Votes for 16-year-olds is a completely undemocratic idea

The establishment wants to use teens as a stage army against adult voters.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
Editor

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Topics Brexit Politics UK

Have you ever noticed that everyone who thinks 16-year-olds should have the right to vote is about 48? You never see actual 16-year-olds agitating for the vote. No teen is leaping in front of the queen’s horse in protest at their disenfranchisement (thank God – don’t do that, kids). There are no Chartist-style gatherings of tens of thousands of pimply youths demanding a democratic voice. St Peter’s Square in Manchester hasn’t been swarmed, 1819 style, by legions of Fortnite fans and Billie Eilish devotees who want ballot-box power.

No, the only people you hear banging on about Votes for 16s are follicly-challenged peers in the Lords, weathered Guardian columnists who were 16 back when Sid Vicious was still alive, and twentysomething Corbynistas who still think of themselves as ‘youths’ even though literally every generation before theirs had got married, had kids, done 10 years in a tough job and possibly lost a limb in a war by the time they were 28. Rather puts your achievements as an ‘influencer’ in perspective, eh?

A cynic might say that 16-year-olds’ stark failure to march or fight or in anyway put themselves out for their own democratic rights is proof that they’re a bit lazy. And they wouldn’t be entirely wrong. We all remember being 16. The stroppiness, the lethargy, the ability to sleep until 3 (man, I miss that). Also, let’s not be fooled by the sight of middle-class 16-year-olds waving insane climate-change placards outside parliament, many of whom were, ahem, inspired to do so by their right-on schoolteachers and Guardianista mums and dads anyway. Most 16-year-olds just aren’t that interested in politics. Which is fine.

But the cynic would nonetheless only be half-right. He’d be missing the bigger picture. Which is that the reason it is mostly oldies who are passionate about Votes for 16s is because they are the ones who invented, from pure cloth, this mad idea of enfranchising teenagers. Unlike working-class male suffrage or female suffrage, votes for kids is not a bottom-up, grassroots, real movement. On the contrary, it is a cynically engineered slogan that emanates from establishment types who really just want to use kids as a political stage army against pesky adult voters. Especially on Brexit: Remainer youths vs ageing Brexiteers – that’s the nauseating plan here. Votes for 16s is, quite possibly, the most cynical and anti-democratic idea in Britain right now.

Ever since Brexit, when the chattering classes and political establishment got their first-ever taste of things not going entirely their way (welcome to our world!), there has been talk of giving the vote to 16-year-olds. Sounding more like Kevin the Teenager than many actual teenagers do, political observers and activists insisted it was so unfair that under-18s couldn’t vote in the referendum, not least because they would have to live with the consequences of Brexit for far longer than all those nasty, old, blue-haired pensioners in the provinces who voted for the bloody thing.

That the sanctification of youth and the idea of youthful voting went hand-in-hand with outright ageist bile against 50-plus Brexit voters showed that the post-referendum Votes-for-16s blather was never about ‘giving rights’ to young people. Rather, it was about finding a way of countering and tempering the political decisions made by adults. It was about undermining the democratic choices made by men and women. Especially those older, often working-class men and women who – shudder – voted for Brexit. Fundamentally, Votes for 16s was, and still is, about generational gerrymandering. It’s about marshalling a new, quite unwilling generation to the task of outweighing, out-voting and ultimately silencing other generations who actually want the vote and cherish the vote.

Now, with a General Election looming, if Remoaner MPs will let it loom, Votes for 16s is once again on the lips of people who haven’t been 16 since The Smiths existed. ‘Teenagers are changing the world, they should be allowed to vote’, says Buzzfeed, which I’m pretty sure isn’t read by anyone under the age of 27. An Observer columnist cites Greta Thunberg as proof that young people can make an impact and so maybe they should have the right to vote. To many others, though, someone like Greta is a good example of why young people shouldn’t be voting. She embodies that teenage tendency towards binary moralism, towards viewing everything in terms of good and evil, and also that morally immature urge to punish transgressors – in this case, the selfish, destructive adults who transgress nature’s boundaries and plunder her bounty. Greta and the broader climate-alarmist youth movement actually speak to the incompatibility of the teenage mindset with the cool, rational task of casting a vote.

