David Lammy’s Army School for Rioters

17/07/2012

Huffington Post


There was a truly awful article in last week’s New Statesman by Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy, accusing ‘the left’ of a curmudgeonly attitude towards the government’s plans for military-staffed ‘service schools.’

Lammy condemns critics of the scheme for propagating the idea that ‘ servicemen and women are “brainwashed”, “killers”, and hell-bent on converting our sons and daughters to violence’ – arguments that he describes as ‘ nonsense – and offensive nonsense at that.’

With that strawman out of the way, he goes on to argue that

The military already play a hugely positive role in our schools. The Combined Cadet Force and Army Cadet Force are fantastic national institutions. These are organisations which offer adventure training, flying, sailing, white water rafting, and navigating Britain’s finest landscapes from Cornwall to the Cairngorms, all for free.

Of course all these activities could and should be available in schools. The problem is that neither school budgets nor the curriculum allow much space for them, not to mention the obsessive risk assessment process which makes schools reluctant to take their kids beyond the school grounds, let alone go canoeing in the Cairngorms.

There was a truly awful article in last week’s New Statesman by Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy, accusing ‘the left’ of a curmudgeonly attitude towards the government’s plans for military-staffed ‘service schools.’

Lammy condemns critics of the scheme for propagating the idea that ‘ servicemen and women are “brainwashed”, “killers”, and hell-bent on converting our sons and daughters to violence’ – arguments that he describes as ‘ nonsense – and offensive nonsense at that.’

With that strawman out of the way, he goes on to argue that

The military already play a hugely positive role in our schools. The Combined Cadet Force and Army Cadet Force are fantastic national institutions. These are organisations which offer adventure training, flying, sailing, white water rafting, and navigating Britain’s finest landscapes from Cornwall to the Cairngorms, all for free.

Of course all these activities could and should be available in schools. The problem is that neither school budgets nor the curriculum allow much space for them, not to mention the obsessive risk assessment process which makes schools reluctant to take their kids beyond the school grounds, let alone go canoeing in the Cairngorms.

But the ‘service schools’ idea is not just about inculcating a love of adventure and the outdoors. They are part of a process of re-militarising British society and transmitting values that are perceived to be superior to those of civil society.