National service should be brought back for out-of-work youngsters, a former Tory party chairman has claimed as he attacked “lives dominated by fecklessness”.
Norman Tebbit, one of Margaret Thatcher’s most loyal Cabinet Ministers during the 1980s, believes those aged between 18 and 21 and not in education, employment or training (Neets) should be forced to join a “disaster relief force” run with “military discipline”.
Lord Tebbit, who famously claimed the unemployed should follow the example of his father who “got on his bike” to find work, argued such a relief force would boost the UK’s soft power around the world.
Writing in the Telegraph, Tebbit said: “Almost every survey of our society highlights the failure of our schools, social services, justice and prison services to save young people falling into lives dominated by fecklessness, drugs, crime and violence.
“But my vision of a Disaster Relief Force would be open to volunteers but compulsory as a form of national service for Neets.
“Also acting as an alternative to custodial punishment for offenders in the 18 to 21 age bracket, it would offer a new beginning for those otherwise at risk of a dreary cycle of crime and prison.”
As well as winning “hearts and minds” of those overseas, the relief force would also benefit society in the UK, Tebbit argued.
“I believe that the men and women serving in the force would return home from their missions with a sense of pride and a story to tell of adventures in distant lands.
“They would have become accustomed to discipline and acquired marketable skills, increasing their chances of getting decent jobs and lessening the chances of falling back into the grip of either social services or the criminal justice system.”
Despite believing the “admirable” International Development Secretary Priti Patel, would look favorably on the idea, Tebbit believes his vision will never be realised due to the “limited abilities of the Prime Minister’s chosen advisers.”
While Tebbit is calling for young people to be sent to disaster zones, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor demanded to know if Theresa May or Boris Johnson would visit the British Overseas Territories hit by Hurricane Irma.
French President Emmanuel Macron will be visiting one of his country’s territories in the Caribbean on Tuesday, and US President Donald Trump will travel to Florida to see affected areas.
Osamor said: “Boris Johnson was clear on Sunday that this is a national disaster being treated as though in Inverness, Dover or St Ives. Donald Trump is headed to Florida, and now Emmanuel Macron will visit St Martin tomorrow.
“But with the UK response to Irma drawing wide criticism, Theresa May is still to announce whether she or Boris Johnson will visit those most affected, look them in the eye and put their concerns at the centre of her government’s response plan.”
The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesperson told reporters today the Government is “doing everything we can to help” British citizens caught up in the hurricane.
He said: “RFA Mounts Bay was pre-positioned there in July ahead of hurricane season. What that meant was that aid supplies, specially trained military personnel and a helicopter were in the Caribbean when Irma hit, and they could start getting to Anguilla as soon as the hurricane passed.”