

Unlikely to be taken up by those who most need discipline and a sense of civic persepctive.

The citizenship curriculum in schools has become a bit of a joke and this seems a bit of an extension to that.

As an employer I've never taken note of someone's involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh awards. I have considered there qualifications, experience, willingness to work for the company. In fact some of the worst potential employees I've met are those who have done VSO, Duke of Edinburgh or some other 'community work'.

A good idea, but HOW is the scheme going to affect 'racial mixing'? Not if the scheme is going to be 'national', but 'locally' centered ( ie) people in Hull will not be mixing with people from Brixton). Anything that aims to create a feeling of 'national' identity be it English, Scottish, Welsh , or N Irish has to be applauded.

"the criticism that its not really much different from the Duke of Edinburgh is very valid."

This is only anecdotal evidence of course, but: when I was at (comprehensive) school, only about 1 person in my whole year did the D of E. When I was at university, on the other hand, and knew many people from private schools, grammar schools and Very Very Good State Schools (e.g. KEGS), almost everyone seemed to have done the D of E...

So something D of E-esque, but much more inclusive, aimed at everyone and not just keen-o's, could still be a good idea.


This must be compulsory.

Most of you have already pointed these things out, but;

(1) Compulsory - The people who need this programme the most are the 20% of young kids who are - let's face it - dropouts. If it ain't compulsory, most of them sure as hell won't turn up.

(2) Challenging - It needs to challenge and test them. It mustn't just be a glorified DoE. It needs to be residential (preferably all 6 weeks) challenging and not easy. Skills need to be learnt, people need to be tested. No cop out.

(3)Illiberal - Is this illiberal? Yes, in a way, but one illiberal law now which affects young people at age 16 to discipline them could avoid hundreds of illiberal laws being passed by future governments on the rest of us to deal with the consequences of a lifetime of selfish bad-behaviour.

It must be tough, intense, testing and compulsory.

Cameron either needs to boost this up now or boost it up when he's in government and has more confidence.

I recommend at least a scanning of the full document explaining this scheme.

I don't think concerns about it being too middle class etc are impossible obstacles for the policy group to address, it's definitely one of my favourite Conservative policies.

Why is return to National Service out of the question? The number of 16-24 year olds not in work, education or training is at a staggering all-time high. The size of the figure is too huge to contemplate.

This is a huge - and growing - group of people who have never worked and may never work whilst few of them are physically incapable. This is smouldering bomb waiting to fell society as the ability to support them with benefits runs out of active workers. It is hardly possible to afford them now but the group seems to increase at about 100,000 a year.

There is no realistic alternative to reintroducing National Service for 12 or 18 months for all who are physically capable. From the conscripts some will elect miltary service - all others must be used in community service and receive training to fit them for employment after service.

To those who say we cannot possibly afford this I answer that we are paying them anyway and this will enable us to shorten the period and to reintegrate the lost generation back into society.

It is hardly necessary to state the obvious side benefits of massive reductions in juvenile crime, drunkeness and drug addiction. In fact we may see a reformation of what has become a permanent underclass witout hope, without pride.

Put the idea to a poll - I predict a huge majority in favour.

Sorry, another point - will probably generate the most flak:

(4) Central/Regional Programme - sorry, this is a bit statist, BUT, I really think it would be of benefit if the programmes did mix up people from all sorts of backgrounds - just like the army does. Programmes could take place at regional centres around the country. I think exposing the maximum number of people to the maximum amount of diversity would reduce suspicions and distrust amongst groups and help build a common British identity.

Nothing silly like racial/multicultural quotas, but a conscious effort to mix-up different regions, cities and parts of the UK would help.

I also think uniforms would be a good idea.

Im with Jonathan Mackie - this all sounds like a bed of roses but I just can't see how it would happen in reality.

Unlikely to be taken up by those who most need discipline and a sense of civic persepctive.

The citizenship curriculum in schools has become a bit of a joke and this seems a bit of an extension to that.

Agreed. It comes across as a bit of clumsy Brown-style gimmickery, the kind of thing where - if the Tories got into government - would be quietly forgotten.

