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Re-introduce National Service?  
User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1407 times:

Hello.

This is mainly aimed at UK members, but everyone can chirp in with their opinion if they wish.
Anyway, the question I wish to put to you is:
'Do you believe national service should be re-introduced in the United Kingdom', and (perhaps more importantly) would those of you who would have to do it (so that would be anyone younger than or actually 18yrs old I'd guess) want to/ be willing do it ? Or even, for it to be used as a form of punishment for criminals (such as in the TV show, 'Bad Lads Army') ?

Me ?....hmmm, I'd have to go with a yes for all of them, however, perhaps have a different kind of national service for criminals, perhaps a tougher one as punishment ?
Reason ? Well, I'm currently in a military organisation, and it's done me no harm. It's taught me self-worth, belief and let me do things people in civilian life would never be able to do. I noticed a change in my attitude towards things and in-fact, I never regret joining. I just think that most people would benefit from a bit of military structure.

Over to you.......
Wrighbrothers


Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
35 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDisruptivehair From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1402 times:

Yes....re-introduce it for at least a year both in the UK and the US.

User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1402 times:

Yes please.

somewhere nice for the chavs to learn some respect after leaving school.

I'd say 3 years service just to be safe.




Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineRichardPrice From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1394 times:

Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 2):
somewhere nice for the chavs to learn some respect after leaving school.

Nah, all you would have as a result are chavs that think they are tough. Cant beat the chaviness out of a chav.


User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11667 posts, RR: 60
Reply 4, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1392 times:

Yes, I would have no issue with National Service. I would though wonder how it could work with the current government's policy of getting as many people into University as possible.


Dan Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineBMIFlyer From UK - England, joined Feb 2004, 8810 posts, RR: 58
Reply 5, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1382 times:

Quoting RichardPrice (Reply 3):
Nah, all you would have as a result are chavs that think they are tough.

Chavs think they are tough anyways  banghead 



Lee



Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
User currently offlineDisruptivehair From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2007, 598 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 1382 times:

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 4):
Yes, I would have no issue with National Service. I would though wonder how it could work with the current government's policy of getting as many people into University as possible.


Dan

With so many students taking gap years would anyone really notice?


User currently offlineTPAnx From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1021 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1352 times:

Military, or Peace Corps, or Americorps --some form of national service should be required for everyone...makes you appreciate what you've got.
TPAnx



I read the news today..oh boy
User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13138 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1344 times:

Perhaps an alternative to military service would be to serve in community or international programs as a condition to enter public (government run) Colleges and Universities, with tuition breaks for such service.
There are huge needs in many communities for cheap help to do many needed tasks such as in our schools, parks, other recreational programs, seniors, and so on. International service options in the USA could include something like the Peace Crops - that would be far more positively effective for the the USA and it's relations to the outside world vs. military in Iraq, etc.


User currently offline767Lover From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1342 times:

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Thread starter):
Or even, for it to be used as a form of punishment for criminals

Having criminals in the service can be a dangerous thing. You don't want someone with a criminal mind handling a gun or being in a position to watch the back of someone else.


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1324 times:

When I was 19 years old I had to serve 13 month of civil service. It sucked at the beginning when I worked in the accountants' department of a hospital, I had a dispute with my boss on a daily base. Then I got transfered to the emergency room for disciplinary reasons and that was actually a good thing, I really liked to work there after a few days, the doctors were quite funny guys and the nurses were friggin' hot! Big grin

Some highlights I experienced:

- I saw many interesting things such as emergency surgeries
- I got a heli ride in an Eurocopter
- I met many, many interesting people, e.g. almost all players and the coach of the VfL Bochum football team
- I got tickets for the stadium every second week (grandstand of course)
- I learnt how to deal with people in extreme situations
- I learnt a lot of things regarding health insurances and employers' liability insurance associations

Sure, there were also things which were not so nice, e.g. I saw people dying and suffering from pain, but all in all I can say that it was a good experience. Furthermore did I earn good money, more than my friends who made an apprenticeship during this time.

