Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Youthful Voting

Chatter turns once again to the question of lowering the age at which a citizen is entitled to vote. Apparently it has come to the notice of some that, by age sixteen, the average youth in this land has tempered his fancies, and tamed his passions, and become sufficiently knowledgeable and wise in the ways of the world, not just in experience, but in education, — having of course left his excellent state-run school with a basic but firm grasp of history, science, mathematics, reading and writing, and so on, — to help in his small way to guide government policy on a sane and beneficent course, without his being easy prey to manipulation and fantastic promises and stupid but appealing ideas, and, on that account, it is felt that “there must . . . be a formal recognition that young people are, in the main, mature and responsible citizens and entitled to respect as such.” [1] Well, it’s all mad-hopeful and politically-induced drivel, of course — “mature and responsible citizens” does not in the main describe even the adults — but I don’t suppose a greater number of irresponsible voters would trouble a government whose blind instincts are in any case for power rather than anything else; for they are grist to its mill.
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[1] Jonathan Pyke, “Let age be no barrierComment is Free (The Guardian’s weblog), 24th July 2007. (I made the mistake a few weeks ago of watching Question Time, the invited audience of which on that occasion was composed exclusively of various individuals of the species Homo adolescens. I was interested to observe that they whooped like monkeys.)

3 comments:

David Duff said...

Your "jollies" do not appear to have made you more jolly - thank God. Welcome back!

Pietr said...

They won't be able to leave school until age 18; will this be the first time the captive voter has shaped policy?
Compulsory education, compulsory voting, compulsory breath, compulsory life, compulsory death.

Deogolwulf said...

Of course not, Mr Duff. Ta!

Pietr, yes, I think compulsory voting will be the next step.