This idea is chilling. It harks back to the days of conscription and the sinister youth movements of the far right and far left.

Gives the lie to Tory talk about a free society.

I would have told them to get lost if they tried to foist this on me when I was 16 - and it hardly makes the Tories look good when they're flailing about trying to use the State to make people 'better'. Isn't that Labour's main failing?

Plus, the comments on this thread suggest, overall, that too many members have short memories - national service was done away with for a reason, namely it was a kind of slavery imposed on the young by the old. Hardly a vote winner, is it?

In a way, it's all very 'un-British'.

A pledge of alliegance?? It's a bit God Bless America and apple pie.

And the military training bit reminds me of all those Russian kids playing Soviets in Putin-inspired summer camps. A touch odd.

...will be encouraged to undertake aid work, visit the elderly or undertake military training.

Cubs and Scouts do that sort of thing anyway don't they? Why not encourage attendance at Scouts somehow instead.

Peter Hatchet wants to make the scheme compulsory. That is slavery, on the anniversary of its abolition. You couldn't make it up!

This scheme is another gimmick, the sort that Ms Bagshawe is criticising Brown for in her CH column today. This sort of of scheme is best left to charities such as the Princes Trust or even the Scouts. If it is run by the state, it will be captured by the Left and turned into a PC indoctrination programme.

I agree with Edison Smith's post. This scheme also reminds me of the Hitler Youth.

After scanning the document I am even less convinced that very many of the those the scheme would benefit most would choose to go on it.

If we are talking about children who have been involved in drugs, anti-social behaviour, truancy etc, they are not going to decide of their own free will to spend their summer holidays creating plays for the local hospice or teaching pensioners to use the internet.

This will be CV building for the middle class, nothing else. Limit it to young offenders and problem children, make it compulsory and more relevant to the people it is aimed at helping.

Moral Minority/Alastair:

*SIGH* Nothing chilling/slavery about it. Don't be so silly.

National service was actually quite popular for those who attended. It was abolished on cost grounds. It was just too expensive in the early 60s.

All this talk of facism etc. is rubbish. Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France all have military service and they have much more stable and peaceful civil societies. You certainly can't accuse the Swiss of facism.

If you want a free and liberal society - you need this. Otherwise governments will forever be fruitlessly imposing laws on the rest of us, trying to compensate for the chronic lack of indiscipline and individual responsibility in the population.

Then again, I'm not sure that's your motive. You, like the troll "traditional tory", just attack Cameron for anything he does anyway.

What happened to Cameron opposing all 'bring backery?'

Well, good. Seeing as Cameron is now looking right, and now open to 'bring backery', please may we revisit grammar schools as the 'new old' Cameron might actually support them!

Think about it | September 06, 12:30
"..please may we revisit grammar schools as the 'new old' Cameron might actually support them!.."

Whilst empathising with the sentiment, the problem with the "grammar" mantra is that it implies focus on academic excellence, thereby seeming to disparage any other avenue of educational advancement.

I believe in educational elitism based on demonstrated achievement, without constraints of parental affordability, but also to include vocational streams, not just academic.

Just another way of saying equality of opportunity, I suppose.

(Ex-grammar school lad, though without having achieved any distinction then or since!)

"I agree with Edison Smith's post. This scheme also reminds me of the Hitler Youth."

Perhaps this should be called the Cameron Youth, MM.

