We're entirely amazed at the persistence of truly terrible ideas

We shouted at Dave when he suggested national service for 16 years olds. On the very simple grounds that demanding people go off and work as you insist they do, without a choice, is slavery. Looking back further we've long been appalled that this country had peacetime military conscription post WWII and we're really not sure about the validity of the legal insistence even in times of war.

Yet as has been noted by others really bad ideas do keep being revived

Now, conscription is a scary idea; associated with the great threats that come with war, so it is sure to antagonise. But I believe we need to start treating the multiple environmental crises as the serious threat they are. We need to consider them in the same league as the threat presented by an army massed on our borders. This is not (just) a green manifesto. Eco stems from the Ancient Greek “oikos” and means home. Ecology, the study of the home; economy, its management. Eco-conscription is about working together for our collective home.

The benefits to society just in terms of physical and psychological wellbeing will undoubtedly be worth the investment

The benefits to our “home” of having people working on the land, reconsecrating the sacrilege of our industry, are immense. Reweaving the connections, rebuilding the Linescape will forge links for wildlife and for people.

We suppose it's not Maoism as this is supposed to be for the kids before they become students rather than a method of getting the students out of society's hair. Given that there's no mention of starving them while they are there it's not Pol Pot either. But it is still slavery, society stealing a year of the life of each and every youngster to do as they are damn well told rather than as they would wish.

We would also note that there's no shortage of those rural jobs out there, tens of thousands are available each and every picking season and near none of the youngsters want to touch them with a bargepole. At which point, you know, it is their life.

It's a common mental disorder that one or other of us knows what everyone else should be forced to do. Our own liberalism is based in the fact that we've not a scoobie about what will maximise the happiness of others, good grief, the existence of Simon Cowell proves that. Thus our basic prescription that people should be stopped from doing what damages the rights of others and after that left alone to do as they please.

You know, without being whipped into the fields just because they're 18 years old?