• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Brown wants to allow children to vote...

#1
On PMQ's last Wednesday, the Prime Mentalist stated that he supported lowering the voting age to 16. This smacks of a Labour government again looking to lower the voting age on the assumption that children will vote for Labour because they "want to help the poor people", as they did back when the voting age was lowered from 21.

But, this is all very interesting when contrasted with what 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds were permitted to do back in 1997 that they are no longer allowed to do, and various current proposals in a similar vein:

Buy a penknife, scissors or cutlery (previously unrestricted, then 16, now 18).
Purchase an airgun (previously 17).
Buy cigarettes (previously 16).
Buy fireworks (previously 16?).
Leave school (proposal to raise age to 18).

Here: http://heresycorner.blogspot.com/2009/11/votes-at-sixteen.html is a very interesting blog post on the topic. Some selected excerpts:

But the vote is other things, too, which is why the proposal to admit 16 year olds is rather paradoxical. When the franchise was more restricted, being of age (in those days 21) was only one of several conditions for having a vote. Another was, of course, being male; and a further one was owning property (and, if you go back before 1832, having the correct property qualification or status for the borough in which you happened to be living). Now it is a question of age and nationality, that is all. It has therefore, by default, become a marker of adulthood. Are 16 year-olds "adult"? In some ways, yes. The age of physical maturity has advanced, and with it, in many cases, maturity of mind. There's no reason to suppose that most 16-year olds (and indeed many 12-year olds) are incapable of understanding the issues. A couple of years ago on her blog, Mary Beard imagined a future world "which derided our twenty-first-century 'folly' in depriving a clever nine-year-old of her citizenly rights, while driving the frail 95 year-old to the polling station to put her cross by whoever happened to take her fancy on the morning". But in other ways, at sixteen many youngsters are much less "adult" than they were even a generation ago.

That's certainly the message that is coming from the government. New restrictions on the freedom and capacity of teenagers have been brought in continually under New Labour. The age at which it is legal to purchase cigarettes, knives or fireworks has been raised from 16 to 18, as has the age at which one can obtain a licence for such firearms as are still legal for anyone. The age for purchasing alcohol is still 18, but there's a growing campaign in some quarters for Britain to follow the repugnant American policy of raising it to 21 - and, in any case, the severity with which the law is now being enforced has effectively raised it, in practice if not in theory.

And this legal extension of juvenile incapacity in many areas has gone along with an ever more protracted adolescence. By the time they reached the voting age of 21, many people in the past would have experienced several years effective social adulthood. Leaving school at fifteen or sixteen, they would have been working, paying taxes, and, in many cases, marrying and starting a family (and, provided it was done in that order, with less disquiet about teen pregnancy than would be caused today). Many died for their country before reaching the age at which they could vote for its government. Today, it is expected that young people remain financially dependent at least until they finish university at 22 or thereabouts. The government that is contemplating a reduction in the voting age is also in the process of raising the school leaving age to eighteen. So whereas in the past many 16 year-olds had no say over the politicians who were deciding their tax rates, in the future they may have a say, but have much less moral claim to it than their predecessors. A paradox indeed. But is a quinquennial ballot really much compensation for the loss of the independence and trust they once enjoyed? Or, to put it another way, if adolescents can be trusted with a vote, why should they not be trusted with a penknife?
Put it back to 21, I say...
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#3
If they're old enough to pay tax then they're old enough to vote.

Oh, and 16 year olds are only children in England and Wales. At sixteen you're an adult in Scotland.
 
#5
I think it should be 18, whilst i have no doubt that some 16 year olds will be able to vote, the vast majority won't (and that included me at that age).
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#8
Sympathetic_Reaction said:
Now all you have to do is define who is paying taxes.
No I don't. They're old enough to pay income tax, therefore they should be allowed to vote (irrespective of whether they pay it or not). Simple.
 
#9
I would agree in general that if you're paying taxes (although very difficult to define, since everybody pays VAT, and what about a 4-hours on minimum wage on a Saturday job?) you should get a say. However, how many 16-17-year-olds (or even 16-21-year-olds) these days actually are?

If they raise the school leaving age to 18, practically no under 18's will be paying (income-) taxes.
 
#11
Sixty said:
Sympathetic_Reaction said:
Now all you have to do is define who is paying taxes.
No I don't. They're old enough to pay income tax, therefore they should be allowed to vote (irrespective of whether they pay it or not). Simple.
16-year-olds are legally children, the vast majority are still at school (maybe in the near future they will all be at school), and are not considered mature enough by the government to buy a pair of scissors.

Get the same government considers the mature enough to have a say in the governance of the country?
 
#13
Sixty said:
Sympathetic_Reaction said:
Now all you have to do is define who is paying taxes.
No I don't. They're old enough to pay income tax, therefore they should be allowed to vote (irrespective of whether they pay it or not). Simple.
Curses, I was hoping this one would run :D

For arguements sake, however, why should people have a say in the running of the country if they don't/haven't contributed to it?
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
I disagree. Labour-domination of the schooling system, with Labour agendas means that most kids in state educashun are already being programmed to vote for the spastics we are about to throw out of power. I'd say keep it as a minimum of 18 so they've had a chance to learn a bit more before signing on the dotted line.
 

Sixty

ADC
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#15
chocolate_frog said:
For arguements sake, however, why should people have a say in the running of the country if they don't/haven't contributed to it?
Ooh, very Starship Troopers :D

I can see your point but it's hard to define 'contribution' to the country. What counts? Banging out a sprog (paying for us in old age), being on benefits (valuable support for the tobacco and white cider industries)?
 
#16
Pub_Regular said:
So being 16 and able to vote as you are now classed as an adult (and pay taxes) will also allow you to join the army and go on Op tours? Mmmmm =(
Good point, I remember hearing "old enough to pull a trigger, old enough to vote" being used as an argument for lowering the voting age to 18. Not sure if it should work the other way around if the voting age goes down to 16.
 
#17
Sixty said:
If they're old enough to pay tax then they're old enough to vote.

Oh, and 16 year olds are only children in England and Wales. At sixteen you're an adult in Scotland.
I thought that was 11 when you started drinking and smoking?

More seriously, I am all in favour of standardisation but let's be clear what it means to be an adult. We don't allow 16 year olds to smoke, drink or go on ops; they will soon be forced to remain schoolchildren (so I am unsure how they will be net taxpayers). As such, voting age should remain 18 for me....

I think the tax thing is missing the point. Firstly, I am uncomfortable with any linkage between tax contribution and voting rights (as would many Labour MPs given relative rates of unemployment). Secondly, there is no legal age for tax contributions to start; if your children earn over the personal allowance at any age they will become liable. It's just that few do. Link:

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/savings/child-savings-tax-free#taxing

My final thought is that this is a pretty cynical piece of age-related gerrymandering. Young people tend to vote left. I dimly recall a saying that went along the lines of 'Anyone in their twenties who doesn't vote Labour doesn't have a heart; anyone in their thirties that does doesn't have a brain.'
 
#19
If a person is of the age of consent and pays taxes then they should vote, "No Taxation without Representation". If it was good enough for the septics then it,s good enough for us. We ignored the septics and lost America (if anyone finds it the queen might like it back please). :wink:
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#20
Manley said:
If a person is of the age of consent and pays taxes then they should vote, "No Taxation without Representation". If it was good enough for the septics then it,s good enough for us. We ignored the septics and lost America (if anyone finds it the queen might like it back please). :wink:
Trouble is - that's a load of old cack.

6 year old kid goes into a store and buys a pencil - he's taxed at 15%.

Pretty much most things his parents buy him is subject to VAT, and the money they use is what's left after numerous swinging taxes.

You going to give him the vote?
 

Latest Threads