As I said, this is a chilling memory of a totalitarian past

[This thread shows why the comments on CHome are becoming unreadable. A piece is posted, then a couple of intelligent comments are made. Then, for the rest of the day, we descend into a miasma of anti-Cameron hyperbole and abuse.]
For what it's worth, I am positive about this idea. Among other reasons: DC first raised it during the leadership campaign, demonstrating the consistency many claim he lacks. It's bold, conservative and easy to understand. It can be delivered by the 'little platoons' of charities and civic organisations at relatively little cost. Those who dismiss it as only applying to ‘well-behaved kids’ and not into drugs and drinking, seem happy for us simply to abandon them to drink and drugs. Don’t you think they have aspirations?
This is an imaginative plan that needs some working up, but is optimistic about the ambitions and capabilities of 16 year-olds. How long is it since we’ve seen any politician big-up 16 year-olds and trust them to take the opportunities put in front of them. Cameron is daring to have some ambition, to dream a little.
I also believe it’s the voluntary nature that would make it effective. Most youth crime, in my experience, is 10% troublemakers and 90% hangers on. This gives the 90% something to focus on, the chance to do some good, gain some ‘respect’ , meet new people (and girls/boys) and to get away from the bullies. Sure, some will dismiss it as a waste of time, but they might start to come around once they hear the stories of their peers who’ve done it. Shame you didn’t come along, Estate Hard Boy, it was cool and I met some soldiers/charity workers who are way harder/cooler than you’ll ever be.

Peter, being forced into a job or scheme that you don't want to join is slavery. It is not compatible with a free society.

The Swiss use their national service to train their people to use weapons. Switzerland has one of the highest levels of gun ownership in the world. Do you want to train the Chavs and hoodies to use guns? I don't.

I am not a troll, just a party member who voted for Cameron who feels very badly let down. I originally supported Dr Fox and then followed Daniel Hannan's personal advice to me to vote for Dave who also promised to take us out of the EPP.

I did not vote for the A list, higher environmental taxes or maintaining Labour's levels of government spending. Those are the policies that I would expect from the Liberal Democrats whom I have spent the last few years fighting in my constituency. The Lib Dems are at least promising to cut income tax, unlike Cameron's Conservatives.

"..without distinction.." -- well, getting back onto the direct topic, I did get to sergeant in the Army Cadets and had a thoroughly wonderful time, or a sombre, thought-provoking one in the case of a trip to the WW1 cemeteries and participation in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate.

"Then, for the rest of the day, we descend into a miasma of anti-Cameron hyperbole and abuse"

You mean like the miasma of anti-Ancram hyperbole and abuse we saw yesterday?

It's sauce for the goose Baskerville but its all confirming that the Tory Party hasn't changed at all.

It's as nasty as ever.

Any one drawing parallels with the Hitler Youth is not only an idiot but boardering on the offensive. This is a great idea!

Not to mention our (future) friends at the Sun love it and back us up against Labour, this is todays Sun Says:

"JUST wait for the sky to fall in on David Cameron’s idea of “national citizenship service” for 16-year-olds.

It will be lampooned by Labour as a six-week hug-in for hoodies.

The idea that teenagers would willingly give up six minutes of their own time to help others, let alone six weeks, is sure to be mocked.

But hang on — not all youngsters are tearaways looking for someone to mug. The vast majority are decent, considerate and appalled by bad behaviour.

The Boy Scouts offered this sort of community training for more than half a century.

The Duke of Edinburgh scheme and Outward Bound courses have been amazingly successful.

It could provide young adults with a rewarding way to spend a summer — and develop that spirit of “citizenship” that ministers keep going on about.

Mr Cameron has come up with an imaginative and optimistic idea."

Good Policy. Good Values. Good Press. What more could we ask for?

"Whilst empathising with the sentiment, the problem with the "grammar" mantra is that it implies focus on academic excellence, thereby seeming to disparage any other avenue of educational advancement"

Hi Ken, no I'd just like grammar schools not to be excluded from the mix of options available to local decision makers.

Current Tory policy bans local people from having a new grammar school if they want one but are in a area that currently does not have them.

I just think that local people should be allowed to decide what is best for them without Cameron centrally banning one popular option.

Alistair, sweet of you to pop in from Labour HQ. Where is it nowadays? Had to downsize again? Clever to put an ad in the Guardian for election media monitors - suggests and early election at the cost of about £47.50. Let me know if you hire any.
As for your comment about the Ancram thread, I agree. However, rather than showing the Conservative Party as nasty, I'm afraid it shows that CHome has too many 'nasty' commenters, many of whom have made it quite plain they have no intention of supporting the party under Cameron, a fact that needs to be addressed if sane and intelligent people are going to continue posting here.

