HR Hartley, you’re the first person, other than myself, that I have seen to publicly propose the return of National Service (Personnel Today, 4 October). Until recently, the UK and Ireland were two of the very few countries in the world – and even in Europe – which did not require some community or military service of young men. I proposed this to a CBI Committee on Education that I sat on some years ago, and was looked at as some kind of dinosaur.
The reality is that we have significant social breakdowns in this country, largely due to the loss of family values, and the lack of any substitute for the cohesiveness that they brought. So we have to introduce ASBOs to counter the lack of discipline in our young people – a measure that treats the symptoms (maybe) but does nothing for the causes.
I don’t think the clock can be turned back on family values in the short term, nor that a military solution would be acceptable. But some form of disciplined public service would be a much better way to spend public money than many of the current channels.
Mayo Learning International