Sunday, 12 April 2009

What did your last servant die of?*

My new find, Irfan Ahmed, says that Labour's plans for young people to do 50 hours of community service before they reach the age of 19 is 'slave labour'.

I think it's an excellent idea; my only gripe is that we've been talking about it for rather a long time, and it's about time we just got on with it. In a small way it will help address one of the issues I've blogged about on here before, i.e. the lack of opportunities for kids from certain backgrounds to participate in internships or gain work experience when they don't have 'important' contacts, and in many cases don't actually know what is out there in the world of work. How can you aspire to something if it's not within your horizon? OK, 50 hours isn't much (I wonder if Irfan thinks it's 50 hours a week?) but it will make a difference, I'm sure.

* And yes, the song titles are back, by special request.


timbone said...

I did something contrary to expectation when I was 15, I left school and joined the Army. Weston-super-Mare Grammar School for Boys did not like music, and I did not like them. People were surprised, (parents relieved), because I was a rebel, including playing drums in a pop group, doing gigs in youth and social clubs and not doing homework.

I spent four years as an Army Bandsman, before leaving to follow a musical education and career as a civilian.

So what did I learn besides how to play Colonel Bogey? I learnt self discipline, respect, being part of a team, problem solving, and many other worthwhile things.

From what I can fathom, most other civilised Countries in Europe and beyond still have a form of conscription/national service/full time community service. I also notice that they seem to have less of the teenage problems that we have, like binge drinking and teenage pregnancy.

Martin said...

In other words, you're ripping off Obama.

Oh, and the tories.

Martin said...

Also, notice how Timbone joined of his own free will and it worked well for him.

Compare to forcing people to work "for the community" (No, what's being sought here is alliegence to the state) would most probably only have counter productive results.

Anonymous said...

Yes Tim, think of all those young people just waiting to join the army and learn an exciting new career as a stain on some wall in Basra. Just fab.

(BTW, most other European countries still have some form of industry other than flim-flam and CIty spiv pyramid schemes, which may explain their lack of social problems. They also have this thing called a "society" which we don't.)

And "community service" - is this the same "community service" that's actually doled out to convicted criminals as a punishment? How will you punish those who try to avoid their "community service" then? Jailing, or fines?

Serfdom to the State. What a great idea. I'm sure that'll win some elections! (for the other parties)

Kerry said...

Like I said, we've been talking about it for years - it's based on the US Peace Corps I believe, which I don't think either the Tories or Obama can take credit for.

Shirking From Home said...

Hitler Youth?

timbone said...

haha Yes I suppose what I said looked like the grumpy old man saying 'bring back national service'. It was just an observation based on my own experience. Those who have seen other comments of mine will know that I am strongly opposed to being prescribed how to behave. It would just be beneficial if those still in their teens could receive some kind of education to give them some self worth, and take personal responsibility. I know that schools have 'personal and social education' on the curriculum - I used to teach it myself, but that is only theory, and goes in through one ear and out of the other in many cases.

I wonder what Jeremy Kyle would say!!

By the way Kerry, nice new layout, cleaner and more 'girlie' haha nooo I didn't say that last bit.

Anton Howes said...

No, there's a distinction here between universally available community service (which is good) and forced "volunteering" which of course is oxymoronic.

The real issue here is actually one of age. Compulsory education until the age of 18 isn't around (yet - 2015 if I recall correctly) and so forcing kids between the ages of 16 and 19 who are arguably old enough to make decisions for themselves is just wrong.

The real solution is one of availability of services that youngsters can give to their community, not forcing it. Forcing it would indeed by slave labour.

BTW to be fair to the Tories, they dropped the idea of making it compulsory in 2007, instead adopting the universally available model - credit where credit's due.

Anton Howes said...

Oh, btw it was the SLP that started the fbook campaign against it (though we like universally available, optional community service):

Kerry said...

I think it's 2013 - which isn't very far off. (NB it's education or training - not just about staying on at school). I agree that such a scheme would be a total failure if reluctant kids are forced to do 'voluntary' things for which they have no aptitude and even less interest. But whenever I've visited schools which already operate such schemes, the pupils seem to love it - especially when there are tangible results which will last for a long time (when they've helped redecorate or restore somewhere, for example). It's about making sure there are the right opportunities, so, for example, there are a lot of community art/ media projects in Bristol which I'm sure would be very attractive placements. The key thing, I think, is making sure that pupils leave school with more than just a knowledge of how to cram for exams.

Anonymous said...

Funny. I thought that the Peace Corps was voluntary.

You Labour-ites really don't understand the concept of "voluntary" do you?

vol·un·tar·y (vln-tr) (adj.)
1. Done or undertaken of one's own free will: a voluntary decision to leave the job.
2. Acting or done willingly and without constraint or expectation of reward: a voluntary hostage; voluntary community work.
3. Normally controlled by or subject to individual volition: voluntary muscle contractions.
4. Capable of making choices; having the faculty of will.
5. Supported by contributions or charitable donations rather than by government appropriations: voluntary hospitals.
6. Law
a. Without legal obligation or consideration: a voluntary conveyance of property.
b. Done deliberately; intentional: voluntary manslaughter.

The funny thing is Kerry, that the grumpy old men and women whom your party are appealing to with this policy almost all think that you're too soft on young people, immigruntz, etc, etc, etc anyway. They wouldn't be happy until you'd bought back the birch, capital punishment and maybe the colour bar to boot. So you won't pick up any votes from this, you will only alienate even MORE liberal types as you desperately try to appease the Right, because let's face it, everyone else is so disgusted with politicians that it's only incurably cynical right wingers that even bother to vote any more.