Dougie Brimson. Author, screenwriter, serial moaner.
That said, I do think that there is a very strong case to be made for some kind of compulsory service for anyone between 18 and 20 who is not in full time education. And by education I mean learning something useful such as medicine, teaching, engineering or science as opposed to the impact of 15th Century Peruvian art or the history of Hollyoaks.
My own view is that a scheme based on the military model but dedicated not to the use of weapons or even defence (teaching the use of weapons to individuals who you are trying to stop using weapons is slightly barking even for the British!) but to service in and to the country as a whole would be perfect.
Through such a scheme, not only would this so-called ’lost’ generation be provided with paid employment and be taught a trade, it would also learn the core values of British life generally, many of which are failing to be taught in schools or by parents (or parent) too many of whom seem to regard Jeremy Kyle with more reverence than their local coppers. Most importantly of all, they would discover that everything we do as individuals has a consequence for someone else. Or as it is better known, a conscience.
But equally, working with others would instil a sense of self-worth and that is something which does seem to be lacking in many of those dragged before the courts so admirably by the police this week.
The problem of course is that the adoption of such a system would involve a major sea-change in pretty much every aspect of British life and it would certainly not be popular with everyone under 18 which is why it will never happen. Because that age group also happens to be the next generation of voters and the party who proposes it would be committing political suicide.
And no matter how much hand-wringing and political gesturing we hear from10 Downing Streetor the House of Commons, the simple truth is that most politicians are too afraid of being kicked out of power to risk doing anything which might cost them a vote or two.
Which is exactly how we’ve ended up in this situation anyway.