National Slavery

Well, we get the announcement today, that Cameron’s national service for teenagers is going ahead.

David Cameron is to outline details of the government’s planned national citizen service, aimed at getting 16-year-olds to work in the community.

I’m not so old that I cannot remember what it was like being sixteen. And at that age, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near this scheme. I was happy enough being a member of the scouts and as this organisation still exists, there is probably no need for another voluntary organisation.

After all, it is voluntary:

The prime minister launched plans for a voluntary national citizen service during the election campaign, sharing a platform with the actor Michael Caine.

Well, that’s all okay then, apart from the little matter of who is paying.


Ultimately it is the government’s aim to give every 16-year-old the opportunity to participate in an eight-week residential and home-based programme of events.

So it’s the New Labour definition of voluntary that we are using here; voluntary as in compulsory. There is a word for compulsory servitude. It’s an ugly word, that describes an ugly concept. That word is “slavery”.


  1. XX Ultimately it is the government’s aim to give every 16-year-old the opportunity to participate…XX

    So WHERE, in that, do you draw the “compulsory” conclusion?

  2. FT

    Part of the “compulsion” is that I – as a taxpayer – am going to be compelled to cough up for this crapola. Furthermore, as I’m sure you’re aware, these “voluntary” exercises have a habit of becoming, in effect, compulsory. Interviewees for jobs (especially in the public sector) and places at universities will be asked whether or not they’ve done their “voluntary” national citizen service: a “no” will be held against them. Of course, there won’t be exactly legal “slavery” – I’m sure LR was exaggerating for effect – but avoiding the NCS will have harmful consequences.

  3. FT, My bad, that article doesn’t exactly spell it out. However this one does.

    The scheme would initially be voluntary, but Mr Cameron set the goal of eventually ensuring that all 16-year-olds take part.

    Despite the softly, softly language of “opportunity” be under no illusion, that compulsory is the end game here.

    Umbongo, hyperbole maybe, but it’s disgraceful nonetheless.

  4. LR

    My bad this time – not hyperbole at all – your additional quote makes the voluntary=compulsory equation only too real.

  5. I’ve had a great idea!
    Why not give these 16 year olds jobs?
    You know, in factories and such like. Making things.
    The brighter ones could be taught trades, like ship building and plumbing and stuff.
    Oh, silly me.

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