Patrick


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13138 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1302 times:

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 10):
When I was 19 years old I had to serve 13 month of civil service

Don't forget too you got work and life experience, something that had to help you later in life and a good intention for such programs. Perhaps if some 19 year olds in the world had to do such community based work, they may find their life career, as well as help their community, and get the side benefits like you got.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 1299 times:

No - as a victim of mandatory military conscription, I don't believe it is an effective way to staff defense forces. Possibly some form of civilian service at home or overseas as part of aid projects would be more effective.

User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1287 times:

Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 2):
Yes please.

somewhere nice for the chavs to learn some respect after leaving school.

I'd say 3 years service just to be safe.

So you wouldn't r

Quoting BMIFlyer (Reply 2):
Yes please.

somewhere nice for the chavs to learn some respect after leaving school.

I'd say 3 years service just to be safe.

So you'd take kids fresh out of school and instead of them going on to university, you'd force them to waste three years of their life? Or maybe you'd only force those who don't go to university, creating a class-based system where those with the money avoid national service? Or maybe you'd force them to do national service after uni, from 21-24 keeping valuable and productive young talent out of the work force? Then you'd expect people to start contributing to their pensions at 24, not 21, on lower wage, this somehow not adding to the pensions crisis?

Talk is cheap; it's very easy to demand national service, but the practicalities are never thought of. Respect isn't taught through the military.


User currently offlineSabena332 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 1278 times:

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 11):
Don't forget too you got work and life experience, something that had to help you later in life and a good intention for such programs.

It helped me indeed later. I applied as an office clerk apprentice at a big Finnish mobile phone manufacturer after my civil service, I got the job and some weeks later I was told that I got it because I already had one year work experience, the other applicants had it not because they came directly from school.

It was also a very diversified job so I learnt a lot of things. I worked on the computer, I had to do basic office work, I had to communicate with health insurances, I had to assist in the emergency room when there were not all nurses available, I had to call the pizza delivery service on night-shifts (  Wink ), etc. I learnt how to improvise in stressy situations, I learnt how to deal with people of all kinds, and I learnt to stay cool in difficult and confusing situations. In a nutshell: I learnt a lot of things which helped me later in both my work life and private life.

Oh yes, I also looked very stylo all the time. When I was on duty I had to wear such a green hospital dress like George Clooney in the Emergency Room TV series, this dress in combination with a beeper and a hospital ID made me look damned important  Silly (this outfit was always helpful when I asked a nurse for a date).  Wink

Patrick


User currently offlineSandroZRH From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1249 times:

Quoting Sabena332 (Reply 14):
a big Finnish mobile phone manufacturer

No prizes for guesses here Big grin


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 1233 times:

UK National Service ended at the start of the 1960's.
It ended since there was no longer a requirement for it-both due to a reduction in overseas commitments, and the UK nuclear deterrent becoming fully operational.

In the long history of the British Armed forces, conscription is an anomaly.
Only after huge losses in WW1, as the nation fully mobilised in WW2, at the end of WW2, the UK still had massive commitments overseas.
Millions were 'de-mobbed', but still, large numbers were needed.
To garrison the then occupied Germany, the Suez Canal Zone, the Far East.
National Servicemen fought (and died), in Palestine, Malaya, in the Korean War (one who fought there, was a Londoner called Private Micklewright, you know him as Micheal Caine), in Kenya, before and during the Suez debacle.

Conscription was very unpopular post war, both with the military and many of the conscripts themselves.
It led to skills shortages, it blunted UK post war economic recovery.
The Army tradition has always been professional.

Remember, at the height of 'Pax Britannia, when the UK was THE superpower, it was maintained by a small (by European standards), professional army. Only 30,000 troops in the India of the Raj for example.
Because the key to this was naval power, meaning after Napoleon, the British Isles faced no prospect of continental invasion, there was a marked reluctance to be entangled in the conflicts in mainland Europe, in fact this helped the UK maintain it's status.
Until 1914.

