Film director Ken Loach, in a recent interview, said that the most enlightening period of his life came through National Service, due to the opportunity to mix with men from all backgrounds.

That window closed 60 years ago, so now we have a situation where the majority of people in charge of education and health, having only experienced the private aspects, can have little or no empathy with the vast majority of the country.

National Service doesn’t have to be about square bashing. In the 1930s President Roosevelt came up with a series of public works which included the Civilian Conservation Corps. Through the course of its nine years in operation, three million young men and women between the ages of 18-21 participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 per month.

The CCC planted a billion trees to help reforest America and constructed trails, lodges and related facilities in more than 800 parks nationwide. They also built a network of service buildings and public roadways (cycle ways?). Unemployment ended, the environment was given tender loving care and the workers gained massive self-respect and fitness. Just planting a seed...

Brian McCusker, Hartoft Street, York