But this is precisely why so many establishment adults want 16-year-olds to have the vote: because they believe they can exploit teens’ unformed morality and sense of childish vengeance against actual, problematic adults. Labour and the Lib Dems both want Votes for 16s. Scotland under the SNP has already experimented with such votes. Having lost the backing of so many reasoned adults – especially among the working classes, in Labour’s case – these parties now see uncritical youths as an easier, more malleable army of ballot-box support. It is the very definition of cynical. They expect teens will be more pro-Remain and possibly more pro-Labour than older voters, so they want to sign them up. Sick of the electorate, they want to fashion a new one. Can’t we just dissolve the people and elect another, as Brecht quipped about the GDR?

Votes for children would be entirely anti-democratic. It would undermine the seriousness of the vote. It would not be about expanding the franchise to an oppressed group who are crying out for it (16-year-olds are neither oppressed nor crying out for the vote). Rather, it is about using teens to thwart the franchise enjoyed by adults courtesy of hundreds of years of struggle. It is about weakening the right to vote. Establishment figures pitting teenagers against adults in an effort to silence difficult democratic ideas – anyone who speaks of such a brazenly elitist and quite ugly exercise in the same breath as the Suffragettes and the Chartists ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Brendan will be speaking at the sessions ‘What can we learn from the English civil war?’ and ‘Extinction or progress? Visions of the future’ at the Battle of Ideas festival in London this weekend. Get tickets here.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Pedro Dias

3rd November 2019 at 9:46 am

Reading spiked is quite amusing. It’s like reading old news papers from Franco’s era. This website and most of those who comment here should be in Venezuela, not in Europe – which is the continent UK belongs to.

Mike Lermer

1st November 2019 at 9:21 am

Very sound article, but shouldn’t we also be removing the anomaly which allows students to vote in either their parents’ home or their university. Most students are registered to vote at both places, and can therefore chose where to cast their vote, eg if their home constituency is a “safe” seat but their university is in a marginal (or vice versa) they can vote in the marginal constituency, where their vote is much more likely to influence the outcome of the election. Why should they have this privilege? The rest of us can only vote in our home constituency. (And I would not be surprised if some take advantage of this anomaly to vote twice, as there seem to be few safeguards against this).

Lord Anubis

30th October 2019 at 7:50 am

Hmnnn, Actually, I think there may well be a justifiable case for toughening up the franchise rules rather than relaxing them further.

Something like in Heinlein’s “Star ship Troopers” Universe. National service is not compulsory, but you do not get full citizenship rights (Including voting rights) unless you volunteer for it and complete a minimum tour of duty.

In the 21st century UK context, this national Service need not necessarily be military in nature (I can think of plenty of non-military options) but there should be something.

( it should also apply to people emigrating to the UK and applying for citizenship too)

But I don’t see the concept as a particularly unreasonable one. that one should only get full voting rights on the clubs constitution and rules until AFTER you have paid your membership subscription and proven your worth as a full member. Simply reaching a mileage milestone is not really sufficient is it.

😉

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:25 am

“Also, let’s not be fooled by the sight of middle-class 16-year-olds waving insane climate-change placards outside parliament, many of whom were, ahem, inspired to do so by their right-on schoolteachers and Guardianista mums and dads anyway.”

Is that really the case, or did you just make that up so you don’t have to contend with the fact that many 16 year olds don’t actually behave in the way you want them to?

Try and be less of a stuck up snob in future Brendan. Coming from a chattering class bore such as yourself, such comments are nauseating in the extreme.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:22 am

“Rather puts your achievements as an ‘influencer’ in perspective, eh?”

The irony of Brendan writing this is just too good.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:12 am

“Unlike working-class male suffrage or female suffrage, votes for kids is not a bottom-up, grassroots, real movement.”

The key reason for that being, unlike women or working class men, 16 year olds do not stay 16 for long. It’s very hard to built a grassroots movement when the grassroots themselves constantly change. In the blink of an eye, a teenage campaigner becomes a twenty something, the type Brendan sneers at in this article.

But of course, Brendan cynically overlooks this in his comparison.

Jerry Owen

30th October 2019 at 8:19 am

Mummy let you on the keyboard again little Johnnie ! and she left it plugged in by mistake !

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 8:25 pm

Oh dear Jerry, you’re as ignorant and useless as ever.

I guess hoping that you’ll one day mature is expecting far too much of you.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 8:51 pm

Oh and my mother is currently about 5000 miles away and I haven’t seen her for 4 months, so I would suggest she doesn’t really have much control over my keyboard.

Next?

Jerry Owen

31st October 2019 at 9:37 am

Your mother is over 5000 miles away from you.. isn’t she the lucky one eh !

Jonnie Henly

31st October 2019 at 10:29 pm

Well you’re always very keen to talk to me, aren’t you Jerry?

Unless you’re a full on masochist, I guess that can only mean one thing…

Pedro Dias

3rd November 2019 at 9:47 am

JO you’re so childish …

Jeff Elliott

29th October 2019 at 6:22 pm

If you have the ability to have sex and have a baby then you have the ability to vote. Votes at 16 are democratic.

Lord Anubis

30th October 2019 at 9:10 am

Are you suggesting that, along with voting rights, the “Age of Consent” should be reduced to puberty on a case by case basis and that “Statutory Rape” should only apply in the case of pre-pubescent individuals??

The logic is essentially the same. The ability and maturity to make fully informed choices.

Paddy The Greek

30th October 2019 at 4:40 pm

No, that obviously wasn’t what he was suggesting.

M Blando

1st November 2019 at 6:47 pm

I also struggle with that one too. A cat can have sex and babies, but you wouldn’t give it the vote. Several lagers and most folks can have sex and make babies. Neither sex nor nature doing it’s thing by creating a baby need an active brain. Voting on the otherhand really does.

Forlorn Dream

29th October 2019 at 12:51 pm

If 16year holds are mature enough to vote then they must also be mature enough to do these things too:-
Smoke
Drink alcohol
Gamble
Perform jury duty
Drive without restriction
Buy property
Be tried as adults
Marry without parental consent
Frontline fighting in war zones
Appear in porn movies
Nobody in their right mind would grant 16year olds the items on this list. Imagine a jury full of 16year olds for example. Not to mention frontline fighting or porn. Who would be happy to see a 16year old driving a class 1 HGV?
This is my point, you can’t grant selective adulthood without creating suspicion for your motives.

Paddy The Greek

30th October 2019 at 4:45 pm

You don’t have to be eighteen to drink and smoke, you have to be eighteen to buy these things. The legal age for drinking in the home is five. And you seem to have left ‘having sex’ off the list- oh, hang on, that’s because they can do that at sixteen, can’t they.

Andrew Simpson

29th October 2019 at 5:47 am

People’s Court – Nazi Germany.
People’s Army (Volkssturm)- Nazi Germany.
People’s Democratic Republic of Korea – North Korea.
The People’s Republic of China.

The list goes on, but what is it with adding ‘People’s’ to everything undemocratic?

Phil Ford

29th October 2019 at 7:45 am

‘Democratic Kampuchea’ has to be one of the most egregious examples. In April 1975 (former) Cambodia was effectively turned into a giant forced labour camp by its pitiless (and ill-prepared) new masters – The Communist Party of Kampuchea (aka: ‘Khmer Rouge’). The CPK claimed to be ‘liberating’ its people from the tyranny of ‘imperialist exploiters’. Over the next near-four years, the CPK systematically embarked on a murderous killing spree. By late 1978, in its mission to create the ultimate egalitarian socialist utopia, and sensing ‘enemies’ at every turn within and without the Party, almost 1.7m Cambodians had been murdered variously by starvation, over-work, neglect, torture and outright execution. Men, women, children and babies. None were spared – especially not the Vietnamese and Cham populations. ‘Democratic’ indeed. Equality of Outcome (specifically cited as a main ‘pillar’ of the CPK’s 1976 Constitution) proved a total catastrophe. It seems to have been (and, to some extent, still is) a recurring problem with communist regimes.

Forlorn Dream

29th October 2019 at 1:26 pm

Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that any organisation or country with the word Democrat in it’s name is usually not democratic.

M Blando

1st November 2019 at 6:50 pm

It’s the same with business. They introduce ‘corporate values’ that are a list of things they lack.

