Posts Tagged ‘votes at 16’

Want to engage young people? Lower the voting age to 16 and build up citizenship education in schools

09/10/2012, 02:41:49 PM

Last week Lucy Rigby won the “top of the policies” vote at Pragmatic Radicalism’s event at Labour party conference. The winning proposal tackled the question of how to engage young people in politics

Most people with even a vague knowledge of politics know that the way we do politics – in this country and others – is in deep, deep trouble.  Turnout, in every type of election, is low – which, amongst other things, raises all manner of questions about legitimacy.  People feel disengaged from politics, particularly young people.

You don’t need to be a canvassing enthusiast to be all too familiar with phrases such as “they’re all the same” and “voting doesn’t change anything”- that’s just the standard office view (on the few occasions politics is talked about).  There doesn’t seem to be much of an explicable connection between physically putting an ‘X’ in the box of a candidate in constituency Y, and the prime minister that appears on the television a day later.

In essence then, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the mechanics of our democracy is in crisis.  It’s the responsibility of our generation to solve it.

First then, let’s enfranchise 16 year olds.  Currently, a 16 year old can get married, fight for their country, pay income tax and national insurance and become a director of a company.  But they can’t vote.  That’s not fair and it doesn’t make any sense.  Let’s change it.


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Votes at 16: ffinlo Costain says that, for once, we should follow the Isle of Man

28/07/2010, 12:16:19 PM

There’s one constitutional reform that would make Britain fairer and more representative, but currently lowering the voting age to 16 isn’t on the cards. For once, we should follow the Isle of Man’s lead.

The Isle of Man isn’t renowned for liberal government. Birching and anti-homosexual laws were abolished only relatively recently, and penal policy is still draconian. But in terms of voting reform the Isle of Man has always been a step ahead. In 1881 they were the first to introduce votes for women, and then in 2006 the Manx parliament, Tynwald, chose to reduce the voting age to 16.


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