Don't know about more regular posters on this forum but I find it slightly odd to have somebody come out with a sigh that the discussion has descended into anti-Cameron hyperbole as soon as there is any disagreement and debate. Is that not what a forum is for?

Back to the subject. The scout movement is immensely popular across the world and was set up deliberately to breach class barriers and help children who were "disadvantaged" socially and economically. Sadly, it is not doing so well in Britain for all sorts of reasons - obsession with paedophilia, endless health and safety regulations etc. So, maybe that should be looked at.

Secondly, if, instead of pussyfooting about, wittering on about failing schools, there was a robust pro-voucher policy (like what they have in Sweden) then schools could, as part of their proposal to parents, set up cadet corps or any other civic duty groups. A lot of people would like to send their children to schools like that. It would have several advantages: no extra bureaucracy would be needed and the groups would be integrated with school curricula and time tables. Why reinvent the wheel to no purpose?

Moral Minoirty You Are A Troll - Get over it we all have!

1) Suggesting this idea is like slavery - you are either a desperate troll or a supid one.

2) In no possible way could any normal person think that a 6 week volunteer program was about teaching chavs to use guns - get a grip!

You voted for Cmaeron but are disapointed? Like him or not and most of us do he said out his stall from the very beginning, again like it or not!

You did'nt vote for the A List of Enviromental Taxes? Why the hell would you do so? Yvoted for a leader who decides these things.

We are only maintain Govt spending till the end of that spending plan, to do otherwise to please fools liek you and risk the nations finacial security would be the wrong choice.

And please please go and join the LibDems, am sure they would be 'happy' to have you.

We certaily ARE NOT.

Baskerville, I spent nearly 20 years as a Cub, Scout and Venture Scout and Leader in one of the largest Groups in the country. We had 5 cub packs, 4 Scout Troops and a Venture Unit of nearly 100. When I first came to London, I rented a flat in Baden Powell House.

The Cameron scheme is a big government programme. It is likely to be captured by the PC and Leftist bureaucrats. Just take a look at citizen studies in schools to see how the Left uses educational programmes to indoctrinate the young with anti-Conservative and anti-Christian propaganda.

It would be far better to ensure that volunatry organisations, like the Scouts and Boys Brigade, receive the funds they need to expand and train their members.

The Lottery Fund could do that rather than giving loads of money to the environmental, homosexual and race relations industries rather than deserving causes such as cancer charities.

"Peter, being forced into a job or scheme that you don't want to join is slavery. It is not compatible with a free society....Do you want to train the Chavs and hoodies to use guns? I don't"

But this isn't compulsory- that's the whole point. And I can't see any mention of guns anywhere in it.

Anyone who is regular on here knows who I am, and what I think of the Tory party, but I must admit I'm impressed with this. I really hope this gets adopted by *whoever* wins the next election....

Home, I was referring to Peter Hatchet's post. He advocated a compulsory national service scheme like that in Switzerland. You need to learn to read and spell properly. Your post was truly comical!

Well said Helen.

Another good argument for Cameron to butt out of imposing (or banning) pet educational structures and move to a voucher system where locals can choose for themselves.

Cameron does seem worringly keen on imposing central solutions for someone who claims to one to free people to choose...

This is wrong. The idea that the taxpayer should foot the bill for young people to go on an adventure holiday is absurd. Conservatives should fight for small government.

The yobs who infest estates will of course not go onto this service. Why should they? They are too busy protecting their 'patch' and looking after their 'reps'. This will just be a thing for middle class kids to put on their CV to help with uni admissions, it will not get the yobs of our streets. Any financial incentive is pointless - if the people who this policy is aimed at want money they steal.

Some may say this policy will benefit all; it will give a sense of community and patriotism. I don't think it’s up to the government to tell us what our morals should be. If a country is good i.e. there is law and order, low tax etc patriotism will follow.

