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Reader’s Comment of the Day: Disciplined National Service should be a rite of passage


In response to, Chris McGovern: Prince Harry is right. The young should give as well as take, David Lindsay wrote:

You can die of drugs in a palace. Prince Harry has a point.

But he ought to know that conscription would compromise the operational efficiency of our all-volunteer armed forces. Nor, it should be kept in mind, was character-building the point of National Service at the time. People experienced it as such, but that was incidental.

We need universal and compulsory – non-military, but uniformed, ranked and barracked – National Service, between secondary education and tertiary education or training.

As much as anything else, this would send people to university that little bit worldly-wiser, which would not only be good for academic and behavioural standards, but would also drain such swamps as Marxism, anarcho-capitalism, and the marriage of the two in neoconservatism. No one who had been around even a little bit would ever fall for such things for one moment.

Of course, that is also a very good reason for broadening the social and socio-economic base from which students, and indeed academics, are drawn.

This is much better than “widening participation” by abolishing everything in which one might wish to participate, and then only letting in the offspring of the upper middle classes anyway, on the smug assumption of having done one’s bit.

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