Service schools: the new borstals
Let’s not mince words here.
For Labour to even consider the introduction of one Service School to each region of the country is a downright scandal, and it would be much better for the party if Stephen Twigg were reshuffled as quickly as possible, a long way away from any position of policy influence.
There’ll be plenty of leftie commentators along this afternoon to talk about how subjecting young people to military rule – to force them into cowed, resentful, but temporary submission before authority, rather than encouraring their creativity and intellectual/moral growth – is just about the stupidest idea Labour’s policy wonks have ever had. I bet Owen’s battering at the keyboard right now, and I expect I’ll agree with much of what he has to say. Christ, has Twigg not noticed that ex-servicemen are more likely to be serving sentences for violent and sexual offences than the general prison population, and that being in the forces does nothing at all, statistically, to make you a more law-abiding citizen? Has he not thought that through? Has he never met a group of squaddies on a night out? (Note: this is not blaming squaddies. It’s blaming the culture they’re forced to endure).
So as Owen et al are covering that, I’ll cover the policy implementation side. It is perfectly obvious, to anyone with a braincell, how regional service schools will develop. They will start out as bright, expensive, shiny military academies. They will soon, through the educational ‘managed transfer’ process which shuffles ‘difficult children’ around the schools system, become a key point of call, either subequent to or alongside Pupil Referral Unit (the current last port of call). They will become THE place for lads – and it will mostly be lads – who won’t do as they’re told, and they will in the process diminish the effectivenss of the Pupil Referral Units.
They will, in effect, be the new Borstals.
Welcome to 21st century Labour education policy: led by the nose by a Conservative ‘theologian’ whose one-card trick is to resdescribe the ’social failure’ brought by his party’s brand of economic policy in terms that blame the poor and the young, and whose understanding of the real world of education is just about zilch.
Stephen Twigg: you should be ashamed.