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Should the voting age be lowered to 16 ?


Lantern Swinger
I read somewhere also they plan to make it compulsory for them to vote though whether that's just the new 16-17 year old voters it would create or the whole population regardless of age.


I'm firmly in the mind that you are not mature enough nor developed enough of a economic or political understanding to be trusted to vote at 16. I would possibly change my mind if politics was covered more extensively at school but then children are open to having their opinions taught to them by a potentially biased teacher. Likewise pushy parents. I'm not even convinced 18 is old enough either if I'm honest. The outlook one has at school / university age is vastly different to when presented with the big, bad world.

That said, my recent not particularly extensive studies concluded that around 86.7% of the British population over the age of 18 are halfwits and they're allowed to vote so why not? The student union Marxists, the lank haired liberal cheeba hounds and the council estate Bulldog fascists will all cancel each other out anyway.


Lantern Swinger
Personally, at 16 I didn't have much clue what was going on in politics it was only until I started college and it was in discussion more that was clued up on the goings on.
I think if they are going to lower the voting age, politics needs to be taught or spoken about more in schools, where I live its all about voting for labour, and I can remember thinking at 16 that my vote would be a waste of a vote because I didn't know what it was I was voting for, it was just sort of expected to vote that way, and if voting at 16-17 becomes compulsory then I expect that to be the same for many other young teens.


War Hero
When I was 17 I would have voted for whoever got the round in.........but, also at 17 I would have been expected to put my life on the line for Queen and I should have a say in the democratic process.
.....tricky one this, sir.

Actually, when I was 17 the voting age was 21 so nobody would have taken any notice anyway..........and they still don't.

Edited to add......before some smart arse interjects......yes, women had the vote when I was 17.
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Lantern Swinger
I had a fair grasp at 16 of politics and economy etc etc as I liked to read the news, journals the lot and listened to what folk were saying.... however since I hadnt at that age any life experience in the working world or experience directly of the results of my vote (if I had had one) I doubt voting at 16 is a good idea.

For Salmond its likely a ploy to get impressionable teens, brought up on anti-English propaganda and such, to bolster his hopes of independence.

For Labour.... buggers are just desperate to appeal to someone.....anyone.

Or I might just be jaded and experiencing early onset paranoia

sesame street paranoia.jpg
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War Hero
BBC News - Voting rights urged for 16 and 17 year olds in UK

The Labour Party are considering this for their manifesto.
The SNP are comitted to lower the voting age to 16 in Scotland.

Some people think that if you are old enough to pay tax, you're old enough to vote.

Others think that 16 is not mature enough for such a serious matter.


Perhaps we should change the old enough to pay tax to................Any taxpayer.
Perhaps it should be No tax no vote.


War Hero
It is difficult to generalise about when young people are suitably mature to be given the vote. Some 16 year olds are still sucking their thumb and taking Teddy to bed while others have tried to take notice of the world around them and form an opinion as to how it could be made better. I feel the current age of 18 is probably a good compromise though even then many have only a shaky grasp of the issues involved when choosing local councillor or an MP.


War Hero
I remember when Harold Wilson lowered the voting age from 21 to 18..........shortly after he'd given the Beatles MBE'S..
...........nothing changes when courting the young vote.


Book Reviewer
More pertinant maybe is the Labour Party asking Ed Milliband what the party stands for! If they don't know how can we expect a 16 year old to?


War Hero
I think that in theory you should be able to vote at 16 as you are old enough to pay tax and acess certain goverment led services so should have a say. HOWEVER this would have to be backed up by intergration into the compuslory ciriculum at secondary level of some kind of subject/module which teaches the role of parliament, local goverments and the central one, and how to effectively understand the 'jargon' they come out with on the electoral circuit. Never know this might also lead to more young people being involved in politics or aspiring to be a part of it, not student hippy types who want peace love and free uni mannn but various people from a variety of backgrounds who will enter a variety of fields in the workplace. Ideolgical and not likely to happen? Yep. But it would be nice. Lowering the age without the introduction of something would not work i dont think, but there is no reason that something which would benefit people throughout their lives (not just for the purpose of voting younger) wouldnt be positive.


War Hero
I read somewhere also they plan to make it compulsory for them to vote though whether that's just the new 16-17 year old voters it would create or the whole population regardless of age.

I hope not, doesnt that destroy a part of democracy? Yes the right to vote was fought for but arguably along with that was the right to make the decision not to (i always vote and dont understand people who dont so i am not saying i agree with abstaining, just that it should remain an option in my opinion). In my experience many of my friends who dont vote it is because they have little understanding of the parties and their policies and cba to research them, but if they had to vote then they would vote for whoever had the best name rather than who they thought was best. Unleashing these people on the political arena as they are forced to vote would probably mean we end up with fook knows who in power :p


I can't understand the argument of "I can pay tax and have sex at 16 therefore I must be capable of doing anything else including being able to vote". It seems to me that a larger understanding of life other than tax and sex is required before being able to be involved in the political process.
Surely watching from the sidelines and learning/thinking about politics first is a better way to go.
Lowering the voting age to 16 only helps people like William Hague who come forth from the womb with a party political manifesto tucked under their arm.
At 16 - if I could have - I would have voted for the Jedi Council ffs, and maybe a party that would allow me to build BMX trails wherever I wanted!
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War Hero
All children born after 1995 will have to stay at school until age 18, or on an approved training scheme. I'm not sure most schoolkids have the wit to encompass the problems of the world and the possible ways of resolving issues. Bit of a bugger but there it is. If they are to be given the vote then they can also sign up for military service at that age, and will we also lower the age of drinking. If they have to scrape the barrel give everyone the right to vote as long as they can read and write and are out of nappies. That'll still mean a 30% turnout but WTF, they'll be able to open up Ganges again :)
The fact that you can't seperate all three major political parties,leaves me with the opinion that if your vote mean't anything they would take it off you.


When I was at school, some time ago I might add we had a lesson called 'Current Affairs' and I would therefore like to think that I was more up to speed than the youngsters of today.

As for lowering the voting age I would say a big NO, that's using my extremely academic 16 year old Granddaughter as my yardstick as she knows SFA about politics/current affairs along with the vast majority of her friends.

Good point there granny, call themselves an opposition!
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I think 16 is too young.There exceptions,but I don't think people are fully emotionally or intellectually developed at that age.


War Hero
Interesting. Why should passing an arbitrary age qualify an individual for the vote? If you can vote at 21, 18 - or possibly 16 - why not at 14? Or 11? What about stopping people voting when they become old fogies? Or people who support extremist political parties (in the view of the party introducing the proposal), or who smoke tobacco, or drink alcohol, or have red hair.....................?

Perhaps a simple test could be introduced to get an idea of the suitability of an individual to qualify for the vote. It could cover literacy, numeracy and a basic understanding of grammar....I suspect such a test might reduce the size of the current electorate by a bit!


War Hero
Book Reviewer
I was fairly political at 16, but I think that was because I was a product of my environment. This latest proposal is fairly rhetorical; a significant number of the voting public are politically apathetic so by including 16-year olds is merely an exercise in increasing the number of attendees at the Polling Stations.

Given the historical significance of the vote and what was sacrificed to give me that right, I defend it by using at at every opportunity. Unfortunately, many of the more vocal "armchair politicians" are the very same ones who can't be bothered to vote, so they're part of the problem (but refuse to accept that, continuing the blame everybody else for the world's problems).
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