The great National Service debate: Mail writers and readers give their opinions ... trends now

The great National Service debate: Mail writers and readers give their opinions ... trends now

It’s the debate that captivated – and divided – the nation. 

After Rishi Sunak revealed exclusively to The Mail on Sunday his plan to reintroduce National Service, a staggering 20,000 Mail readers commented online. 

The Prime Minister says it will cost £2.5 billion – with one in ten 18-year-olds required to serve 12 months in the military and the rest doing civic roles – and is modelled on successful schemes in European countries. 

Now read how it has gone down with the public...

After Rishi Sunak (pictured) revealed exclusively to The Mail on Sunday his plan to reintroduce National Service, a staggering 20,000 Mail readers commented online

After Rishi Sunak (pictured) revealed exclusively to The Mail on Sunday his plan to reintroduce National Service, a staggering 20,000 Mail readers commented online

Mr Sunak said the 'reinvented' scheme would 'provide life-changing opportunities for our young people'

Mr Sunak said the 'reinvented' scheme would 'provide life-changing opportunities for our young people'

FOR

'What a great idea. It will give kids and teenagers something to focus on instead of hanging around the streets and intimidating others. Knife crime and drugs trafficking will go down. It will teach them discipline and give them a sense of importance and responsibility.' 

Fairness to all, London

'When I was in the RAF in 1961, the last National Service men were there. They were grateful because when they were called up they had no trade, but were leaving as qualified electrical engineers. One of the boys on my watch was given a choice of either going to prison or enlisting voluntarily. He made something of his life.'

- PatN127, Kirk Ella, Yorkshire

'In fairness, I do think a lot of kids would benefit. Most kids have no structure, no meaning or goals. I agree that most are probably not for the job, but what they can take away from it will add value to how they plan and discipline themselves in life.'

- Stellawoos, Guildford

'Great idea. Many countries have an 18-month national service programme and it’s better that than going to university to get indoctrinated with useless degrees and Left-wing poison...'

- shefski1, Glasgow

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'Absolutely spot on. Private schools have the Combined Cadet Force for students. It should be available for all.'

- Bran Flakes, London

'Anybody who disagrees with this are the parents who still treat their 20-somethings like babies, still living at home, doing their washing, paying their bills etc. I’d sign my daughter up in a heartbeat if she was still lazing about at home at 17 or 18!'

- Dude next door, Aberdeen

'As a mum of two young adults, I agree to all he has suggested if they are not in education or working full-time. My son is in sixth form and works two jobs.'

- yola73, Liverpool

'I mean as an Austrian with a constitution that ensures neutrality, we have National Service for nine months and I think it’s a great idea! Discipline and you do something good for the country!'

- TheAlucard, Southampton

'Conscription here in Sweden works and is accepted by all. Swedish people are very proud of their country and will fly the national flag at every opportunity.'

- HMRC, Stockholm, Sweden

'In theory it’s a great idea, but I wouldn’t envy the people who had to try to turn a bunch of entitled 18-year-olds into disciplined soldiers who will accept orders without question. Can you imagine, in the middle of a live firing exercise, someone needs to answer their phone, or send a text? Ban their phones and there would be a riot.'

- lillylouise, Wolverhampton

'This is the type of policy we need to win the culture war. Bring it back for all 18 to 30-year-olds and make benefit claimants do it as well: no National Service, no handouts.'

- John, Cambridgeshire

'Given the choice, most would opt for community service work, only a minority would opt for some sort of services training. Either way it might instil some structure and routine to their lives and introduce them to future potential career options.'

- Muon389, UK

Under plans that will be in the Conservative manifesto all 18-year-olds would have to do paid military service for a year or unpaid community work one weekend a month.

Under plans that will be in the Conservative manifesto all 18-year-olds would have to do paid military service for a year or unpaid community work one weekend a month.

AGAINST

'National Service is a terrible idea. A modern military needs a well-trained, specialised force, not a bunch of 18-year-olds who don’t want to be there. We need soldiers who have the right mental strength and resilience and drive, from the start, and actually choose the military as a career.'

- ReportAngleOwl, London

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'What is this fantasy? Most school leavers won’t pass the medical or basic fitness and the Army has nothing like the required facilities to cope.'

- username42, United Kingdom

'As someone who has served, let me tell you that you’ll have a difficult time finding people in the Armed Forces that would be chuffed at the prospect of having to babysit a bunch of teenagers that don’t want to be there.

'There’s also the cost . . . Boarding, food, kit, the instructors, etc. That money would be better spent on improving the wages and careers of those who are already serving and would help to encourage more young people to willingly join up.'

- Richi K, Tokyo, Japan

'Young people have better things to do with their time for their future than being shouted at on a parade ground by a sadistic sergeant-major or peeling potatoes in Aldershot. Sunak forgets young people have the vote too and Labour are almost certainly going to have a slogan: "Vote Labour to stop National Service."'

- Roscoe5, London

'This will appeal to the dying breed of Alf Garnetts who are still able to get to a polling station or put a cross on a piece of paper, but not to the young people who will have to waste their time in doing this nonsense. What penalties will be faced by those who refuse to comply?'

- Cat_nip, Nonsuch, Surrey

'Get a job OR do National Service perhaps. But to penalise my 17-year-old who is doing three A-levels and works three jobs (in caring roles) is not acceptable. Why punish the hard working when he just wants to get people off benefits? Overhaul the benefits system.

'Sunak has no grasp on reality at all, you can’t even accidentally call someone by the wrong pronoun and he’s expecting to force this age group to do National Service?'

- Blinkeredtho, Sussex

'So our young do National Service, while illegal migrants get housed and given benefits. Guessing this will be for poorer kids. Zero chance of the elite’s children having to do this. The Conservatives are going to lose the election, and it is what they deserve.'

- bc67, Hereford

'Quick way for me to not vote Tory — as if I want my 13-year-old to have to sign up for this.'

- around in circles, United Kingdom

'National Service would never work. Too many would have an excuse. You need people who want to serve and you do that by rewarding them through a decent salary, career progression and make them want to defend their country. In this country you’d get into trouble if you flew the Union Jack in your garden. You’re not allowed to be patriotic.'

- nzxt, Hebburn, Tyne and Wear

'When we last had National Service we were coming out of World War II where

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