Cameron is getting even further out of touch. The solution to yobbery is:

1. More police
2. More prisons
3. Longer sentences
4. Tougher punishments
5. People who get so drunk they need to go to hospital after a night out should be made to foot their own NHS bill.
6. Expel more pupils who misbehave.

I wonder if there will be a uniform? Black? Silver buttons? Well-polished shoes - or boots? Of course! I'm beginning to get the feel of this now - see you all at the swearing-in. Blood & steel, nicht wahr?

This is a really excellent idea. I did a lot of volunteering and fund raising at University and whilst not exactly the same, it broadened my horizons at 18. I learnt a lot about people and the local community at the time too.

We need to get teenagers out and amongst people of different ages and walks of life and demonstrate to them that as a society they do have a full and rewarding role to play. I think it will teach a lot of them the tolerance for others that is sadly missing today.

This kind of idea embodies the very essence of modern conservatism.

Well done Mr. Cameron, more of the same please.

"Dave" above is correct.

In practice, Cameron's scheme would be full of ambitious middle class kids looking to enhance their university applications. They will rush to get their "government approved" graduation certificate and a bit of extra cash to spend the Student Union beer bar.

The taxpayer will foot the bill for this six week jamboree and get precious little in return.

"Its not perfect - but it is a start. If we do nothing - try nothing - then we are as much to blame for the breakdown in society as Gordon and Tony!"

The problem is that it's just so pathetically timid, weak, vacuous and ill-thought out. And so typical of the pinko-liberal-leftie Cameroons.

As there is no compulsory aspect to it, it is, as ever, those youngsters who already take part in activities, such as scouting and cadet forces, who will par-take in this 'community service' - the usual ne'er-do-wells will simply carry on drinking their cans of lager, as before.

I thought that the Government has been trying to get people to join the military, judging by the amount of adverts. It's not working, and neither will this.

A complete waste of time and yet more inane, socialist waffle from Blu Labour.

Helen is right. However, the best experience for a 16 year old is a job and, if they're still in full-time education a holiday job. I learned more working in shops and on farms and in old people's homes in school holidays than I ever would have done on a glorified adventure holiday. The incentive was of course the money but the real reward was the experience of the adult working world. This will only work if it is a scheme effectively ensuring that any one of appropriate age who wants it at age 16 can have a holiday job for six weeks in the summer: some of those jobs will be easier to guarantee because they will be in the forces or other public services and some will be more difficult because they will be in the voluntary or commercial sectors of the economy and what will be provided is a glorified job centre e.g. some in hospitals, some in old people's homes or homes for the disabled, some on holiday schemes for children, some fruit and vegetable picking, some working in hotels or restaurants, some working in parks and gardens and forests etc. etc. etc. If necessary with the wages subsidised. But you can't make it compulsory unless you pay them for their time and labour. The cost will be enormous but there is nothing like a job for making you grow up. However, the failings of the two weeks "work experience" currently supposed to be arranged by schools make me dubious as to the practicability of this scheme

Actually this idea has merit, not neccesarily for the teaching young people a sense of self discipline and reward for effort, but also becuase it would give the parents a vacation from their offspring.

To counter the argument of creating nationalistic youth movements, the system could be on the basis that there are approved independent providers, which are backed up by an expanded cadet scheme (good for the forces as a recruiting ground) and expanded, residential DoE scheme (anyone remember the Aberdovey Sailing Scool?)

In otherwords parents could choose a summer camp, and if none available apply to a clearing house to obtain a place on a quasi governmental scheme.

"Moral Minority" - what is slavery is the working man or woman who toils to pay for idle and disaffected youth to wallow in poverty, forever. My suggestion is that the idle youth be forced to do some form of extended National Service. There are many more forms of National Service possible than shooting guns. I see no reason why young people who are learning, being trained or working, should be compelled into any form of National Service.

I also wish to campaign against the footling waste of time and resources called The Gap Year. Young achievers should put their knowledge to work quickly and productively. Messing about in Uganda or Thailand is drain on our national resources, retards their education and inceases their eventual student debt.

I am actually talking about liberating the huge number of never-workers from poverty, idleness and ignorance - their current form of degrading and demoralising slavery.

