FOR many years members of the UK Youth Parliament before myself have spent endless amounts of time campaigning for people aged 16 to have the right vote in the elections, which will then go on to affect the start of their adult lives, their university prospects, their future careers and possibly, the affluence of their social circles.
Unfortunately, their endless hardship seemingly got them nowhere, other than the national news and a few empty words from people in high places, now it seems as though those in the high places are failing to realise the prospects and benefits that would come from decreasing the voting age to 16.
At present, 1.5 million young people aged 16-17 are being denied the vote, only because MP’s and government officials are apprehensive over the young people of the nation, suggesting that they’re not smart, educated nor interested enough to be involved in political and democratic decisions.
Yet uncertainty surrounds this theory, as they have no evidence that young people haven’t the interest or knowledge to be involved in political decisions as not all of them have been given the opportunity to engage in decisions of such.
This can especially been seen with the never ending cuts being made to youth democratic services and participation teams, eliminating many of the possibilities for young people to be involved with such things therefore quashing their chances.
However, when the young people had the chance to be involved with the activities of UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) last year, they really showed themselves. Over 65,000 young people voted for five issues to be taken to the Mass Debate of the House of Commons led by Members of UKYP in November of 2011. This saw the highest numbers of votes ever returned, showing that the young people of the UK are ever eager to become involved in democracy.
If the age for voting was lowered to 16 this would show an increase in the already ailing voter turnout which is exceedingly disappointing amongst those of the adult age. Maybe the right to vote at 16 is being denied because the young people might put the adults to shame, showing that they have more reliability and more interest than those who make all the decisions.
Lowering the voting ages would also enhance the political knowledge of the future generation, advancing them to being more politically aware once they are adults.
As mentioned prior, the Government seem to think that there is an issue with the sufficiency of education being received by those young people, arguably, if they have an issue with this, why haven’t they done anything to combat it?
One possibility could be that they’re pulling the wool over our eyes so that we grow and aspire to become a nation of unassertive people who live mundane lives, and simply not raising their voice when given the chance to, could this possibly be the cause of the ever decreasing voter turnout?
I think so.
I also think it’s about time that they give young people a chance to prove that we are not the stereotypical louts that we far too often hear about.
Lovell, Over and out.