Monday, 21 July 2008

NEETional Service

Not least following the wholly unremarkable revelation that one in five 16 and 17-year-olds isn’t doing anything, we need universal and compulsory – non-military, but uniformed, ranked and barracked – National Service between secondary education and tertiary education or training.

As much as anything else, this would send people to university that little bit worldly-wiser, which would not only be good for academic and behavioural standards, but would also drain such swamps as Marxism, anarcho-capitalism, and the marriage of the two in neoconservatism. No one who had been around a bit would ever fall for such things for one moment.

Of course, that is also a very good reason for broadening the social and socio-economic base from which students (and, indeed, academics) are drawn, instead of “widening participation” by abolishing everything in which one might wish to participate, and then only letting in the offspring of the upper middle classes anyway, on the smug assumption of having done one’s bit. There was no threat to gowns, or Latin graces, or black and even white tie functions, or what have you, in the days when even Oxford and Cambridge were massively dominated by products of the state sector, and most private schools were barely academic at all. On the contrary, these were exactly the reasons why people had gone there.

From the grammar schools.

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