A pledge to give 16 and 17-year-olds the vote in general elections will be in the next Labour manifesto, Ed Miliband has promised.
The opposition leader said politicians had to address a 'crisis in our democracy' and involving young people more was a 'really important part of that'.
Personally, I think that's a terrible idea. We mostly link rights to being an adult, that by the time you can vote, you can do everything else.At 16 you can't get married without parental consent, buy cigarettes or alcohol, or drive or serve on a jury, appear in pornography, consent to your teacher shagging you, make a will, carry an organ donor card, place a bet in a casino, see an 18 film or get a tattoo. And over the past decade, some of those changed against 16 year olds. When I was a lad, you were considered adult enough to choose to buy cigarettes, appear in Page 3 or shag a teacher.
So, whilst we've revised what we think of 16 year olds as even more fragile creatures who aren't capable of making certain decisions, we're now saying that they are capable of voting. Bizarre.
And what's going to happen to all those laws when 16 year olds can vote? Broadly speaking, this isn't an issue today. Other than adopting children and driving buses, everything else is legal at 18. Most 18 year olds aren't bothered about driving a bus or adopting children. But if you gave me a vote at 16 and a party stood on the ticket of lowering the age of getting in to see The Evil Dead or getting served cider at Tesco, I'd have voted for them. I couldn't have given too hoots about taxes rising or improving housing at that age. I was more bothered about trying to get a shag, getting served and listening to the Sisters of Mercy (and at that age, that's what you should be doing).
It'll probably happen, though. Labour are going for it because they see more clients to vote for them, more people who will vote to raise taxes and spend more because they won't pay for it. The Tories know that they'll be accused of hating children if they argue against it and will be too spineless to have an argument.
Tuesday, 23 September 2014