Never did me any harm…
Today the Tories, aided by Michael Caine, unveiled their plans for a version of National Service, what you might call National Service Lite. It won’t be compulsory, but will combine a few weeks of outdoor fun with a bit of community service. You can always rely on the Real Tories to come up with gimcrack social policies designed to take revenge on the young (short sharp shock, anybody?); and why not? I can’t abide teenagers myself, with their stupid hats and boom bang bang music. For the first time in living memory, we have some anti-social teenagers here in Presteigne. One of the lads has countless ASBO’s against his name, and we all look forward to the day when he is safely behind bars. National Service would be just the job for this young fuckwit and his handful of moronic chums. Grumpy old bastards all over Britain agree; a dose of National Service is the palliative we’ve all been longing for.
A non-compulsory scheme, however, seems to me to have several major snags, not least of which is that all the lovely kids would volunteer to go and do a bit of canoeing and helping old people, leaving the stupid hatted fuckwits in charge. So what to do?
The Presidents of the USA and Russia have come to my aid today, by making real and significant cuts in their holdings of nuclear weapons, thus making the case for the renewal of Trident even more hopeless. We don’t want it, we don’t need it, and we can’t afford it. But what can we do if our once-great-nation comes under military threat?
The answer seems simple, and comes from the impossibly far-distant days when I was a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist). My daughter Charley is horrified by my Marxist-Leninist past, and so am I really, though I regard it as a cultural curiousity arising from the peculiar circumstances of living in Brighton in the mid-eighties, and trying always to be more right on than thou. Anyhoo, one of the policies of the RCPGB(ML) came to mind today while thinking about the New National Service, which was the raising of a People’s Militia. (As members of the RCPGB(ML) we wouldn’t have been in it ourselves, you understand, because we were the vanguard of the proletarian revolution, and much too precious to spend in military campaigns).
The thinking was that nobody would dare to invade if everybody had some military training. This might sound dotty, but it’s served Switzerland well enough for the last 600 years. That and the mountains. A People’s Militia would obviate the need for nuclear deterrents, or so we used to argue back in the good old days before Tiananmen Square and my slow drift towards the right. And although I believe that we should unilaterally disarm whether or not we start conscripting every 16 and 17 year old, I still can’t help feeling that we would be better off taking responsibility for our own defence, rather than contracting it out to America via the hateful, useless and hugely expensive Trident system.
So come on Mr. Cameron! Be bold! Scrap Trident! And call up all the young people, take away their stupid hats and their mobile telephones and give ’em proper military training.
Just so long as I don’t have to do it myself, obviously.
Hey! It worked for Captain Mainwering. Though I guess he didn’t have the cheery smile…
A few million barely-trained (because anything approaching half-decent training for so many would be astronomical in price, not to mention unworkable anyway) folk, who have apparently been disarmed anyway, wouldn’t be much a threat for any invading force. The reason it’s worked for Switzerland is that no one ever had much to gain by invading Switzerland. It certainly wouldn’t, in itself, obviate the need for nuclear deterrents. Indeed, if nuclear threat itself is not enough to be rid of nuclear deterrents, nothing will be.
If I were in some militia, and I looked up to take some inspiration from my commander, my strategist, my general, and what I saw was a balding author with a well-earned beer-gut and a cheery smile, I wouldn’t be charging off to battle with much relish…
I like that they questioned for “Public Defenders” (and they thought they could bring down our government), undercover FBI agent, sweet. Since their inception the Teaparty crowd (not a movement since they do have the numbers or clout) because they are haters not debaters or as others have dubbed them screamers not dreamers. The simpleton Tea baggers are the same whiners that were crying when the McCain/Bailin ticket lost. Now that their yelling and screaming disastrous to stop the shape care debate and the bill from passing they are crying again. Lets face it the Republicans had eight years to deal with shape care, immigration, climate change and fiscal oversight and governance and they disastrous. The Republicans are excellent at starting wars (two in eight years, with stout contracts to friends of Cheney/Bush) but not at winning wars as seen by the long-lasting line of body bags that keep coming home. Instead of participating in the shape care debate of thoughts the Republicans party turned inward to your ancient fashion obstructionist party. In my opinion the Republican Waterloo loss was caused by the party allowing a small parts (but very loud) of the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” to take over their party. I will admit that this fringe is very excellent at playing “Follow the Leader” by listening to their dullard leaders, Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush, Savage, Sarah Bailin, Orly Taitz, Victoria Jackson, Michele Bachmann and the rest of the Blowhards and acting as ill plotted robots (they have already acted against doctors that perform abortions). The Teaparty crowd reckon they can scare, intimidate and break down others to go along with them by observations like “This time we came unarmed”, let me tell you a touch not all ex-military join the fringe militia crazies who don’t pay taxes and run around with face paint in the parks playing commando, the majority are mature and know that the world is more complicated and grey than the black and white that these simpleton make it out to be and that my friend is the point. The world is complicated and presidents like Hamiliton, Lincoln, and Roosevelt judge that we should use government a small to increase social mobility, now its about dancing around the aver of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the largest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. Although some Republicans are trying to distant themselves from this fringe most of them, having no game plot/ vision for our country, are just going along and fanning the flames. For a party that gave us Abraham Lincoln, it is tragic that the ranks are filled with too many unfilled suits. But they now aver they have changed, come on, what sucker is going to judge that? All I can say to you is dredge up Waterloo.
I await with dread being given the job of implementing the Tories micro-specified proposals. I know exactly what would happen too, the scheme would be announced in a blaze of publicity, with lavish funding for the first year or two, following which, it would gradually atrophy….finally to be cancelled just as we were getting in to the swing of it…..such was arc of the ‘Movin’ Up’ project – this was David Blunkett’s pet project.
Ironically, many of the alienated young men who would be targetted under this scheme currently do sign up for the military, all gung ho for the money and the camaraderie. Shame about the mental trauma and the missing body parts….
Youth projects involving discipline, hierarchy, submission to authority are known as ‘character-building’ approaches in the social educational repertoire…..
What the Tories are talking about sounds like it is lifted from what the PRince’s Trust scheme currently does anyway.
I’ve enjoyed a similar drift to the right over the years too. It’s just that I started out at 17 with the view that Norman Tebbit was a bit of a dangerously wet leftie. So you can just imagine what a bitter political disappointment life’s become.