National service, more questions than answers

# The Announcement
The PM Rishi Sunak recently announced that, if the Conservative government is re-elected that they would bring back national service. Like anything in politics, the devil is in the detail, what he actually said was ‘some form of national service.’
# The Interpretation
The mainstream media and the national conversation have assumed that it would take the form of uniformed, military national service. It could, conceivably, see some 18-year-olds in uniform and some working in community centres and old people’s homes, much like the Swiss model. This is known as ‘civilian service’.
# Let’s Assume…
For the sake of argument, let us assume the PM means military service. If so, what would this look like? Would the conscripted soldiers be trained, live, potentially fight and even potentially die alongside their volunteer brothers and sisters in arms? Or would the conscripted soldiers form their own units. If so, who would lead and train them? In an army where there are massive shortages of personnel this would be a challenge.
# Eligibility?
Who would be eligible for this national service? Would young people who are planning on a career which requires university education and years of commitment to study, doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects be exempt? Would jobs vital to the economy but that are in short supply now, plumbers, electricians, mechanics escape the draft? What about young people from migrant families new to the UK. Would they be expected to participate? What if they come from countries which have a hostility, based on recent geopolitics, to the British army or who could (however remote) pose a security threat?
# What’s the Plan?
If we remove the political game play such an announcement could be designed to achieve and consider it purely on its merits or demerits on the individuals who it targets, what is the overall objective of the plan?
Is it to instil some discipline and character into our wayward young people. If so, a couple of years square bashing and physical exercise will certainly go some way to achieving that. Is it to support our cripplingly under manned (and under womaned) regular army? In which case it would probably fail.
# Conclusion
I am not convinced you can ‘make’ a solder. As the (very) old army recruitment slogan used to read, ‘the army, if you have it in you, we’ll bring it out’.
What if you do not have it in you? 

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