The Young Generation of 16 year old Voters

  Quickbeam 07:43 17 Sep 2014
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The Scottish independence referendum will for the first have 16 year olds qualifying to vote.This is something that the LibDems have campaigned for for a long time, and again it's hitting the news in England on account of the Scottish Indie vote.

What do we think of this? I'm sure that there will be many 16 year olds from politically active households that are totally savvy to political matters, but from my experience, most 16 year olds are not remotely politically mature and easily swayed with the weakest of reasoning.

I can't but help think that easily influenced 16 year olds in the Scottish referendum are effectively voting to make the headmaster walk the plank because they've discovered that they can.

...or am I guilty of holding old fashioned perceptions of the young? I don't believe that I am.

  morddwyd 07:58 17 Sep 2014

Don't know about generally, but for this particular vote, in Scotland, the youngsters are, in the main, fully engaged and very savvy about the pros and cons.

It is also right that they should be enfranchised, as they will be affected more that the rest of us.

My own personal observation, unsupported by any real evidence, is that young voters are generally in the No camp.

There is a small percentage of skew in young persons' (not necessarily under 16) vote.

Scots students studying outside Scotland have mostly retained their Scottish addresses so that they get to vote. On the other hand, non-Scots students studying in Scotland (and many of our migrant workers as it happens) have registered their Scottish addresses so that they too get to vote.

  fourm member 08:32 17 Sep 2014

'most 16 year olds are not remotely politically mature and easily swayed with the weakest of reasoning.'

But that is true for most 61-year olds so I don't think that makes the case for not giving young people the vote.

  Quickbeam 09:10 17 Sep 2014

fourm member

Quite true, I was astounded by the number of Scots being interviewed that were clearly casting their vote for a party political reason in a constitutional referendum.

But does your reasoning suggest that either all the over 16s should vote, or that the over 61s should also be excluded on account of being set in their ways...?

  john bunyan 09:44 17 Sep 2014

If one takes the analogy of the armed forces, recruits can be as young as 16, but are (these days) not permitted on armed operations until 18.

In Scotland marriage at 16 without parental consent is allowed so this may be a counter argument. Scotland is entitled to decide on these issues so we will see what happens.

Maybe the young and old will offset each other.

  Quickbeam 09:46 17 Sep 2014

"Maybe the young and old will offset each other." as per fm's vote cancelling analogy:-)

  fourm member 10:08 17 Sep 2014

Quickbeam

We have a system that says that age is the only qualification a voter needs.

Maybe people questioning whether 16 & 17 year olds know enough to vote will lead to the issue being discussed for all ages.

  fourm member 10:13 17 Sep 2014

Indications are that this will backfire on Salmond. In debates in schools, the case against independence has won wide support and older people, fearing that the young would vote 'Yes', are more likely to turn out to make sure their 'No' gets heard.

There will be some parents who get postal votes for their 3 year olds but I don't think that will be enough to change the result.

  spuds 10:22 17 Sep 2014

I am not sure about "The Young Generation of 16 year old Voters" nowadays, but looking back at history William Pitt the Younger (28 May 1759 - 23 January 1806) must have started his political career at a young age. He became a Prime Minister twice.

Twenty one year olds have taken over the highly responsible jobs of Mayor, that the government introduced into the political calendar not all that long ago. My own hometown elected a Mayor, who then decided to mentor a young but very strong politically minded and motivated deputy.

Around 7PM yesterday evening I was watching part of the interviews on BBC Parliament programme that was being broadcast. One part of this was from (I believe, not sure now) The Old Fish Market in Glasgow, about a debate that was taking place later that evening. Most of the correspondent's or reporter's were saying how savvy the young audience was, and how they would be looking with interest, what the younger generation had to say, especially on the future of Scotland in a young persons eyes, so to say.

  Quickbeam 10:23 17 Sep 2014
Answer

Rumpelteazer

I don't disagree with that as fm pointed out so cheekily.

I was amongst the first generation to get the vote at 18 and the same concern was levelled at us. But there is a point at which my reasoning holds true without any doubts.

So what is that age? Would we consider reducing it to 14 in another 20 years?

  BillSers 11:02 17 Sep 2014

Can a 16 year old politically assess what is best for them and the country more than at 61? That is the question. They could if all politicians ran through a polygraph test when election time comes. But how many times has the electorate got it wrong. We've been given broken promises, ducking and diving, bad advice from the men in grey suits spinning bad into good.

Watch my lips. No new taxes.

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