Yes, the governments newest solution to insurgent working class youth in deprived proletarian areas is to set up clubs run by Youth United, an umbrella group of “uniformed” youth organisations, including the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and…Police Cadets.

Baden-Powell would be proud, since he originally set-up the Scouts to teach boys from all classes to respect the social hierarchy and to prepare them to defend the Empire – or, as he put it in Scouting for Boys, to ‘be a brick’ in the ‘wall of Empire’. There was also the issue of physical fitness, since the Victorian/Edwardian working class was generally malnourished, worn down by 10-12 hour days and had miserable housing conditions. The poor performance of the British army during the Boer war against the far healthier and robust  farmers of the Veldt only added to Upper-Class fears of ‘racial degeneration’.  A government report published shortly after the war found that 40-60 per cent of volunteers for the army had been rejected because they were physically unfit for service- nothing to do with an exploitative class society of-course. Although Powell maintained that the Scouts were a ‘peace corps’ because they didn’t do military drill, he openly admitted that the Boy Scouts were a ‘potential recruiting ground’ for the military, and claimed that 70 per cent of scouts went into the army, which is where their scouting, healthy outdoor activities and ‘Field craft’ came in handy. In line with his reactionary and militarist viewpoint of producing an improved ‘national stock’, Powell was more than happy to forge stronger ties with the Nazi Hitler Youth, meeting with German ambassador Joachim von Ribbentrop and Hitler Youth chief of staff Hartmann Lauterbacher on November 19, 1937 (as revealed in now-declassified MI5 files…
We can only wonder how uniforms, patriotism, ‘sound moral values’ and respect for the social hierarchy will go down on the streets and estates of our cities, and how popular ‘winning badges’ and ‘fixing woggles’ will be when compared to the other delights of an skint urban adolescence…I can only marvel at the sheer ignorance and stupidity of our political masters, stuck as they are in another era of a patronising Upper-Class contempt for the ‘lower orders’ and their ‘betterment’…



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