The Kaiser called the British Expeditionary Force of 1914, 'a contemptibly small army'-hence the (proud) term of 'Old ' Contemptibles' as they would call themselves.
At first it showed, such was the skills of this force, many German units thought they were facing opponents armed with many more machine guns than was the case.
But as it turned into an industrial war, a stalemate, the cream of the British Army was badly depleted.
At first, Lord Kitchner's call for volunteers exceeded all expectations, rather than a few hundred thousand, over a million men responded to his call.
As the meat grinder of a war carried on, conscription followed.
The sheer numbers needing training, and fast, led partly to the often bizarre tactics, like walking towards the enemy, since bayonet training was something that could be taught quickly.

My father was a National Serviceman in the 1950's, actually, he did not mind it, he learned a trade useful in civilian life, he was probably in the minority though.
The farthest he got was Germany, for huge exercises as West Germany joined NATO.
He had fond memories of being billeted in a barn in the harsh winter, sustained by food by a friendly farmer, and with schnapps!

But a darker side, one big exercise saw several dozen die in accidents. He himself had been working on a 40mm Bofors AA gun, when an officer and National Servicemen crew were killed by a breech explosion while live firing not long afterwards. Dad was blameless as it was, but he was also one of the first on the scene, six dead bodies confronting him.

Later, he and his comrades had drop tanks from a combat aircraft narrowly miss them.
He remembers an old Sten sub machine gun being dropped and going off on full auto, one dead.

National Service for many, seemed to have a lot of hanging around around in lonely barracks, menial, pointless jobs being assigned, such as whitewashing the coal'.
You could get out of being called up by claiming homosexuality, but in the 1950's, this was still a criminal offence that could land you in jail.

Some coped badly with being away from home, the strict disclipline, Dad saw no bullying but it happened, suicides were not uncommon.
One way was on the firing range, turning the rifle around, barrel in the mouth, pulling the trigger.

He learned to avoid volunteering for anything. For example, a NCO might ask if anyone could play the piano, if someone said 'yes', they could end up shifting a bloody great piano from one end of the Sgt.'s mess to the other.
'Anyone keen on photography?' Someone says 'yes'.
'Right then, report at 0700 tomorrow to the stores, take a mop and bucket, and clean out the camp cinema.
On the other hand, a friend of his DID volunteer for something once, and was posted to Hong Kong, from the cold, dank barracks at Catterick, to the wonders of the Orient!

Dad also personally preferred the old style, Aristo-style officers, in his experience they were gentlemen who treated you with respect, rather than a National Serviceman who had been selected as an officer, with 'a chip on his shoulder.

Unlike the US, which still has the legal framework to re-institute a Draft as they call it, and has the infrastructure and equipment to do this quite quickly, the UK forces do not (probably deliberately), have this infrastructure.

It is also worth noting that during conscription, the forces had little equipment modernisation, they fought with what had been used in WW2.
As it became clear, after 1957, that National Service was running down to end, within a few years, the army had a new rifle, new machine gun, new anti tank weapons, new armoured personnel carriers, a new tank.
UK forces today ARE, generally well equipped, whatever the press might say, conscription would soon change that.

National Service in the UK, at least in a military form, is like Capital Punishment, it is not coming back.

[Edited 2007-04-04 20:51:10]

User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 1170 times:

Thinking some more about this, had National Service in the UK been retained, would it not have had an effect on our cultural life too?

In the 1960's, a wave of bands, spearheaded by the Beatles, followed by The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Who and many more, had a profound effect on not only the development of popular music, but culture in general.
As well as a very positive effect on the balance of payments!

Sure, in the 1950's, there were successful musicians, but the success was always local, usually fleeting.

With conscription still, would Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr been together when they were, how they were?
Ditto for Jones, Jagger and Richards, Townshend, Daltry, Moon, Entwhistle, the Davies brothers.
Some would have been away in the forces. Some would not have met merely by trying to avoid service, either through higher education or doing a bunk.

Without them, doing what did, when they did, the development of this new culture would not have preceded as it did, and not only in the UK either.
The Clash might have sung in 1977 'No Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones', quite, but without them.........

The US of course in the 1960's, saw the Draft return to feed the escalating commitment to Vietnam, but the British National Service was a much wider net, more all encompassing, there was no border with Canada either for potential British evaders.


