But Major-General Julian Thompson, a Falklands veteran, attacked the scheme as having a "disturbingly Victorian ring about it". It harked back, he thought, to the days when convicts had a choice of being transported to penal colonies or taking the King's shilling.
Didn't the Duke of Wellington say something about hoping his troops terrified the enemy as "by God, they frighten me"?
Another scary story about mobile phones. Beloved of the nation's teenagers and the curse of the commuting classes, ("Hello, can you hear me? I'm on the train.") they could trigger Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, say Swedish neurologists. And American researchers found they can also cause long-term memory loss - at least in rats (No, they didn't actually get them to make the phone calls.) Nick Terry's brain, in contrast, is deemed to be the brightest in Britain as he beat eight other winners of radio and TV brain-teaser quizzes in a champions' challenge run by Whitaker's Almanack. The 30-year-old airline pilot said he countered the boredom of days off from long-haul flights by training his memory.
Not a good week for mothers: working women have less warm and positive relationships with their children if they leave them in the care of others for their first three years, says a study by the University of North Carolina.
Researchers say mothers should set aside more "quality time" with their young children to make up for the possible harmful effects of child care. Otherwise they might end up in the army.