Philip Davies

28th October 2019 at 9:29 pm

The reason sixteen year olds are now thought able to vote is because they have been indoctrinated en mass by the woke generation of teachers who have taken over the educational sector. They are needed as an army of useful idiots who are not yet independent or critical enough to think for themselves.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:13 am

“is because they have been indoctrinated en mass by the woke generation of teachers who have taken over the educational sector”

If any of that were remotely true, you might have a point. But it isn’t so you don’t.

James Knight

28th October 2019 at 9:27 pm

They are not advocating it because they think young people are mature enough, they are advocating it because they think young people are gullible enough to vote for them. The same people want non UK nationals to vote in their North Korean “People’s Vote”, where we all get to choose between Remain and BRINO.

In short, if you lose at the ballot box, change the electorate.

Brandy Cluster

28th October 2019 at 8:34 pm

In principle I agree 16 years olds should be allowed to vote ON THREE PROVISOS: that they’re treated as ADULTS in the legal jurisdiction and get no ‘discounts’ as ‘children;’ that they’re ready to fight in the next war, as and when needed. And that they can sign contracts and be legally responsible for their own finances. No probs otherwise.

Matthew Screen

28th October 2019 at 8:44 pm

I fully agree, age limits would subsequently have to be change for drinking alcohol, driving, smoking and other major decisions based on their future. If the higher powers are fine with this, let them vote.

Paddy The Greek

30th October 2019 at 4:51 pm

Five is the legal age for drinking. Smoking has no legal age, the eighteen limit only applies to buying. Sex is legal at 16. I think you’ll find all the legal ages for doing ‘grown-up’ things are already out of whack.

jessica christon

28th October 2019 at 7:26 pm

Ok, so now that we’re in the grip of a contentious political issue, a major change is about to be made to the general franchise with the aim of benefitting one side? Whether votes at 16 is a good idea or not, now isn’t the time to do it.

Jim Lawrie

28th October 2019 at 5:12 pm

Young people are being encouraged to covet the assets of older people and to think that they have acquired them by unjust means.
Alongside their sense of entitlement, it is marking out a whole group of people who will eventually have to be dealt with by force, because that is what is on their minds.

The large group of under 40’s who see themselves as youngsters are easily identified by their propensity to dress as teenagers and be seen on children’s scooters, wearing ¾ length trousers. Anyone aged over 21 who does that should be stripped of the vote. And their manhood, if they had any.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:17 am

“are easily identified by their propensity to dress as teenagers and be seen on children’s scooters, wearing ¾ length trousers.”

Yes, such people can be found most commonly inside imagination of overweight, middle aged men who enjoy angrily ranting at “millennials” online, as a method of coping with their impotence and the failures of their own lives.

christopher barnard

28th October 2019 at 4:37 pm

After 3 and a half years of telling millions of adults that they were too uneducated and ignorant to be able to understand all the issues involved in Brexit the lefty liberals want a load of schoolchildren to help them decide things properly.

George Orwell

28th October 2019 at 3:34 pm

Older people have more to lose so their decisions are more likely to protect the young as well.
Having nothing to lose today, young people are much more likely to unknowingly vote away their future freedom and prosperity.

Marvin Jones

28th October 2019 at 1:34 pm

Every con in the book! we must beware of the demands for all EU migrants to be next to be allowed to vote, the vast numbers of British passports that have been handed out like confetti in the last ten years, and the latest, ban over 70s from voting. We patriotic leavers must also be aware of students and ethnics voting more than once, and fraud in postal votes.

In2 Minds

28th October 2019 at 12:56 pm

16-year-olds, people who are taken to school by Mum in the car should not have the vote.

Phil Ford

28th October 2019 at 11:00 am

Let’s just get the point. Socialists have always recruited the young to their radical agenda. Anyone who still actually reads history – specifically 20th-century history in this instance – will be familiar with the strategy. From Moscow to Phnom Penh, via Havanna and Peking, it’s Standard Operating Procedure for self-styled ‘revolutionaries’: get ’em while they’re young. Recruitment (and by that I mean indoctrination) has typically been strong in the academy – hence we see, time and again, university professors and teachers leading the charge (abusing their positions of truth to propagate their preferred political agenda). I don’t what it is with Marxists and the educational profession, but so many of the last century’s most doctrinaire radicals tumbled out of universities and colleges to spread their toxic radicalism far and wide.

