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UK: Sunak pledges to reinstate compulsory service

Monday, May 27th 2024 - 06:57 UTC
Full article 26 comments
Russia's response to Ukraine using British weapons for invasion purposes might include the Falkland Islands Russia's response to Ukraine using British weapons for invasion purposes might include the Falkland Islands

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced Sunday that if he wins July's snap elections he will bring back conscription whereby all 18-year-olds would be required to either join the military full-time or volunteer one weekend per month with community organizations such as the police or National Health Service (NHS).

Sunak argued that compulsory service would help revive the “national spirit” and “provide life-changing opportunities for our young people.”

“This is a great country but generations of young people have not had the opportunities or experience they deserve and forces are trying to divide our society in this increasingly uncertain world,” he added.

“I have a clear plan to address this and secure our future. I will bring in a new model of National Service to create a shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride in our country,” he went on.

The prime minister also spoke of “life-changing opportunities” to learn “real-world skills, do new things, and contribute to their community and our country.”

“As a father, I look forward to my own two daughters doing their National Service: I think they will find it a rewarding experience,” the Conservative leader pointed out. Arresting youngsters who refuse to comply is a possibility, it was also reported.

If re-elected, the Conservative Party will establish a Royal Commission to finalize a “National Service Program” and launch the pilot in September next year, it was also reported.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the plan to reintroduce national service was drawn up in secret and its need stemmed from “growing international threats posed by countries such as Russia and China.”

Last week, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow would retaliate if Ukraine used British weapons against targets inside Russia in the ongoing war. The UK has pledged to provide £3 billion (US$ 3.75 billion) per year in military assistance to Ukraine.

In Zakharova's opinion, Russia's military response could target British overseas territories such as the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, and other domains elsewhere. Her remarks came after British Foreign Secretary David Cameron stated that Ukraine has the right to use weapons supplied by London to attack targets inside Russia. For that episode, Britain's Ambassador to Moscow was cautioned that Cameron's words showed a serious escalation of tensions between the two countries.

Russia's attacking a British target might trigger a direct military response from Britain and also NATO allies, increasing the risk of an even wider and more complex international conflict.

In any case, Sunak's latest announcement represented a policy shift after the Conservative Government denied in January this year any intention to reinstate conscription after Chief of the General Staff Gen. Patrick Saunders said preparing for a potential land war would have to be a “whole-of-nation” undertaking. He praised European nations closer to Russia for “prudently laying the foundations for national mobilization.”

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said homes should be self-sufficient in case of events such as floods, power outages, cyber-attacks, or war. For that matter, households should start packing “emergency kits” containing enough bottled water and non-perishable for three days, in addition to flashlights and hygiene items.

Saunders, who has long argued for more military spending and is due to leave his job this year, said that “within the next three years, it must be credible to talk of a British Army of 120,000.”

“Taking preparatory steps to enable placing our societies on a war footing when needed are now not merely desirable but essential,” he also warned back in January.

Throughout its 364-year history, the British Army has mostly been an all-volunteer force, but conscription was introduced during WWI and WWII with the National Service ending in 1960. In recent decades, the British Armed Forces have seen significant cuts, with the number of troops falling by more than a quarter between 2010 and 2024.

Top Comments

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  • FIdescendent

    Here we go Tank the troglodyte has rediscovered his keyboard. Hold your horses everyone for what will be an undoubtedly wonderful and mesmerising insight are we going to see from this paragon of bullsh*t!

    May 27th, 2024 - 09:50 pm +2
  • imoyaro

    “we will be a neutral peace zone selling to both sides”

    How droll, you're guaranteed one nuclear strike at least...

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espacio_Lejano_Station

    May 28th, 2024 - 02:06 am +2
  • Jo Bloggs

    There’s one thing I do know, and that is that they don’t like it up ‘em!

    May 28th, 2024 - 07:46 pm +2
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