matgb: (Politics)
[personal profile] matgb
The Sun Online - News: Cameron's call-up for teenagers:
Bookish swots will be shown there is more to life than just exams.
Best reaction I've seen? The political editor of the Daily Mail:
My reaction on reading this was to bristle. Surely this was just my chum George Pascoe-Watson applying his talent for distilling complicated ideas; Mr Cameron must have something far more subtle in mind. But no, there it is, on page 16 of the policy document: Those who are overly academic will discover there is more to life. And it all came flooding back: being forced to run behind the sports master on his motorcycle; endless games of ghastly football; painful attempts to learn rugby. Around the country there are bookish types who are quite happy to read and swot and think, and who will now I suspect quite like to biff Mr Cameron on the nose (if they knew how).
It comes to something when I agree with the guy who writes the Daily Mail's political coverage.

Caveat: I knew there was more to life all the way through my teenage years--I was a member of the Scouts. Was crap at pretty much everything that didn't involve boats, but I'm also pretty sure it was good for me.

Thing is, what Cameron's bloody 'national service' proposal is going for is a short course one summer that's (initially) strictly voluntary. Don't know about you, but the summer after I finished my GCSEs I got myself a summer job and earnt money. I suspect his target audience (ie, the 'young yobs' are even less likely to want to sign up for this thing.

I wish Cameron would figure out what he wants his party to be, this is the weirdest attempt to grab the middle ground (whicever middle ground he's thinking of) that I've seen. Attacking those of us that like studying for being 'overly academic'? Nice...

Date: 2007-09-07 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think I might actually be incensed by this. I'm currently trying to work out what I'm more offended by, but once I've sorted that, I'll settle to working out my elaborate and painful punishment. It may involve ferrets.

Date: 2007-09-07 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't know whether to laugh at this or not.

Obviously Mr Cameron has no idea how teenagers work. The only ones that are going to be remotely interested in this are the ones who are in Scouting and Guiding organisations, those in any similar group and those who do Duke of Edinburgh awards. Even then, they may find that what Cameron is proposing does not fit into their already busy lives.

Kids can't win at all these days, sigh.

Date: 2007-09-07 01:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Agree 100% with everything you just said. This is absolutely mystifying; as you say, it'll appeal to none of the people it's clearly aimed at benefiting (does he really think the terror of Middle England, the "vodka-swigging hoodie" is going to volunteer to do the three peaks, FFS? And does he really think the incentive of being to donate cash to a charity of said hoodie's choice is going to work?!), and will actively offend/put off many of those it's presumably meant to appeal to.

Saddest of all is that is probably the most detailed policy that the Conservative party have put out under his "leadership". I mean, jesus wept - is this really the most pressing thing he can come up with? Reactionary, ill thought through, counter-productive twaddle.

Keep it up Dave, keep it up :)

Date: 2007-09-07 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's funny, I look at 90% of school leavers at 16, and indeed also those going on to further education, and I'm just not seeing the problem that they're too academic...

Date: 2007-09-07 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So, yes, Cameron looks at the ONLY teenagers who might possibly have been on his side about this (the bookish ones who get bullied and would like the hoodies to go away now please) and insults them! Hurrah! I love the fact that nobody needs to scupper the Tories because they're so good at doing it for themselves!

Date: 2007-09-07 09:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cameron's lost the plot, hasn't he?

I've never understood the vague-National-Service-nostalgia thing that some politicians have going on; everyone I've spoken to who actually did it hated it and said it was a miserable and useless experience. I'm starting to despair of the Tories getting their act together.

Date: 2007-09-07 09:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] though anyone who read lots of books as a kid ever thought there wasn't anything other than exams in the world!

They should either make it compulsory (so we can all have a good rant about the compulsion aspect of things) or drop it as a daft idea. Or just bring back mandatory lessons in killing people who dress differently. Y'know, real National Service.

Or they could invest properly in community and youth services, y'know. Bah!

Date: 2007-09-07 10:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There's one massive argument against National Service and that's that the armed forces hate the idea. The British forces (overstretched that they are) rather justifiably pride themselves on professionalism and competence - something you don't get if your most experienced guys are spending their time at Catterick telling unwilling yobs how to peel potatoes and form piles of coal into uniform conical heaps.

National Service in France and Germany became a joke. In France it ended up lasting about six months and they seemed to get weekends, evenings and any time they fancied off; in Germany everyone got promoted about eight times and ended up with more stripes than a tiger whilst still being no more than a jumped-up Lance Corporal (then again German enlisted and NCO ranks have never ceased to fascinate me - there are far too many of them).

Mass military conscription just doesn't fit any current model of first-world warfare.

Date: 2007-09-07 10:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I assure you, I hate the idea of National Service too. I was just bemoaning the ridiculousness of a voluntary programme aimed at exluded young people.

Date: 2007-09-07 11:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
still at least in Germany one has the option to do a kind of Civil Service too.

Date: 2007-09-07 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I can think of a lot of youth organisations that were "strictly voluntary". You know... the Young Pioneers. The Hitlerjugend. Lots of outdoor fun and no worrying intellectual dissidence.

Ah, it's lovely to be living on Daily Mail Island.

Date: 2007-09-07 10:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here's a thought, maybe those who are insufficiently academic will discover there is more to life. Compulsory 6am reading of Principia Mathematica followed by group discussion of logical positivism vs falsifiability, and an afternoon grappling with Cantor's diagonal argument.

Now fuck off, Cameron.

Date: 2007-09-07 12:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


Date: 2007-09-12 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
* drags toe in dirt *

* bored tone *

An equal and opposite reaction, sah.

Date: 2007-09-07 10:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Every time I try and write something about this I end up tripping over the mass of different stupidities.

Date: 2007-09-07 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ha! I was on the school football and cricket teams so I am safe from the salt mines voluntary service. It does sound a bit like Cameron thought "well, loads of people were thick and anti-social at Eton and that didn't matter because they spent all their time on the playing field and then went on to cushy jobs in the city."

Also, think of the infrastructure. You are going to need loads of - *gasp* - civil servants to administer this.

Date: 2007-09-07 12:00 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] rho
Despite the many, many worthy contenders, the bit of this that pisses me off the most is the pledging allegiance to Britain part, especially it being compulsory to finish the scheme. Truly pledging allegiance to something is not something that should be taken lightly, nor something that should be coerced. It's basically encouraging young people to throw around words and phrases willy-nilly without actually thinking about what they're saying; essentially, it encourages them to become liars.

Date: 2007-09-07 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
David Cameron is a fucking moronic twat. Yes, because it's bookish types we should be targeting as being a threat to society! God, I'm angry...

Date: 2007-09-07 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But they're the ones who think and write and influence the masses- look what happenned with that pesky Thomas Paine chap.


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Mat Bowles

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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats & the membership secretary for Calderdale Lib Dems and run the web campaign for the local candidates. I have a job, a stepdaughter and a life.

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