The push to give 16 year-olds (children) the vote is yet another attempt to cash-in on socialism’s head-start with kids. They already have a captive constituency, so why not push all those ready-made activists towards the ballot-box to tick the box for radicalism? Easy pickings, comrade!

As mentioned, this has been tried many times. More than a few times it ended badly, whether with Mao’s murderous Red Guard or Pol Pot’s murderous teenaged ‘forest army’ emptying urban centers at gunpoint.

Hyperbolic? Bombast? I think not. History – recorded facts – are in my favour here and set a clear, unambiguous example of what can happen, why it happens and what the inevitable consequences have usually been.

Andrew Leonard

28th October 2019 at 12:47 pm

Great post

Marvin Jones

28th October 2019 at 1:27 pm

The right age as their brains are empty but fresh and as absorbent as a sponge to be radicalised for a long time with mental abuse.

Jerry Owen

28th October 2019 at 1:46 pm

Spot on !

Lord Anubis

31st October 2019 at 4:47 pm

As the old saying goes “Everybody starts out in life a Socialist. Some people grow up!”

Genghis Kant

28th October 2019 at 10:45 am

The more we learn about how the human brain grows, develops and matures the greater the argument for raising the voting age, not lowering it.

Funny also that older folk, who have the greater experience of living under the EU, and can remember what it was like before the UK joined the common market (as it was then) are the ones more in favour of leaving it, while those with no experience outside the EU and hardly any experience of it are the ones that voted to remain.

Neil McCaughan

28th October 2019 at 10:30 am

Thunberg demonstrates the other problem with giving children the vote – she’s merely the unthinking dupe of her manipulative handlers.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:26 am

“she’s merely the unthinking dupe of her manipulative handlers.”

She has more in common with Spiked’s writers than they would care to admit then….

Andrew Leonard

28th October 2019 at 10:28 am

As research suggests the human brain is not fully developed until about age 25, there is a case for both increasing the minimum voting age, and for reforming the criminal justice system.
https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/adult-brain

I’m not sure when 18 became the legal adult and voting age.
Does it date from the era prior to the enactment of child labour laws?

Ian B

28th October 2019 at 10:49 am

Votes at 18 came in in 1970.

Stephen J

28th October 2019 at 10:54 am

It was shortly before I made my first vote, which was a NO in the 1975 referendum on the “common market” when I was 19.

I lost, a tradition that I have continued to follow.

quaybored

28th October 2019 at 11:40 am

So I guess you voted Remain. How dare you!

Stephen J

28th October 2019 at 12:46 pm

@Quaybored:

No I was on the losing side, did you not read that?

Unless you are referring to the 2016 vote where so far I have still lost, something which should have happened by the end of March, but if we had done it properly, should have been at the end of June (2016).

Andrew Leonard

28th October 2019 at 11:07 am

What was it prior to then?
What about other countries?

Ian B

28th October 2019 at 11:33 am

It was 21 in the UK prior to 1970.

In most countries it’s now 18, the US went from 21 to 18 in 1971, Iran from 15 to 18 in 2007. Some US states allow voting at 16 but only in local elections.

Andrew Leonard

28th October 2019 at 11:39 am

Thanks Ian. Does the voting age generally match the adult age, as regarded by the criminal justice system?

Paddy The Greek

30th October 2019 at 4:47 pm

And research shows that the human brain deteriorates the older you get. It looks like yours has already started. Shall we ban senile pensioners from voting?

Jim Lawrie

28th October 2019 at 10:03 am

There is no mandate for it.

Amelia Cantor

28th October 2019 at 9:54 am

Young folk have open hearts and open minds. Young folk want to smash racism and cancel Brexit. And BAME young folk are a far higher proporition of the young-folk community than the general population.

For all these reasons and more, I reject the idea of votes for 16-yr-olds. It should be votes for 12-yr-olds and older. Except for cis white male, who should be permanently banned from voting and from expressing their opinions in any form, spoken, written or electronic (inc. semaphore, smoke-signals and synchronized nose-picking).

After that, there will be no more nonsense about cis white male fetishes like “free speech”, “the Enlightenment” or Brexit. Democracy can only work when the voters are progressive.

Neil McCaughan

28th October 2019 at 10:27 am

I still think Titania is better at this stuff.

