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Election and national service

As the general election approaches, political parties are unveiling policies to attract voters. Among these, none are more desperate or potentially dangerous than the Conservative Party's plan to reintroduce national service.

In his first major announcement of the election campaign, Rishi Sunak stated that a future Conservative government would reintroduce the scheme in 2025. This would require 18-year-olds either to join the military full-time for 12 months or to volunteer one weekend per month with community organisations such as fire, police, and NHS services.

Labour has criticised the scheme as 'unfunded' and accused the Conservatives of

undermining the armed forces by not maintaining adequate troop levels, without

opposing the concept of reintroducing national service.

Sunak’s announcement further reflects a trend of an increasingly aggressive UK foreign

policy and efforts to bolster support for the armed forces and greater militarisation.

Despite Conservative claims that the plan is not conscription, it cannot, in any way, be

described as far-removed.

The reaction to the policy has been predictably negative and it is clear that the scheme

would face significant resistance from young people. In anticipation of backlash, Home

Secretary James Cleverly has stated that 18-year-olds who refuse to participate would

not be imprisoned.

Earlier this year, the head of the British Army called for a 'citizen army' to prepare for a potential future conflict with Russia, referring to the British public as a ‘pre-war

generation’ and sparking speculation about the return of conscription. At that time, the

Conservative government swiftly denied any intention to reintroduce conscription.

With this policy announcement, conscription has quickly transformed from a historical

fact into an imminent threat that we must oppose at every opportunity. This government

initiative transparently aims to instill everyday militarism and nationalist fervor to support

their reckless foreign policy in the lead-up to the general election. With the UK's military

spending and nuclear arsenal expanding rapidly, this move sends yet another

provocative signal to the rest of the world, ultimately making the world less safe.


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