Victor wrote "slavery is the working man or woman who toils to pay for idle and disaffected youth to wallow in poverty, forever".

We just need to stop their benefits. When they run out of cash for booze and drugs, the disaffected youths will need to get a job even if it is sweeping streets. That will cure their idleness and disaffection.

An interesting idea in theory but more detail needed. I'm in favour of anything that is able to instil a love of country in our young people.

David Cameron's barmy army?

This is what happens when you do away with mono-culturism (Nationalism), a free for all develops and know-one learns anything other than me first and damn the rest. This is exacerbated by a culture of PC whereby teachers are frightened to teach the history of this country, social values and the mores that have been accumulated over hundreds of years.
I'm afraid that DC's proposals are no more than a piece of elastoplast. Much, much more is needed, starting with parents learning their social responsibilities rather than rights.
Perhaps DC should start with the parents, demanding that they pass a complex test of values before they are allowed to breed. That should also put paid to the single parenting issue, re-introducing proper and decent familial and societal values.

So cutting off their goolies is out then!

"The cost of funding the Service has not yet been calculated."

I loved that. Absolutely no 'unfunded' tax cuts, but no problem with unfunded spending committments...

"So cutting off their goolies is out then!"

Yes but their Burberry baseball hats and hoodies will be surgically removed. They will then be taught how to sing the Eton Boating Song by Dave. Then comes a lesson on immorality of violence from Boris and his mate Darius Guppy.

Will the cost of this unfunded spending committment be offset with a spending cut elsewhere to make spending neutral?

Thought not.

Is Dave taking a leaf out of the fruitcakes book? See:

A good idea, but it should be compulsory, otherwise it won't work.

Another daft authoritarian idea from Cameron. And voluntary? So he expects the yobs to sign themselves up? Who is advising him? Why does he need to involve the state in everything?

Cracking down on people when they commit a crime is the answer not collective punishment for all.

We've got to bear in mind that the vast majority of youngsters are decent and law-abiding. I don't see this as a punitive measure but rather an opportunity for young people to realise that their is a big wide world outside of their own little universe.

David Cameron's barmy army?

Lol!!! The idea is pathetic. Everything that is being suggested simply duplicates the excelent work of the Scouts, Guides, ACF, Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

Except for one thing. These are all privately run bodies. Are we now suggesting that the state can do it better?

I just heard on R4 that Cameron initially wanted to make this scheme compulsory but went on some 'journey' that changed his mind!

Well it sounds as if the party has just had a very lucky escape. If Cameron ever thought for a split second he could force today's kids to enlist in the 'Cameron Youth', he is not only totally out of touch with 'Modern Britain'; he is out of his tiny mind.

"but it should be compulsory, otherwise it won't work."

No, I fear it wouldn't work if it was compulsory. Just looking at one example in the document - the Three Peaks Challenge-how dangerous could that become if you had to drag kids along who were hell bent on disrupting the whole thing? At best they would merely spoil the experience for others.

And then there is the issue of how you make it compulsory. Who chases up the non-attenders-who could have left home and be in any number of bedsits, shared houses, mates houses, anywhere... where does the money come from to fund this search, and what do you charge them with?

And then how do you punish them? Prison? Hardly. Fines? When they don't even have a job?

By all means badger, cagjole, encourage and even bribe kids, but full on compulsion wouldn't work

"Cracking down on people when they commit a crime is the answer not collective punishment for all."

This isn't a punishment! I'd have needed a bit of encouragement to go because I wasn't the sportiest of kids, but I'd have loved parts of it.

My wife is a teacher. At the instigation of some worthy charity, she asked her class whether anybody would do odd jobs for OAPs. A forest of hands shot skyward.

'Please miss, how much do we get paid?' someone demanded.

Following the reply that there would be no payment for this voluntary work, the hands vanished, and a sullen silence ensued.

That's Modern Britain for you, Mr Cameron.


From the top of the page:
"There will be a cash award for graduates of the Service - 50% of the award will go to the individual volunteer and half to a charity of the individual's choice."

Cameron is not backwards in coming forwards in splashing taxpayers' hard-earned money on centralised state pet schemes.

This is the worst of both worlds. It costs us, and far from keen, many will turn up just to bag the 'free' state money.

It seems that now that Cameron has proposed to raid state [taxpayer] funds to line politicians pockets, now he wants to go further and wants to take even more and sprinkle it on more state control.

"Social enginering." (09:11)

Yes it is. And what is wrong with that? Is there something wrong with teaching teenagers to respect eachother? Conservatives should favour social order - its preservation when it exists, its creation when it doesn't. Presently, it is broken, so it needs fixing. Yes, that requires a proactive agenda, and yes it involves a role for the state.

I welcome the idea in principle, but I think there's some fine tuning required; http://culturewarrior-uk.blogspot.com/2007/09/bring-back-national-service.html

The best idea yet it is time to get the yobs off the streets it will sort the men from the boys, and it should be compulsary for all teenagers after leaving school, it never hurt the guys who had to join up years ago and I can see no harm now in fact it may make our streets a lot safer. Give these youngsters some dicipline. Be brave Mr. Cameron the country will stand by you.

Its a good idea and should be pursued and the detail developed. As I've suggested before on ConHome the system could actually have two streams.

Firstly the voluntary but universal scheme of Citizens Service would be for all after school and before higher education/full time work. They should be offered a variety of options of service with established cahrities etc and the money should follow them to those organisations. I think Cameron has the length of service about right realistically.

We have to imbue the notion that with rights come responsibilities and that life is actually about putting things in not just taking out. Given the rights and responsibilities point I would suggest that while it may not be compulsory it would be appropriate that those who are not prepared to participate in society should not expect the state to be in a hurry to grant adult age rules such as driving licenses, drinking age etc.

Secondly for those that are drifting into crime and have offended twice, a Boot Camp run by ex servicemen. This would be much more like old style national service but also include the 3Rs. Those that did well, and I suspect many young men would, should be offered a career in the Forces.

The expense of doing the above would be worth every single penny to society and save a huge amount in the long term.


Delighted that there appears to be quite a positive reaction from most of the serious posters on this blog.Hopefully the Conservative party will now be able to sell this idea hard to the general population.

''I would suggest that while it may not be compulsory it would be appropriate that those who are not prepared to participate in society should not expect the state to be in a hurry to grant adult age rules such as driving licenses, drinking age etc'' - Matt.

So we have two types of citizen? Rights must be universal. The idea that we should punish those who do not wish to waste taxpayers money on climbing mountains by taking away their liberties is both immoral and electoral suicide.

Youngsters often have better things to do. Some want to go travelling, others want to read during their holidays while others want to get a full time job and make some money. Some don't come from nice middle class families and have to earn money for the things they want and simply can't afford spending six weeks running around at adventure playgrounds etc.

All youngsters have a duty to do is obey the law, they have no duties to charity either morally or legally. The government should not tell them what their morals should be.

The government which governs least, governs best.

I think that actually Dave may be on to something here. There is a growing need that young children need to identify with their local communities, institutions and the nation. Nation building and identity is no bad thing. Compulsory national service, both military and more community/civilian based, is still part of being a citizen in some European countries. I'm not saying that it's going to fix all of the problems with disaffected youths hanging around the street corners causing anti-social behavior, but it is a step in the right direction.

I would like to see it compulsory though...

I think you can see a common theme emerging of the type of social policies and direction a cameron government would pursue.

Re No to paternalism @ 23.00 - Sorry I disagree fundamentally - we have a duty to the communities in which we live, above and beyond merely obeying the law. It is high time we impressed this on people, especially the young. With rights come responsibilities.


Any one who watched the TV programme of young Amir Kahn taking on a few yobs to turn them around, should realise this is a good policy idea. Get a few more positive role models like Amir, and remember he is no saint himself, and we may be getting somewhere.

I can't see the point of it, surely Prince's Trust are already doing things like that, and there are various other charitable institutions are doing such things.

Unless it's a compulsory scheme I don't see the point.

