MP Proposes Conscription for the Unemployed

MP Richard Drax’s proposition to conscript unemployed individuals into the Armed Forces has stirred debate, raising questions about the role of national service in modern society. Here’s the full story.

A Modest Proposal

Since the creation of modern society, there has always been a certain number of people unable to find work, the unemployed, and for just as long, there has been a range of different ideas and policies on what to do about them.

Before the introduction of the welfare state, such people were either moved to the poor house or left to starve. Still, since society has slowly become kinder, that laissez-faire attitude to those left worse off under capitalism has been almost entirely unthinkable. 

Enter Tory MP Richard Drax, who, in an interview with The House magazine, made headlines with his controversial solution to the unemployment issue. 

Unemployed Conscription

Drax, a former army captain, suggested that individuals who repeatedly reject job offers should face conscription into the Armed Forces to encourage them to contribute to society. Drax’s proposal revolves around the idea that individuals who refuse a certain number of job offers should be required to serve a two-year term in the Armed Forces. 

Drax said in the interview, “In some cases, particularly among some of the young, they have got to a point where, for whatever reason, they’re not prepared to contribute to our country and serve their country. If they can’t be encouraged to do that, then maybe we’ve got to a point where they should be told to do so.”

He continued: “And if they’ve refused three offers of a job, or whatever the number would be, and they say ‘I’m sorry, I’m not doing any of that’, you then say – in which case you must go and do two years in the Armed Forces.”

Arming Criminals

In addition to addressing unemployment, Drax also suggested that military service could be offered as an alternative to incarceration for certain crimes. 

Drax suggested, “Let’s say [a young person] has 10 pints of beer, slugs somebody, and is locked up for it. If you get that sort of behaviour, you could, as a magistrate, say to these young men and women, ‘You’ve got an option—if you’re a good boy or girl, you’ll come out, but you must do a year in the Armed Forces’.”

Drax’s proposal comes at a time when concerns about the size of the British Army have been in the headlines recently.

“Citizen Army”

General Sir Patrick Sanders, the Army’s outgoing Chief of the General Staff, has previously suggested turning civilians into a “citizen army” to prepare for future wars.

The idea of conscription harkens back to the era of national service, which was gradually phased out in the late 1950s following its introduction during World War II. 

Drax has previously supported reintroducing national service, stating, “We already spend billions of pounds on encouraging reliance on the state. Let’s spend that instead on instilling in people that life is about contributing, about service, and taking responsibility for one’s self.”

Beacons of Liberty

If Britain were to reintroduce national service, it would put the country in the same club as beacons of liberty, such as Iran, North Korea, and Russia.

Drax’s proposal has sparked some criticism from those who question the effectiveness of forced conscription in addressing the root causes of unemployment. Also, forcing individuals into military service as a form of punishment raises serious ethical or practical concerns.

28% Support

Despite the controversy surrounding Drax’s proposal, polls consistently show that 28% of the population would support reintroducing national service. That number is highest amongst those too old to be conscripted themselves. 

Proponents argue that it could instil a sense of discipline, responsibility, and national pride in young people while providing valuable assistance to the Armed Forces.

Richard Drax’s proposal to conscript unemployed individuals into the Armed Forces has once again brought the spectre of national service back into the national conversation. 

64% Against

Luckily for the unemployed or others, Drax would consider “a good boy or girl,” 64% of the country is against the reintroduction of national service, and following General Sir Patrick Sanders’ comments, the Ministry of Defence distanced itself from the idea. 

It seems that, for the time being, the unemployed are safe from being press-ganged into the Army, much to Drax’s presumed disappointment.

The post MP Proposes Conscription for the Unemployed first appeared on Pulse365.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Clive Chilvers.

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