Sunday, 13 November 2011

Giving the under 18's the vote.

A few Tuesday's ago I was lucky enough to be off work sick and able to lay wrapped in a duvet watching Deputy Prime Minister's Question Time and see two of my favourite politicians speak, and on a matter that could be quite decisive.

Tim Farron asked Nick Clegg about the possibility of lowering the threshold of voters down to 16 years old.
He said in words to this affect;

"When can youths who can get married, have children, pay taxes and even serve in the military be rewarded with the ability to vote?"

Nick responded by answering that the Commission will look into it.

Personally I think that it is a valid proposition. Tim has hit the nail on the head in that the nation can send someone out to die to defend our Parliamentary Democracy, or pay to help the state but they cannot have a say on what the state does.

There is the question of maturity amongst 16 year olds and it is true. When I was 16 I was more interested in Galactic domination by the Empire than I was about the political state of our country and the way it was run. However there is a growing culture of young people who are interested in politics and with the growth of the Internet in the last 14 years it has allowed young people (indeed anyone) greater access to politics.

Also over the last few years the Liberal Democrats have played a role in engaging students and with the promise to cut tuition fees brought many who would not otherwise be interested in Politics into the fold. Ok we burnt that bridge last year but the work still remains...

We shouldn't be worried that young people are to immature to vote especially when some "adults" can't be bothered or in some cases spoil their votes by adding a box with "BNP" and marking it with an X. (yep I really saw that!!!)

With the impressive showing of Rory Weal at the Labour conference and indeed from some of the very good and well reasoned Political debate I've seen on Twitter from local Young Labour and Conservatives alike I think it would be fair to say that these teenagers know more about politics than their adult counterparts who vote one way because they always have!

What other way is there to engage the disheartened and disenfranchised youth in Britain than to bestow this right upon them. It is true they could die for their country and pay tax, they are also feeling cut off by society and from Government. The vote might be enough to show that they do have a role within it and that they are trusted.

Nick said that they would look into lowering the voting age and I sincerely hope they do and I hope that the youth can prove their are up to the responsibility.

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