For decades, it was the rallying cry for retired colonels, Alf Garnett wannabes and everyone who thought the country had gone to the dogs.
"Bring back national service!", they would cry.
From the end of the Second World War until 1963, Britain practised conscription during peacetime, as every young man was obliged to join the armed forces for up to two years.
Some died in places such as Korea, others were used for guinea pigs in atomic tests, and the whole idea was arguably alien to British traditions.
But the era of national service is also seen as a period when youngsters were taught discipline, camaraderie and loyalty to their country.
As those who remember national service grow older, calls for its return have faded.
But, perhaps surprisingly, the concept has been resurrected by new Conservative leader David Cameron.
Mr Cameron is far removed from the stereotyped right-wing Tory. He is young, keen on the environment and debt-relief, and has admitted to a wild moment or two when he was a youth.
So it follows that his concept of national service would be much fluffier than the original version.
Instead of joining the military, school leavers will do at least three months' community service.
Mr Cameron had originally planned to make the scheme compulsory, but has apparently been having second thoughts. The aim, however, is that every teenager takes part, whether through persuasion or coercion.
He calls his scheme "the national school leaver programme".
The idea is to give youngsters are chance to do something of value and to build up national cohesion.
The proposal, a prominent feature of Mr Cameron's campaign for the party leadership, addresses two pressing political issues.
The Government's frequent promises to crack down on anti-social behaviour are a response to concern about youth crime.
Labour politicians sometimes talk about targeting "teen gangs" and "young thugs".
Mr Cameron's scheme addresses the same issue, from a different direction. By instilling discipline in youngsters it may reduce youth crime, or the fear of youth crime among older people.
It also addresses concern about immigration and integration, with a promise that young people from different ethnic backgrounds will learn to work together in unity.
Still, it has proved unpopular with some younger people, and was criticised by the National Union of Students.
Should national service be reintroduced? Two Birmingham University students give their views. Read the arguments for: