Sunday, 22 July 2007
54% of visitors to this blog think that the voting age in the United Kingdom should be reduced to 16. (Discuss)
Without wanting to sound right wing and ill-liberal I think it would be wrong to reduce the voting age to 16 in the UK. Let me explain: Can we trust a 16 year old to cast their vote in a responsible way, when all the signs are that young people are becoming less responsible. This shows in proposed Government policies to raise the age a young person can drive to 18 and the age they can buy alcohol to 21. The right to vote is important; people fought and died for this right, and now it is being proposed to just give it away to a generation who are on vacation. Has anyone asked the young people if this is what they want, or is it just a way to increase the voting base in time for the next election. The young could be the foot soldiers for change, but that would depend on who they voted for. I believe in rights for young people, but I also believe in responsibility and respect, and there seems to be a general increase in the former and a decline in the later ones in Britain today. I may be wrong and am making a sweeping generalization, but I’m not so sure. I speak from experience my job involves working with young people and over the past few years, their attitudes have changed. It’s all about money, getting smashed and the cult of the individual. Continuous exposure to dance culture and techno music can’t be good for them, nor can violent video games, neither can celebrity culture with its images of wealth, consumption and designer brands. Put all these little pieces of the jigsaw together and what do you get? A generation who have been abused, brainwashed and corrupted by our capitalist system of governance. The time to have lowered the age to vote would have been during the late 1970’s after punk had broken, a time when politics were injected into the youth and the hit continued into the 1980’s when young people were far more politicised and music spoke to them with Guitars! (I wonder what sort of society we would be living in today if 16 year olds could have voted in 79, 83 and 87?) What new bands have the kids got today? Hard-Fi and The Enemy are the only ones that spring to mind. The designer youth cultures of today may look good but they lack the most important thing about youth culture, a sense of identity and an individuals standing in society. There are no outsiders any more. Yes ‘every child does matter’ but that is what they are; children, and in my opinion they are encouraged to grow up far to quickly. The yoof of today are different, they are living in a different world to the one I grew up in, I accept that. But will giving 16 year olds the right to vote change their and our world for the better or will it be a case of Too Much Too Soon and an example of a society doesn’t like to say No! were rights are concerned. Perhaps if during the Thatcher years people had said No! then we wouldn’t be living in the shit we are today. The right for a ‘post millennium capitalised’ 16 year old to vote will not change that, it could just make it worse.