Thursday, September 06, 2007

The latest new thing for da yoof

David Cameron has announced what the Sun calls “an imaginative and optimistic idea”. It is:

Every 16-year-old will be expected to devote their summer holiday to “patriotic” national service under radical Tory plans to be unveiled today. They will give up six weeks to put something back into Britain.

Teenagers will NOT be forced by law to take part in the [National Citizen Service].

And, in case you were wondering,

Mr Cameron admits the programme has yet to be costed.

The idea certainly sounds optimistic. It’s hardly imaginative, though. It’s been proposed before.

In January 2006, a similar idea was announced:

Forcing school leavers to do three or four months of community service could help bring people together, Tory leader David Cameron has said. …
He will say his "instinct" is for the scheme to be compulsory.

Clearly his instinct failed him, as the ‘new’, ‘radical’ proposal is only voluntary. Back then, he thought:

If it isn't compulsory or if it isn't universal it could tend to be something else that well-off families do because it's good for their kids but it would not actually reach some of the most marginalised families and excluded children who actually would really benefit.

Oh well.

He also announced the scheme in November 2005, and before that in August 2005, under the imaginative and optimistic leadership of Michael Howard.

But it’s good to see these ideas from the Tories, even if they’re not new. You’d never get anything like this from Gordon Brown. Well, apart from back in March 2005:

A million volunteers will be recruited over the next five years under the UK's first national community service, Gordon Brown announced yesterday.
A £150m national framework for youth volunteering is intended to see 16 to 25-year-olds offered a range of opportunities within their local communities, elsewhere in Britain or overseas.

They could offer their time and skills in areas including health, heritage and culture, community safety, sport, conservation and education. The scheme would match young people's "idealism and their willingness to serve with the needs of communities across our country and internationally", Mr Brown said.

The government-funded, charity-led scheme has been up and running for over a year.

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