Lee Burkwood, 28 November 2017, Tags:
After Mr Speakman’s quite frankly patronizing letter on young people in last week’s Ilford Recorder, I felt I had to respond. It is not just the Labour Party who are for extending the voting franchise to 16-17 year olds. The Green Party, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the SNP are all in favour of this as well. This is not to bamboozle young people or “gerrymander” the election, it’s to fix an anomaly. 16-17 year olds are allowed to do things like join the army, work, drive (17 year olds), get married and have sex. Some of these with parental permissions of course. Do we as a country don’t feel they are not responsible enough to vote - despite offering these other things? I have personally met many 16-17 year olds who are mature enough,passionate about politics and would like the opportunity to vote, and yet many adults I know choose not to. We saw in the Independence referendum in Scotland that extending the vote to 16-17 year olds drove up turnout and didn’t actually favour the SNPs side of the campaign who are the party that bought it in.
Yes, Labour’s promises on student debt were all over the place. Most young people did actually vote Labour. But what is wrong with offering young people policies to help them when they’ve been ignored by politicians on all sides for years? I even say this as a Green Party member - that Labour did well on this. It is a good thing to offer to help the whole country and not pit the young and old and different groups of people against each other, which is exactly what the Conservative Party do on a regular basis.
If you want to talk about “gerrymandering”, I refer you to the Conservative Party’s plan to change the general election boundaries which, guess what, affect opposition parties’ seats the most.