BBC PRESENTER Jeremy Paxman recently claimed that today’s youth is “hedonistic, selfish, and has no sense of duty.”
Speaking at the Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai, the BBC Newsnight host said that Britain isn’t up to another conflict like the Great War because the youth of today are “too selfish”
Tside reporter Steven Peirson, who is a membner of the Officers’ Training Corps, asked his young Army comrades what they thought of the 64-year-olds comments.
Rifleman Conor McTaggart, 23, from Gateshead who is attached to the Officers Training Corps said: “He doesn’t really have any idea what he’s talking about.”
“I can see what he means, looking at a lot of people who are selfish and wouldn’t last in the army.
“But there are a vast majority of people, especially looking at OTC (The Officer’s Training Corps) where people give up their free time to train, so there is a sense of duty.”
The comments that are featured in Paxman’s latest book: Britain’s Great War, come amid the decision to start withdrawing the remaining British forces out of Afghanistan.
Only a small number of troops remain at camp Bastion in Helmand Province and in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.
Molly Coombs, 19, of the Royal Intelligence Corps, attached to the Officers Training Corps, said: “The youth of today do have a high level of commitment, personally at 16 I got an Army bursary which means I committed to join the army for six years, so for me there is a high level of commitment.”
“I’ve met hundreds of other bursars so obviously the majority of the youth do have a sense of duty.”
Paxman’s comments also come amid worries that we are breeding a country for war through cadet forces.
This contradicts Paxman’s point that today’s youth doesn’t have a sense of duty.
There are currently 257 combined cadet forces in the UK, and each unit has at least 100 cadets.
Here we see more than 25, 700 children sacrificing their own time to complete courses of military training.
Officer Cadet Matthew Steen said: “I’m quite offended by Paxman’s comments to be honest.”
“Every war is unique, and with every unique war the circumstances change, so to make a sweeping generalisation like that is completely wrong.”