Lee Ver

28th October 2019 at 10:48 am

Amelia Cantor = FAKE VIEWS

Andrew Leonard

28th October 2019 at 11:53 am

I’ll give her this much, Neil; at least she is prepared to leave her safe space, and come here to pontificate at us all. Unlike her gutless friends.

Andrew Leonard

28th October 2019 at 10:47 am

Except for cis white male

Three questions for Saint Amelia:

1. How should cis orientation be determined?
2. How should whiteness be determined?
3. How should maleness be determined?

Waiting on your response with an open heart and mind, but please don’t get too technical on me, or use too many big words like semaphore. You see my mental age is only that of an average 12-yr-old.

Jim Lawrie

28th October 2019 at 2:17 pm

Those BAME 16 year olds, will be submitting, under parental/imam/mullah supervision, a postal vote.

Noggin The nog

28th October 2019 at 5:25 pm

Cantor is an SJW Troll – best to ignore her

John Millson

28th October 2019 at 9:29 am

If the argument is no ‘representation without taxation’ then 16-17 year olds earning enough to pay tax and National Insurance should be able to vote. So not all 16-17 year olds. (Could be an argument for 16-17 yr old parents too.)
There are enough +18 year olds who have no idea about representative democracy, with no sense of responsibility. Learnt that after the election of Corbyn as LP leader and the following demonisation of ‘headstrong’, ‘rebel’ MPs.

Ian B

28th October 2019 at 9:57 am

16-17 year-olds paying tax isn’t an argument for giving them the vote. It’s an argument for exempting them from income tax.

Legally they are not adults, they can’t leave school, can’t be sent to adult prison, need parental consent to marry or join the forces. Hmm… That’s an idea may be we let them vote but only the way their parents tell them to?

John Millson

28th October 2019 at 10:28 am

Ian B
Being an apprentice or trainee is not being at school, as we know. As a 16 yr. school leaver myself, I know first hand. As soon as someone starts earning they should pay tax, obviously with substantial tax-free allowances. There’s nothing wrong with paying tax. Could go along with taking the vote *away* from high-earning tax evaders.

Brandy Cluster

28th October 2019 at 8:38 pm

Give them ALL the adult responsibilities we ourselves ‘enjoy’ before even considering them for the vote. Can you drive at 16 in the UK? In Australia it is 17 years (and, even then, risky). Can they drink at the local watering hole legally at 16? All these questions need to be posed and if they’re to be voting the tick needs to be “yes” to all those other things – otherwise it’s a nonsense.

It’s a nonsense anyway and the consideration of the ‘feelings’ and ‘thoughts’ of teenagers only becomes a priority when you’ve already considerably infantilized the society.

Jerry Owen

28th October 2019 at 9:20 am

I do remember at the age of sixteen my horizons were quite shallow , I was mad keen for a Malaguti trials moped and the perfect girlfriend .. in no particular order. And once i had them both neither were reliable.
Whilst I agree with this article of 16 year olds lack of experience / knowledge of live , there are ‘students’ at Uni of some 30 years old .. ironically my wife told me just this morning ( before I read this article ) that her nephews girlfriend is studying at a London Uni at 30 years old ! What knowledge does she have of ‘life’? Probably totally skewed by now especially at a London Uni.
I would suggest that some paid work experience should be a prerequisite for the vote. Perhaps the possession of a job, mortgage or bank account showing wages going in, just some evidence of a financial input into the country you wish to shape.
Of course those that want the vote given to sixteen year olds wouldn’t be so happy if those same 16 year olds were allowed to leave school to start work as well and not your middle class perpetual student types ( I was myself so my criticism is valid ) . Sixteen year old workers with the vote .. no doubt the majority would in fact vote ‘leave’ in a referendum as most working people with their feet on the ground did. These would be considered the uneducated class that shouldn’t have the vote. So this whole issue is partly about class and not age I would suggest.

Jerry Owen

28th October 2019 at 9:22 am

My last sentence should read .. *this is about class as well as age I would suggest*.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:21 am

“What knowledge does she have of ‘life’?”

Probably more than you Jerry. I would sure hope so.

Jerry Owen

30th October 2019 at 8:23 am

Little Johnnie
I run two businesses. I would suggest I have more knowledge of life than a perpetual student.
Next ?

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 8:29 pm

So just as I thought Jerry, your experience of life is as narrow and confined as possible.

