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How to Solve Unemployment

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Outside the main gate of RAF Wittering, on the A1 in Cambridgeshire, just past the funny old sign that says ‘Beware: Camp Entrances’, is a shiny new sign saying: ‘Now Recruiting’. It’s there outside RAF Scampton, on the A15 in Lincolnshire, too. And then in a lay-by on the A165 in East Yorkshire there’s a big camouflage-green truck with a sign suggesting that if you’d like to drive it, you should think about joining the army.

Back in London, on every other phone box (which are surely just glorified advertising billboards these days) I see there’s an army recruitment ad, reminding people that doctors and engineers are needed too; it’s not all about killing and being killed. (Though there is plenty of that, as this in-no-way-glorifying video makes clear.)

It’s a threefold solution to a few of the government’s ills: more cannon fodder for the war they’re losing in Afghanistan; taking up the advertising slack as the private sector tightens its belt to keep a bit of cash circulating through the calcifying economy; and finding something to do with at least some of the growing numbers of the unemployed. Even the BBC is in on the act: the Easter special of Doctor Who ended with the Doctor effectively press-ganging a pair of young men into joining up.

Comments on “How to Solve Unemployment”

  1. Boris says:

    Frustratingly, my computer won’t let me watch the YouTube video linked to here. “This video is not available in your country,” it says — and I’m in the UK. What’s going on? Is the British army not interested in recruiting the British?

  2. Thomas Jones says:

    Ah. That would be because the Performing Rights Society is having a scrap with YouTube about how little money artists get from the site, which has led to pretty much all official music videos on YouTube being inaccessible in the UK.

    The song in question is the Cold War Kids’ marvellous ‘Something is Not Right with Me’, which includes the lines: ‘I try to call you collect/you say you will not accept/your friends are laughing/’cos nobody uses payphones.’ You could listen to it on Spotify, perhaps…

  3. requiemapache says:

    If you passed RAF Scampton a couple of decades ago you would have enjoyed a far more compelling piece of outdoor advertising; a Lancaster bomber of the variety that 617 Squadron flew from Scampton in World War Two and made iconic after Operation Chastise. Outhttp://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/198631 The bomber stood gate guard for many years, accompanied by a bouncing bomb and a Grand Slam bomb, the latter of which was later found to be active the entire time.
    The efficacy of Lancaster bombers in recruitment can be reassessed next year, when Peter Jackson’s remake of The Dambusters comes out.

  4. Grand-Pianos.org…

    Hello ;) Thanks heaps for this indeed!… if anyone else has anything, it would be much appreciated. Great website Super Piano Links http://www.en.Grand-Pianos.org Enjoy!…

  5. Thomas Jones says:

    Yes, it’s spam, but what charming spam. Grand pianos!

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