Conscription Comeback: Sunak’s Bombshell Plan to Revive National Service

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National Service
Rishi Sunak says he will introduce a new form of mandatory National Service for 18-year-olds if the Conservatives win the general election

Tories Double Down on Draconian Delusions with National Service Ploy

Just when you thought the Tory brain trust couldn’t descend any deeper into authoritarian fantasia, Rishi Sunak has lobbed a policy grenade sure to furrow brows across the nation: mandatory national service for all 18-year-olds.

In a naked pander to the withered jingoist contingent that still pines for a return to Empire, the PM envisions conscripting an entire generation into a year of military service or civil drudgery. All to supposedly instil some reheated notion of “national purpose” and “shared culture” upon Britain’s unruly youth.

It reeks of the desperate flailing of a party petrified at alienating their dwindling base of social reactionaries. The same jingoists who loudly lament the UK’s lost muscularity and yearn for a restart of society’s indoctrination factories.

Let’s be clear: this policy is little more than state-sanctioned forced labour camouflaged in patriotic bunting. A mass civic tongue-bathing where individualism and free choice get drowned out by the percussive thump of jackboots on parade.

The sheer resources required for such a sweeping program – £2.5 billion annually by 2029 – underscore its ludicrous fiscal folly at a time when domestic priorities are going unaddressed. But no matter, cry the evangelist of this revived Cult of the Tory Britannia, a nation’s priorities must sometimes take a backseat to symbolism.

Then again, we are generously gifting £3 billion a year to Ukraine to fund their quaint little “Forever War,” so at least with this brilliant national service scheme, we’ll get to keep a few quid for ourselves – you know, to splurge on life’s essentials like watered-down pints at the NAFFY bar or industrial-sized tubs of boot polish to keep those jack boots nice and shiny.

sunak zelensky

A sense of purpose but it will be ‘working class’ kids hitting the drill squares, not theirs…

Sunak’s proposal supposedly aims to instil a “shared sense of purpose” and “renewed sense of pride” among the nation’s youth by mandating their participation in either military or civilian service programmes.

“This is a great country, but generations of young people have not had the opportunities or experiences they deserve,” Sunak declared last night. “There are forces trying to divide our society in this increasingly uncertain world. I have a clear plan to address this and secure our future.” All from a guy who has only worn a uniform for dressing up day at the office.

 Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak being introduced to members of staff at Pegasus Company

Under Sunak’s initiative, all 18-year-olds would be required to either join the military for a year, working in areas such as logistics, cyber security, and civil response operations while receiving a £10,000 stipend or volunteer one weekend a month for civilian programmes, with the government contributing to training costs. The civilian option would involve working with charities, tackling loneliness, and supporting isolated older individuals.

The Tories argue that this revival of national service would provide “valuable work experience” and “ignite a passion for future careers” in healthcare, public service, the armed forces, and other vital sectors. However, critics have been quick to voice their concerns, with Labour dismissing the pledge as “desperate” and “only needed because the Tories hollowed out the armed forces to their smallest size since Napoleon.”

Naomi Smith, Chief Executive of Best for Britain, condemned the plan, stating, “For 14 years, this Government has failed young people, removing their freedom of movement, hiking tuition fees, and making homeownership a distant fantasy. Now they have the gall to impose mandatory national service in a desperate effort to bolster support from those who never had to serve themselves.”

The proposed scheme has also raised questions about its feasibility and impact on the already-strained resources of the armed forces.

General Sir Richard Barrons, former head of Joint Forces Command, expressed concerns about the military’s ability to “absorb anything other than a handful of people at the minute,” emphasising the need for substantial funding from outside the armed forces.

While the vision of fostering patriotism and civic responsibility through these programmes may resonate with some, there are legitimate concerns that the burden of this revived national service would disproportionately fall on the shoulders of the working class and those without the means to pursue alternative paths.

It is unlikely that the privileged classes would see their sons and daughters square-bashing on parade grounds or slogging through the mud of Salisbury Plain’s training trenches. Instead, it would be the out-of-work and underprivileged youth who would find themselves at the sharp end of this policy, their choices and freedoms curtailed by the weight of compulsory service.

This stark reality threatens to deepen existing societal divides rather than bridge them, casting doubt on the lofty ideals of national unity and shared experiences that Sunak’s government espouses. The clash between the state’s perceived prerogative and the individual’s right to self-determination is a philosophical and ethical quandary that strikes at the heart of the nation’s democratic principles.

starmer military
Starmer’s no stranger to playing dress up either… Safe in whose hands?

In a twist, Labour leader Keir Starmer has confirmed his party’s intention to extend the voting age to 16, potentially giving those very teenagers a say in rejecting any future plans to enforce military service upon them.

As the campaign trails heat up, the nation finds itself at a crossroads, grappling with the ghosts of the past and the uncertainties of the future, all while weighing the merits and pitfalls of Sunak’s audacious national service revival.

Successive governments have run the military into the ground

What’s most galling is the reality that this draconian mummery stems from the very party that hollowed out Britain’s defensive foundations over their wasted decade-plus in power. The Tories gutted the forces to feed their austerity dogma, eliminating over 40,000 troops since 2010. Now they have the temerity to posture as the progenitors of civic renewal?

Let’s call this desperate hail mary what it is – the rancid residue of a militaristic nostalgia trip that sacrifices civil liberties and autonomy at the altar of a creaky imperial myth. An unconscionable attack on Britain’s youth from those who’ve already plundered their future, disguised in the siren song of “service”.

I’m not inherently opposed to military service – in my youth, it proved a formative experience for me. But mandatory National Service is an entirely different beast. Conscripting an entire generation against their will reeks of authoritarian overreach and trades civil liberties for a mythical notion of patriotism peddled by those who’ve consistently undermined the nation’s interests.

Those young Britons should see through this reactionary chicanery. If they wish to lend their labour to something transcendent and patriotic, the greatest service would be voting this sham of a government into the dustbin of history. Their freedom is simply too precious to surrender to Sunak’s delusional jingoistic fantasies.

Yet we mustn’t be naïve. Should this draconian policy appear an election winner, you can be certain Sir Keir Starmer and his merry band of”pragmatists” will swiftly adopt it as their own, dressing up this assault on freedom in the raiments of “security” and “national renewal”. The neoliberal duopoly masquerading as political choice in this nation stands ever-ready to sacrifice principles at the altar of power.

#GeneralElection2024

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