User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1132 times:

Thanks for the replies, this topic is meant to be a bit of a 'think tank' and it's interesting to see the diverse opinions. However, one thing i've seen is lots of people focusing on the negative points of national service

Look at South Korea. Each able male has to do 2yrs (I believe, although it's being shortened) military service. Now, their crime levels are lower, there's more respect for elders (which I'm sure lots of the folks would like here) and don't seem to have such big social problems.
The military offer good qualities which employers look for, and a bit of military service on the CV doesn't do any harm. It shows the person has operated as a team before, learned new skills and has learned social skills such as discipline. The military does actually offer the chance to earn NVQ's, degrees, trades etc which would be useful to people in later life. Remember, it wasn't so long ago, that the most popular way of becoming a medical person (doctor, nurse etc) was to actually join up with the armed forces, do you minimum service and then come out the other end fully qualified. Not too many places which still offer that kind of free commitment to people's careers.

wrighbrothers



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13229 posts, RR: 77
Reply 19, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1128 times:

True there are advantages, but the (democratic) nations still with heavy conscription, have a pressing military need for it.
Like South Korea, like Israel.
Not the UK.


User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 20, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1084 times:

Quoting GDB (Reply 19):
True there are advantages, but the (democratic) nations still with heavy conscription, have a pressing military need for it.
Like South Korea, like Israel.
Not the UK.

That is true, however, would you not consider the droop in troops numbers over the years along with the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts a pressing military need/burden along with other commitments around the world ? There's still over 8,500 troops in Northern Ireland alone (although that's soon going to go down to about.....5000 I believe) I'm just interested to know...I'm not doubting your opinion.

Quoting GDB (Reply 16):
But a darker side, one big exercise saw several dozen die in accidents. He himself had been working on a 40mm Bofors AA gun, when an officer and National Servicemen crew were killed by a breech explosion while live firing not long afterwards. Dad was blameless as it was, but he was also one of the first on the scene, six dead bodies confronting him.

Later, he and his comrades had drop tanks from a combat aircraft narrowly miss them.
He remembers an old Sten sub machine gun being dropped and going off on full auto, one dead.

But deaths in the military weren't and aren't uncommon, not just because of war and conflicts, but during training. During full scale training ops in West German (as it was then) it was pretty normal to have at-least 1 or more soldier(s) die each year during the training, not usually suicide.

Suicide's again, always happen in the military, more people have died by suicide in our army than have in any major war, conflict etc we've been in since the turn of the century, if not before, and due to the nature of the job, training, stress etc it's not much of a surprise.

Wrighbrothers



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineBanco From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2001, 14752 posts, RR: 53
Reply 21, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1045 times:

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 20):
That is true, however, would you not consider the droop in troops numbers over the years along with the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts a pressing military need/burden along with other commitments around the world ?

That's to do with reductions in defence spending post-Cold War, not an issue of conscription. It is certainly true that the government needs to decide what it wants its military for, an interventionist force capable of going around the world at a moments notice, or a UK defence force. If they want the former, then they have to pay for it.

Quoting GDB (Reply 16):
Remember, at the height of 'Pax Britannia, when the UK was THE superpower, it was maintained by a small (by European standards), professional army.

And not a very good one, at that. The idea of a highly professional British army is comparatively recent. Much of British history is notable for an outstanding and utterly pre-eminent navy, and a small, and often fairly incompetent army.

But even the navy, which reached its absolute height in terms of relative manpower during the Napoleonic Wars, when for only time in history one navy possessed more than half the world's warships, was largely a volunteer service. Impressment certainly did happen, but it tends to be over-played in popular histories, partly because of confusion between impressed sailors and imprest sailors, who received a bounty for joining up. Equally, dragging landsmen out of the taverns certainly wasn't widespread, not least because they were of no use whatever to the navy. They needed professional seamen, not farmhands. For the same reason, the navy repeatedly and categorically refused to take convicts into the service.



She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1019 times:

Some type of National Service oughta be required.