Have you ever ventured more than 5 miles away from where you were born?

Jerry Owen

31st October 2019 at 8:14 am

Little Johnnie
How does my post confirm my life is narrow , and lead you to the conclusion I haven’t ventured more than five miles from my home ?
Please answer don’t run away as per usual !

Jonnie Henly

31st October 2019 at 10:31 pm

Don’t worry Jerry, I wouldn’t dream of running away and leaving you all alone.

I understand how frustrating running your family’s grocery store can be, you need whatever relief you can find to take your mind off it.

Jerry Owen

31st October 2019 at 11:18 pm

Little Jonnie
Just as I thought you can’t answer my questions yet again.
Once more.. how do you deduce running two businesses means my life experience is narrow. And how do you deduce that running two businesses means I have never moved more than five miles from where I was born?
C’mon little Jonnie back your assertions up !

Jonnie Henly

1st November 2019 at 7:41 pm

Jerry, you’re making the mistake of believing I based that assertion entirely off just one comment.

It’s the sum of all your ridiculous, nonsensical posts on here that lead me to the conclusion you’re life experience is narrow.

Is this really so hard to grasp?

Or are you being deliberately dishonest again, as per usual?

Jerry Owen

2nd November 2019 at 12:31 pm

Poor little Jonnie squirming again.
I told you I run two businesses, in response you said it confirmed my life was narrow.
Will ask you again how does running two businesses confirm a narrow life ?
C’mon .. try harder.

Simon Giora

28th October 2019 at 9:00 am

School leaving age is effectively 18, if you leave at 16 you must enter some sort of training until 18. As someone nearly said: No representation with taxation.

John Millson

28th October 2019 at 9:31 am

16-17 yr olds can still pay tax and national insurance.

Neil McCaughan

28th October 2019 at 10:29 am

Then let those who pay, vote. And let those who don’t pay, not vote. Especially witless gullible students.

Jonnie Henly

30th October 2019 at 7:20 am

If we take away the vote to those who don’t pay, the result of the EU referendum may well be reversed.

Especially considering the ‘witless’ and ‘gullible’ voters in society.

Jerry Owen

31st October 2019 at 12:19 pm

I’m not aware of any school kids paying either.. are you ?

M Blando

1st November 2019 at 6:58 pm

Oh heaven forfend you should live in to the remainer stereotype of assuming all those who voted leave don’t pay taxes. You need to get out more.

As for assuming you know which way all the witless and gullible voters voted… that’s rather witless.

M Blando

1st November 2019 at 7:02 pm

My above comment was for Jonnie btw

Jonnie Henly

1st November 2019 at 7:43 pm

Perhaps you should be less of a hypocrite and call out Neil for leaning into the stereotype of all students being witless and gullible.

Looks like you need to get out more.

Philip Humphrey

28th October 2019 at 8:21 am

When the voting age was reduced to 18 back in the early 70s, most young people of that age had left school, were almost entirely self sufficient and had been working in the real world for a couple of years. Marriages and the whole idea of growing up happened a lot sooner in those days. Compare and contrast to today when most youngsters under 18 have no experience of life except the education system, are still dependent on parents and have little responsibility. From any logical point of view there is no case to say that under 18s are more fully formed individuals with a responsibility to vote than they were in the 1970s. If anything, changes in the education system and society have made them less so.

Jason Vorhees

28th October 2019 at 7:45 am

I generally agree, but this article was a real disappointment. It mainly just says rude things and makes very little in the way of arguments.

Jim Lawrie

28th October 2019 at 10:01 am

The practical arguments against them voting apply all the way up to age 25 in lessening degrees.

Stephen J

28th October 2019 at 7:43 am

I think it should be raised to around 30 and further qualified by having your name on a lease or mortgage document.

Once a person is financially committed they have more of a stake in making a considered vote, rather than the one they have been told to make by their professors.

Stephen J

28th October 2019 at 7:50 am

I forgot to mention that in real life, you might be asked to join the army and possibly die, but the reality is that it is highly unlikely, that those that might die, are those that are considered to be adults, and in males that is usually at least 27.

I suspect that there is a collective memory that until then, we haven’t really grown up, we are still always looking to our elders.

