That’s the logic of our current voting system; but just because you can legally gamble, doesn’t mean you can do so with our futures. Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t teenagers themselves out there who oppose votes for 16 year olds – in fact, I was one of them! However, since hearing some pretty compelling arguments (from peers and adults alike), I’ve changed my mind. Progress is undoubtedly being made in the minds of politicians themselves, too, seeing as sixteen year olds were able to vote in the fairly recent Scottish referendum. The combination of a shock result and higher youth turnout at the last general election will have shaken a few shoulders in Westminster, too.
But where do you draw the line? Next thing you know, 14 year olds will have the vote!
If 14 year olds could get married, make money and pay income tax, then absolutely I’d give them ballot papers. But seeing as actually, it’s 16 year olds who have the opportunity to do all of those things, then I’d personally draw the line there. Just because you’re considered responsible enough to drink irresponsibly at 18, doesn’t make you any more deserving of having a voice in how the World around you is run. (In my opinion).
Teenagers aren’t at all politically aware. Who’s to say they won’t just copy their peers?
Surprisingly enough, it really doesn’t matter what age you are – we’re all influenced by what our friends think. And if you argue that teenagers are more socially aware than their elders, well. What does eighteen end with?
As for political awareness, that’s an invalid argument. It’s entirely possible to have a politically blind adult, or a teenager with the political knowledge of your local MP (and vice versa). The youth parliament is tangible proof that actually, young people aren’t just aware, they’re politically active in their own right. As a matter of fact, their national campaign this year is Votes for 16 and 17 year olds.
Hardly any 16 year olds even have jobs. They’re still in full time education! Why give the vote to people who don’t contribute to the economy?
Record numbers of people are attending university these days, so I think it’s fair to say that a large proportion of those who can already vote are in full time education, too! It’s true though, not all teenagers do work. But for a multitude of reasons, not all adults do either. But teens don’t just buy bread and milk – those clothes you may or may not approve of have VAT on them, so actually, we contribute to the economy whether we’re working or not.
There are most likely others who could argue these points far better – which is why I recommend you head over to the Youth Parliament‘s page I mentioned earlier. They’ll do it better than I did… I’ll do a food post next week, sorry for the heavy politics. I hope you enjoyed either way! Have a lovely day xx