At least at that point, all the people pissin' and moanin' about the Military, Cops, Fireman, and the like will have a leg to stand on in their argument.

Further, if you live in the US/UK, in a great land generally free of the  redflag  found in too many places on this planet, you should be giving a little payback . . . .

And the end result may be that you're a better person because of your experience.

Military? Americorps? Peace Corps? Something of the sort. Everyone, male and female, gay, straight, lesbian - if you live in the US, you should spend at least two years repaying the country for your freedoms.


User currently offline777236ER From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1011 times:

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 22):
At least at that point, all the people pissin' and moanin' about the Military, Cops, Fireman, and the like will have a leg to stand on in their argument.

Of course people who haven't been in the military can criticise it! What sort of nonsense are you talking about?

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 22):
Further, if you live in the US/UK, in a great land generally free of the redflag found in too many places on this planet, you should be giving a little payback . . . .

Trust me, I'm giving a lot of payback; and I'm giving this much because I didn't waste two years of my youth doing military service, I went to university and got a good job.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 22):

And the end result may be that you're a better person because of your experience.

Aside from the fact that:

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 13):
So you'd take kids fresh out of school and instead of them going on to university, you'd force them to waste three years of their life? Or maybe you'd only force those who don't go to university, creating a class-based system where those with the money avoid national service? Or maybe you'd force them to do national service after uni, from 21-24 keeping valuable and productive young talent out of the work force? Then you'd expect people to start contributing to their pensions at 24, not 21, on lower wage, this somehow not adding to the pensions crisis?

Talk is cheap; it's very easy to demand national service, but the practicalities are never thought of. Respect isn't taught through the military.


User currently offlineANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 6 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 1001 times:

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 23):
Of course people who haven't been in the military can criticise it! What sort of nonsense are you talking about?

Of course they can, and they can also let their ignorance show through - in a lot of cases, quite brightly.

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 23):
Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 22):

And the end result may be that you're a better person because of your experience.

Aside from the fact that:

Quoting 777236ER (Reply 13):
So you'd take kids fresh out of school and instead of them going on to university, you'd force them to waste three years of their life? Or maybe you'd only force those who don't go to university, creating a class-based system where those with the money avoid national service? Or maybe you'd force them to do national service after uni, from 21-24 keeping valuable and productive young talent out of the work force? Then you'd expect people to start contributing to their pensions at 24, not 21, on lower wage, this somehow not adding to the pensions crisis?

Talk is cheap; it's very easy to demand national service, but the practicalities are never thought of. Respect isn't taught through the military.

Doesn't have to be a full time gig either 777 . . . . many folks work part-time giving back to the community and their country. Only the selfish think they give back by "getting a good education and good job".  sarcastic 


25 TZ757300 : i.e. National Guard and Reserves
26 GDB : In the last year, the Army at least, has seen an 11% increase in recruitment. The professional forces of the past 45 years, has had peaks and troughs
27 777236ER : Any example? So society would be better off if less people got a good education and a good job? You really need to think a little before you write.
28 TZ757300 : Wow, he never said that. Quite the generalization you made. I believe that he was referring to that people who only think that giving back is getting
29 777236ER : Yes, he did. He said, quite clearly, that national service allows people to give back more to society than getting a good education and a good job.
30 TZ757300 : Maybe he said something like that, but I'm very sure that it was his intent. So tell me besides making the economy go round, what else does getting a
31 Banco : Making the economy go round is critical. It generates the wealth and taxes to fund things like the military derive from that wealth. It's no co-incid
32 Post contains images ANCFlyer : Not at all what I said . . . . of course. But hey, believe what you want - you do anyway. TZ quite clearly spelled it out. Go reread his post - a doz
33 777236ER : In which case, I refer you to this: The economy drives everything in a country, absolutely everything. To suggest that for some people some sort of st
34 GDB : There is too, the issue of different societies. It has long been the norm in continental Europe, to have large standing conscript forces, all those in
35 1stfl94 : Bringing back national service is one of those ideas that is mentioned by egocentric TV people whenever there's a talk about anti social behaviour. Br
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