This autumn, in his speech to the Labour party conference, Ed Miliband called for the voting age to be lowered to 16. This follows legislation by the SNP government in Scotland to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence. Explanations of the merits of extending the franchise to younger people normally begin with statements such as ‘if someone’s old enough to X…’ with X replaced by ‘marry’, ‘go to war’, ‘pay taxes’ and so on. We might note that these are, at best, weak arguments since 16 year olds can only marry and join the army with their parents’ permission and even 5 year olds pay tax in the form of VAT when their pocket money is translated into sweets. Either way, it seems likely that the SNP’s decision was not really based on the merits of the case and was simply a narrow electoral consideration. Young people are generally in favour of Scottish independence, so allowing them to vote will increase the proportion of people voting yes. It seems reasonable to think that this is also the major reason why the Labour party is now interested in lowering the voting age in general elections to 16. Young people are seen as more likely to vote Labour, so allowing them to vote will boost Labour’s prospects in future elections. What is never quite clear is whether these are sensible conclusions. Would the entrance of 16 and 17 year olds into the electorate make much difference?
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics such as the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc. that help us improve the service we offer you.
This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to calculate visitor, session, campaign data and keep track of site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookies store information anonymously and assign a randomly generated number to identify unique visitors.
This cookie is installed by Google Analytics. The cookie is used to store information of how visitors use a website and helps in creating an analytics report of how the website is doing. The data collected including the number visitors, the source where they have come from, and the pages visted in an anonymous form.
The cookie is set by Facebook to show relevant advertisments to the users and measure and improve the advertisements. The cookie also tracks the behavior of the user across the web on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin.
5 months 27 days
This cookie is set by Youtube. Used to track the information of the embedded YouTube videos on a website.
This cookies is set by Youtube and is used to track the views of embedded videos.
Advertisement cookies are used to provide visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns. These cookies track visitors across websites and collect information to provide customized ads. We do not display advertisements on our website but some cookies set by our analytics systems may collect data that is used to show targeted advertisements on other websites you visit.
This cookie is set by Facebook to deliver advertisement when they are on Facebook or a digital platform powered by Facebook advertising after visiting this website.
1 year 24 days
Used by Google DoubleClick and stores information about how the user uses the website and any other advertisement before visiting the website. This is used to present users with ads that are relevant to them according to the user profile.
This cookie is used to a profile based on user's interest and display personalized ads to the users.
This cookie is set by doubleclick.net. The purpose of the cookie is to determine if the user's browser supports cookies.