Hugh-Person Earthecosphere

28th October 2019 at 6:33 am

Referendum …Of course not!
We live in a Representative Democacy MP’s are not delegates so they will just slide it in mixed in with all the other fodder in a manifesto.
Hey they could just pass it like next week in a single day or attach it as an amendment to the Brexit Treaty.
Can’t call it fairer than that, that’s [cough] Democracy. We [cough] voted for it when we got to [cough] choose our MP.
Why do something silly like give old idiots with life experience any influence in the decision making,
with who knows how many might have kids of their own ….Sure sign of bad judgement in the past!
Probably uneducated and didn’t wear the recycled plastic condoms the EU insisted as standard.
I mean to say for what possible reason would dirty old CIS types resort to Biology …. Biology!
For Pete’s/Peta’s/Pet’we/Pet’errrm’s sake!
Why want to make ‘Children’ ? Its like of course denying that child its right to choose to be born or nonBorn.

Look EVERYONE KNOWS life ends at 40, DietyNonDietyOfYourChoice forbid that beyond that age there is any reason to live another 40 years, “IT Stops Right There!”
Who are these people over 20 who think ‘they’ can …THINK.
LOOK!!! I feel personally threatened by Reasonists, they scare me.
Its like they think experience means anything at all !! Experience is not real, it is a denial of what I ‘feel’ is true for me, this month at least, Bleeding cheeky olders!

[OMG! Mum! I am busy OK!
I am on the Me.net right now STOP asking me if I would possibly like some effing Diner its like your trying to hurt me trying to make me eat or something?
Why would you do that?!!
Now GET OUT of MY room! parentperson! … NOW!!!]

Jerry Owen

28th October 2019 at 8:48 am

And you are a perfect living example of why Brendan is absolutely correct !

Jonathan Smith

28th October 2019 at 6:00 am

How can all those remainers who insist we didn’t know what we were voting for, want to give a vote to 16 year olds?

Chris Hanley

28th October 2019 at 5:36 am

The age of capacity under English contract law is 18.
I doubt many parents would be comfortable with their 16 year-olds signing binding contracts, for the same reason they are too immature to vote.

Hugh-Person Earthecosphere

28th October 2019 at 5:36 am

Would we have a referendum on it?
Afterall then it would take 4 years to work out whether we meant it, then a 3 year transition period so we could ensure we really really! Meant it. Then well we can’t be sure that by then we wouldn’t have changed our minds again so we’d need another referendum to confirm it since what do you know we all got older! Who knows the 16 year olds then might be at the upper life span of humans in the post Hydrocarbon apocalypitic world run by Morlocks, then 9 year olds will be saying they would be the ones with the more to loose when Brexit finally happens.

Chester Draws

28th October 2019 at 4:19 am

16 year olds should have the vote.

But alongside that would go the ability to buy alcohol, drive without restrictions, serve in the army, go to (adult) jail, buy smokes, own guns etc.

If they’re adult enough to vote, well then, they get all the other privileges of maturity.

Jim Lawrie

28th October 2019 at 9:32 am

Should workplaces be forced to lift age restrictions on what tasks 16 year olds are allowed to perform and machinery they can operate? If a 15 year old passes all the tests to become an air traffic controller, does he start on his 16th birthday? Do 16 year olds want 16 year old air traffic controllers?
Do we ignore a century of data and analysis from insurance actuaries telling us what happens when 17 year olds get behind the wheel? Or how much worse it is when they are in a group? And worse again when they are in several cars? Do 16 year olds want to take a taxi driven by another 16 year old?

Does a 12 year old with the cognitive capacity of an 18 year old deserve the vote?

16 year olds can vote in Scottish Parliament elections. One justification for extending the term of the present Scottish Parliament from 4 to 5 years was that having 2 General Elections with different franchises, Scottish and UK, on the same day, would be too confusing. For the adults, apparently.

Would you leave a 16 year old in charge of your house for 2 weeks if a house sitting company sent you one and told you that you’d be breaking the law if you refused? Happy holiday?

If it can go wrong, you can rely on a 16 year old to make sure that it does, and have not a clue as to wha to do.

Neil McCaughan

28th October 2019 at 10:31 am

How about any of the responsibilities of maturity?

Lord Anubis

31st October 2019 at 5:14 pm

By the time Alexander the Great was 16 he had won his first War and founded his first City. 😉

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