Of all the hare-brained suggestions that have made it into political manifestos for the upcoming general election in the UK, Rishi Sunak’s plan to reintroduce national service for 18-year-olds probably takes the cake. Young adults have not been forced by the government to line up against their will in this manner since Tottenham Hotspur last won the league in 1961. To think that today’s TikTok generation will take to the idea is laughable.

According to the prime minister, the proposed scheme will promote a “shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride” in the UK. Which raises the question: if it really is such a great idea, why did the Tories only think about it after they’ve been in government for an unbroken period of 14 years?..

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