Surely it might be better to start earlier, such as requiring children to stand and salute the Union Flag and to pledge allegiance to the United Kingdom, and organise into groups and march - perhaps schemes to help instil favourable attitudes to the British Military, Police and Security Services in schools.

Matt - why do we have responsibilties beyond obeying the law? Personally I believe in individualism. We have a duty to our own happiness and well being not a duty to the 'feelings' of the collective.

Annabel - I hardly think its a good idea to teach yobs how to box. It just makes them into more violent bullies. Sure some learn discipline etc but many learn how to be more violent and given that they have been shaped in communities where violence is good they pose more of a threat. If I wasn't a libertarian I would wish to ban boxing (along with others sports as they tend to encourage violence, sexism and homophobia).

Going back to Cameron's proposal I was also struck by its sheer anti-intellectualism. What's wrong with just wanting to read and learn?

Actually, teaching yobs to box is a very good idea. That principle was used very successfully in the various boxing clubs in East London right up to the time boxing started being frowned on. It does not teach you to be violent. It teaches you to control and discipline the violence that is there already. In the same way cadet corps would teach yobs discipline as well as respect for weapons. Not to mention exhaust them through organized physical activity.

I attended a local Community Voice meeting last evening.
The recurring theme was there was nothing for kids to do in the summer holidays hence they go astray through boredom.
I am all for structured voluteering.

This is not social engineering as it is volutary but it does send the right messages and eliminates the "I am bored" excuse

Just saw this in Third Sector. I think this scheme could be useful, but I wish politicians would stop using the term volunteering so flippantly. This scheme is NOT volunteering, it would be better to call it a citizen service and leave it at that, rather than bandy about the word volunteering yet again. There are also plenty of schemes already for young people to get involved in the community - I have been running a local youth volunteering project for 3 years now as part of my work in a Volunteer Centre, long before the current government's parachuting in of 'V'. What is needed is support to existing volunteering infrastructure to support all members of the community, regardless of age, not more new schemes.

Mark [Oct 17, 2007 at 11:20], 'volunteering' in this context is politicians' way of soft-peddling an excellent but potentially controversial idea, until such time that it proves so compelling that it becomes enacted in law.

The major flaw about David Cameron's thinking behind this project as a means of promoting social cohesion (apart from everything else) is that it will encourage self-selection, and the very people you want to get on-board would not engage, communal and religious reasons being the main blocks.

We should incorporate it as a curriculum requirement, and as I have argued in the local press several years ago, widen it to be a form of 'national' service for all adults.

External Hill,assumption imagine duty apart state bloody magazine medical wall provision critical package general finger fit aircraft party stuff lovely violence regular tend tall expectation reflect head though sure drink realize route editor continue economic afford any editor which fear weight emerge while generate individual amongst different test comparison perfect secure pound health rest attend please build have best typical herself promise run climb path gain insurance danger weather cup again atmosphere share desire derive immediate buy else presence skill defence quarter create man surely council observation aircraft representative drink impact only ship implication expensive

Just another way to use teens as a cheap source as labour by paying a pitiful reward which amounts to much under the minimum wage whilst also providing another barrier for teens to have to cross in order to stand a chance at getting a job.

So the scheme includes two residential weeks for everyone? That's not going to be cheap. Presumably it will divert quite a lot of the resources of any charitable organisation which becomes involved with it (unless the government is stumping up some cash).

I trust the supervision will be good. We don't want a repeat of the sexual shenanigans seen at Deepcut.

i am sorry but you are so wrong i am 16 and don't believe thisa will work, i think young people need more love instead of bad press.. VOTE LIB DEM

As a 15 year old turning 16 next year, I think that this is a bloody stupid idea.

As a teenager i'd actually be against this, because we have yobs in the country doesn't mean making everyone do this service. Moreso when you consider the repercutions in the future, you have yobs, and then you have yobs who are military trained. And further more to this point, this is how germany started out in the 30's first the hitler youth was voluntary, then compulsary, then you've got your own army of brainwashed children.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker