The NUT's attitude towards Armed Forces recruitment is childish

As a member of the NUT, I find myself in the embarrassing position of being completely at odds with one of the Unions conference decisions.

The NUT is calling for an end to schools co-operating with armed forces recruitment centres, because they claim that the MoD are using "sophisticated" methods to lure youngsters, often in deprived areas, into the armed forces.

From what the NUT are saying, they are likening the Armed Forces to some sort of paedophile grooming a child for abuse or like some sort of wacky religious cult luring an impressionable child away from their parents. Anyone though who knows anything about the armed forces knows this is not true.

There are, sadly, some in the NUT, much like those in a whole host of unions, who still live the left wing Utopian dream, of an army of politically motivated socialists with political commissars directing what should happen. And for these Utopian lefties, the British Armed Forces represents a branch of a state they despise, in in being a branch of the state they see it as something to be undermined and attacked. The truth is that this NUT attack is politically motivated and has very little to do with children.

The NUT representative who proposed the motion to the NUT conference said

"They are too young to vote, too young to drink, too young to drive, but they are considered old enough to sign up for years in the armed forces without being fully aware of what they are signing themselves up for in their lives,"

But hang on, aren't these the same children that we as teachers claim to have educated by the age of 16 ? Aren't these the same children who most of us feel should be able to have the vote at 16 ? It strikes me that most teachers expect that at the age of 16 a child should behave like an adult and should be able to go in to the adult world, but some in the NUT feel that they should only be able to enter the adult world so long as they do not join a branch of the state that those radical NUT teachers despise. Hypocrisy ? What do you think ?

The NUT also make the point that the armed forces recruit more heavily in economically deprived areas, seemingly unaware that this has always been the case since the times of the Napoleonic wars, and probably before then too. Outside of commissioned officers, the armed forces has always recruited from people with lower academic grades and from people in lower socio-economic circumstances. The NUT seems to believe this is wrong. I disagree.

The armed forces provides an opportunity for many to get some discipline in their lives, for many it lift them out of poverty, out of crime, indeed, for many it is something of a life saver. A friend of mine left the army about three years ago. He, by his own admission, came from a family where petty crime was the norm. He does not know who his father is, his mum is in and out of prison whilst other members of his family remain very much stuck in a crime filled estate in the North East of England, in his words "stuck in a desperate rut but with no inclination to lift themselves out of it". My friend, upon leaving the armed forces had the chance to join the police, but instead has started his own business very successfully, and is the epitome of everything that the armed forces would be proud of. A man with self control, strong family values and a success. Would he have been these things with having joined the army ? Of course he wouldn't. My friend's own view is that he would be in prison by now if he hadn't joined the army.

The NUT should be worried about education, not what children choose to do with that education. If we are to turn out pupils fit for the adult world then when they leave school we should allow them to make adult choices. Allowing the armed forces in, like any other employer, gives children options.


Johnny Norfolk said...

The NUT has always been a left wing organisation trying to undermine and subvert our country.You should resign and have nothing to do with them.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Any teacher who is not part of a union is a fool.

It only takes one malicious allegation and you are totally reliant on the union for support.

I also know of one friend who had a problem with a headteacher who victimised them and the NUT sorted it out very succesfully in a way that the local education authority was not interested.

Johnny Norfolk said...

You dont need unions any more most of what they wanted is now covered by legislation , rightly so in most cases. You can take a bad employer to a tribunal and they have to prove their case. The unions pray on your fear and are worse than the employers of old.
You can find a less militant teachers union if you have to have a crutch.

Bishop Brennan said...

Good to find your blog (although don't read mine - it's gratuitously offensive, and prob won't appeal to your liberal tendencies...), via Mr Dale.

A very sensible post... but this (and your comment on Iain's blog) raise some important questions for me:

- Why is it not possible to arrange the kind of support services people want outside a union(and I'm a member of a public service union too, albeit not one that appears to have Nu-Labour waste-of-space leaders, rather than Trotsky-ites like the average NUT rep)?

- Are you genuinely being forced to be a member of the NUT? What form does this force take?

- What would be your solution for sorting out those schools where teaching appears to be run by the extremists for their benefit, and from which many children from less-well-off families cannot escape. As a LibDem, presumably you don't like the Swedish system?


Norfolk Blogger said...

You are not forced to be in any Union when you become a teacher, but any teacher not joining a union is really asking for trouble.

I know in Norfolk of head teachers not giving some teachers their PPA time (essentially the 10% of the week non teaching for planning and preparation), there are head teachers who have increased school hours beyond the legal allowed time without consultation with staff and in many other cases of the usual workplace bullying. Fortunately my school has an enlightened management team and the Union really are never needed, but any teacher, particularly those in secondary schools know they are only one malicious allegation away from being in deep shit, and your union comes in to its own at this point.

I could give you other examples, but as unions representing workers and ensuring their rights, the teaching unions do a good job and are worth the money. Its just a shame that some redical lefties can hijack a conference and give all teachers a bad name.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I just dont know how you can put up with this union saying what it has. does no one have any self belief anymore. Britain was renowed fot its individuality but people are now happy to kow tow and be just part of the collective. I could not live with myself if I just conformed like this, I find it very sad.

Anonymous said...

At least you, Nick, have a choice of unions. We in the univ sector only have UCU - which is dominated by UCU left.

Forgive my anonymity!