Why voting should be for adults only
Should the voting age be reduced to 16? Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru all believe so, says Benedict Spence, and last week they sought unsuccessfully to vote through a private members’ bill to that effect. But don’t be taken in by the specious arguments of these Left-leaning parties. Letting 16-yearolds vote, they claim, would invigorate our democracy and show that the young, too, are responsible, engaged members of society. Really? So are they also calling for 16-year-olds to be allowed to smoke, drink, buy fireworks, gamble, get a tattoo, buy a house, drive a car or get married without parental permission? Are they clamouring for 16, not 18, to be the age limit for being sent to an adult prison? Of course not. The only reason they’re so keen to enfranchise 16-year-olds is that it would add 1.5 million people to the electorate, most of whom would be “blissfully naive about politics” and temperamentally inclined to vote for the Left – “easy prey”, in other words. Forget the high-minded talk about inclusivity. Their crusade “isn’t empowering; it’s child exploitation”.