Thursday, 25 August 2011

Bring back national service

Years ago, when I was 17, about 26 years ago I suddenly found myself in a moment of weed infused bliss formatting this theory about how the youth of our country should be made into one.

I was educated at public school, where I was unhappy to say the least, and had just met my first working class friends and black friends too. As the weed soaked through my previously troubled brain and found something approximating peace I made this theory.

My theory was that there should be a post-school sort of holiday camp where people of all classes and ethic origins would run assault courses, integrate and generally have fun - and out of the FUN (not concentration) camps a new better integrated society would be born.

My best friend said, "Sounds like borstal, I'd hate it."

What I was saying to him really was that it was a nice happenstance that we had met and through him I'd met different people.

Looking on the recent disturbances and knee jerk reactions to them I've recalled this theory.

I think it is valid in some ways - it would be good - for instance with 1,000,000 young people left with nothing to do.

Why not give them this post-school option? Each young person would have a mentor who takes a genuine interest in their affairs.

On the agenda would be whatever they liked, because, let's face facts we are all born with different strengths in different areas. Some people like climbing mountains, some people like riding horses, some people like books, music, wheelchair basketball, arts and whatever.

It would be case of bringing them all together, all classes and ethnic groups and building a "big society" based around the idea of fellowship and maybe planting the occasional tree.

There would be classes that develop life skills, emotional intelligence, parenting and citizenship.

This idea would create deep bonds within our society if it were done correctly.

It would cost a lot of money to implement but that money would be saved (diverted) from the probation service, police, care homes, dole office, arts council and so forth.

It would also create a lot of revenue from the various people it employed, ex-service persons, graduates and so forth.

The idea is that everyone would have a year of "kidulthood" with a mentor who really took an interest in them 1:1.

This is in no way fascistic idea, it would be very fluffy.