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, after actually turning sixteen (and hearing some pretty compelling arguments against my opinion at the time), I 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 Scottish referendum a couple years ago. The combination of a shock result and higher youth turnout at the latest general election will hopefully have shaken a few feathers in Westminster, too.
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 those around us think. And if you argue that teenagers are more impressionable than their elders, then 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 most recent national campaign was 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.
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 all those opportunities, then I’d personally draw the line there. We’re considered responsible enough to drink irresponsibly at 18, but that doesn’t make us any more deserving of a political voice than those two years younger.