30 October, 2006

David Cameron: the Young Adult Trust.

David Cameron, the well known blogger, Liberal and leader of the Conservative Party has a new big idea. It is, as the Guardian headline puts it, to "Make young people earn their rights".

Young people could be given their adult rights as a reward for completing a modern day national service scheme, the Tory leader, David Cameron, said today.

Linking rights to responsibilities would encourage youngsters to show they are responsible citizens, Mr Cameron said today as he challenged the notion that rights should automatically come with age.
It is not clear precisely what these "rights" are, only that they will be granted to 18-year-olds if they qualify for something called "adult status". Equally unclear, is the nature of "early adult status" which will be awarded to some, as yet unspecified, under 18s for some, as yet unspecified, demonstration of responsibility.

To further these ambitions, a new charity has been established, the Young Adult Trust. You can watch and hear the waffle on webcameron. Cameron seem to have in mind some sort of national course for school leavers. If this story runs, in a future post, I might don my educational historian's hat and detail the sad and sorry history of such courses, from the Continuation Colleges envisaged in the 1918 Education Act, through the Community Colleges which were a principal feature of the 1944 Education Act and on to the original 1981 conception of the Youth Training scheme (YTS). For now, it will have to suffice to say that the first two measures became dead letters because they were too expensive to realise and YTS ran into all sorts of political and technical problems.

Earlier today, Cameron visited a youth centre where a young adult called him a bastard and told him he did not know his arse from his elbow. It is not reported if the prescient youth was a certified responsible adult.

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