Let’s have another look at that graphic I posted last time out.
You’ll have noticed, of course, that the largest section of that pie chart is the 18,604,470 people who didn’t vote because they couldn’t.
Many of those will have been 16 -17 year olds, now old enough to vote, but of course that still leaves the current crop.
The day after the election was called, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas raised this issue when she told the House of Commons:
“If this election is, as the Prime Minister says, about a more secure future for this country, if it is an election of such national significance, we should have an urgent change in the law to give Britain’s 1.5m 16 and 17-year-olds a say in what will be very much their future on the 8 June.”
The argument wheeled out against such reform is that 16 – 17 year olds are not mature enough, not knowledgeable enough about politics, to make an informed decision.
This is, of course, patronising nonsense.
At that age in the UK, you are able to get married, have kids, drop out of school, join the armed forces, or just plain work and – crucially – if you do the latter, then you are obliged to contribute to society by way of paying income tax and national insurance.
It’s always struck me as being a little odd, unfair even, that we are perfectly happy to take a slice of their earnings, but are not prepared to allow them to have a say in how that money is spent.
Of course, electoral reform won’t happen, for the simple reason that, just as the majority of 16 – 17 year olds, had they been able to, would not have voted Leave in the Brexit referendum, so they are more less to vote for the Conservatives this time around. It’s the revolutionary disposition of youth you see: something to be feared.
I’ve tried to find an appropriate record to sum all of this up, but all of the songs I could think of about being too young are either about being too young to get married/fall in love, or (before any of you suggest it) by The Specials and about teenage contraception.
So instead, this for Caroline Lucas and the rest of her party, meant with empathy:
Always had my suspicions that Grover was a Tory.
In the absence of electoral reform allowing 16 – 17 year olds to vote, getting those entitled to vote to do so becomes even more important. So: