Tag Archives: national service

The Tories throw the unfunded kitchen sink at the election

Desperate. The only word I can think of to describe this faltering, backfiring, sinking ship of a government. Oh wait, no, I accidently came up with four others. Not hard, I guess.

The Tories have, in the days since the announcement of the election, made some characteristically random and seemingly unfunded commitments for the sole objective of scraping up whatever support they have left. First, the announcement of national service, mandatory for all 18 year olds if they win. Thankfully, the government will give these young adults a choice: one year of military service or 25 days of community volunteering. Or they don’t do it at all because the government says they won’t arrest anyone who refuses. So it’s not mandatory. Now, at the time of writing this, they also announce a ‘triple lock plus’ or ‘quadruple lock’ meaning that pensioners will not pay income tax on their state pension. Punishing the younger generation as, to pay for this, everyone else will have to pick up the slack.

Posted in Op-eds | 31 Comments

27 May 2024 – today’s press releases

  • 92% of burglary cases go unsolved in some areas as Lib Dems call for police response guarantee
  • Fining parents will lead to “national service tax”

92% of burglary cases go unsolved in some areas as Lib Dems call for police response guarantee

  • Ed Davey warns “too many families now feel unsafe in their own homes” as new figures show some areas see over nine in ten burglary cases go unsolved
  • Liberal Democrats will call for Burglary Response Guarantee in manifesto to ensure all domestic burglaries are attended by a police officer
  • At least 85% of burglary cases went unsolved in Michael Gove’s local area of Surrey Heath and Jeremy Hunt’s in Waverley

The Liberal Democrats will tomorrow announce their plans for a Burglary Response Guarantee, as new data uncovered by the party reveals the shocking scale of unsolved burglaries in local areas across England and Wales.

The figures were compiled from a series of Freedom of Information requests by the party, which for the first time have broken down unsolved burglaries data by local area. 33 of 43 police forces across England and Wales provided full responses with data provided for 329 local areas.

Official government figures show that nearly 76% of burglaries went unsolved in 2023. However, the new Liberal Democrat figures expose a disturbing postcode lottery, with some local areas seeing even worse outcomes than the national average. Elmbridge – home to Dominic Raab’s constituency of Esher and Walton – had the worst record in the country, with a staggering 92% of burglaries going unsolved in 2023. 91% of burglaries went unsolved in South Cambridgeshire, while 90% of cases went unsolved in Runnymede in Surrey.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

The National Service proposal is an authoritarian disgrace: liberals should call it out as typical coercive Tory populism

Perhaps it was all a grand bluff. It is just possible that when the various panicked policies currently coming out of CCHQ were conceived, Rishi Sunak’s true intention was to hit enough trigger points for enough people that they rouse themselves in fury, join other parties and reinvigorate popularly engaged democracy on a mass scale. Maybe that is the true Sunak legacy, revealed like the final move in an elegant game of chess. I doubt it though.

The Conservative Party believe in a mythical creature – ‘ordinary people’ – and thinks it understands what they want. It has an instinctual, hazy vision of who that is. The ordinary person is probably employed, probably not in the public sector unless they are in the better paid white-collar end of it, probably has or wants children, has or wants to own a home and run a car, probably aspires to the suburbs – homo economicus, with a quietly patriotic sheen. MacMillan had a version of this concept, so did Thatcher, Major and Cameron. Johnson refocused it to make it altogether more brexity, and temporarily changed the Tory coalition to his short-term benefit and long-term cost (wide, shallow lakes cover more space but evaporate more easily).

The key thing to understand about this mindset is the way it informs policy announcements, especially in the build up to or during elections. When DWP ministers talk about punitive and vilifying reform of welfare services, they’re not talking to people who use them, they’re talking to the ‘ordinary people’. When education ministers pronounce upon the apparent dangers of ‘contested ideology’, all while insisting schools make explicit statements on British values (a contested concept if ever there was one) they aren’t addressing the parents of children who are questioning their gender and need empowering support – they are addressing their mythical ordinary people. So today, when Sunak announces that 18-year-olds will be conscripted into either military service or community ‘volunteering’, he is not talking to the young people he is planning to force into work; he’s offering bromides and comfort to his unicorn of ordinariness in the hope that it will vote for him. Never let it be said that the right don’t virtue signal.

Posted in Op-eds | 18 Comments

The problem the Tory “National Service” idea is trying to solve

Most people who read this site are well used to being sickened to their stomachs by not just Conservative policy ideas but what they have done in practice.  In the past few months alone, we’ve seen them pick on disabled people, sick people, vulnerable people seeking safety in this country, people coming to this country to share their skills in the workplace and pay taxes,  trans people and anyone over 50 who isn’t working full time.

Today their big idea insults a generation of young people who have been failed by the Conservatives in spectacular style. A generation who, for the first time in a long time, is less well off than their parents.  According to the Conservatives, the way to fix this generation is national service, forcing them into either a year of military service, or 12 weekends of volunteering.  At a cost of £2.5 billion.

It doesn’t take long to think of better uses for that sum. Perhaps more housing so that young people don’t have to live with their parents into their 30s, perhaps by removing the discrimination in the minimum wage, perhaps by increasing social security to help the 1 in 4 children growing up in poverty, perhaps by making sure young people in distress can access mental health treatment quickly, perhaps by rebuilding youth services so young people can get the support they need in their communities. Perhaps by doing more to save the planet for future generations.

And then you come to the practicalities of all of this. Many young people are stuck in low quality, minimum wage jobs where they are treated badly – and which require them to work at weekends. And will they get expenses for travel to and from their volunteer placement? What if they are carers, or parents, or disabled?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

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