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Should The United Kingdom change the Voting age to 16?

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  • View Poll Results: Should The United Kingdom change the Voting age to 16?
    Yes
    60
    27.91%
    No
    155
    72.09%

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    i voted no, lets be honest whilst its a nice idea in theory many 16year olds have very little idea of anything political and would just end up wasting a vote for petty reasons like impressing threads or fun brnading etc.
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    (Original post by calumsteele1)
    correct me if im wronb tu whilst you can join the army at 16 im sure youre not aloud to see active service untill youre 18?
    That is correct but anyone old enough to be training for combat at age 16 is surely old enough to vote?
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    I think it absolutely should.

    16 year olds can join the army and die in the name of politicians, but they can't vote them in? There's something very disturbing about that.
    16 year olds do also pay taxes, via income tax if they earn enough and VAT anyway, so they already have a financial stake in the country.

    Some argue:

    - "They wouldn't take it seriously" How do we know that? The demonstrations over tuition fees suggest that some under 18s are politically active. There are youth parliaments across the country dealing with local politics. Political apathy may be widely observable in the youth, but can you blame them for not being interested? They cannot vote!

    - "They don't understand it" And entirety of the electorate do? Perhaps allowing 16 year olds to become more politically involved would make them want to understand it. If anything, it is the state's job to impartially educate them about this. Politicians cannot argue that the kids are too thick for politics when they are response for reforming the education system!

    - "They won't appreciate xyz issue until they're 18/pay substantial tax/have more experience in the real world" Yet they're still being governed by an executive that they have zero control over. How is that democratic or remotely fair? 16 year olds might support higher taxes because they don't have to pay as many taxes, and thus it does not concern them. This does not invalidate their view. Often, people on a high income oppose high tax for the exact opposite; it does affect them. How are the two any different? Both votes are made in self-interest, and on matters of taxation, a vast majority of votes are cast in self-interest anyway.

    Lowering the voting age would make the government more accountable, because they have more people to answer to. It would work MPs harder, because they have to represent the interests of a group of people that they can currently overlook. It would make the UK more democratic in itself, and many would agree that democracy is a concept that the UK should strive to emulate.

    EDIT- Young people are often more liberal, but they change their tune later And many old people are more conservative. A political leaning being associated with a stage in life should not invalidate it.

    SECOND EDIT - It should be added that voting IS NOT compulsory. There's a good chance that if somebody is just not interested in politics, they won't bother going to the polling station. There are suggesting that people would vote for petty reasons, but without strong political convictions, I doubt many would get off the sofa.
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    (Original post by calumsteele1)
    i voted no, lets be honest whilst its a nice idea in theory many 16year olds have very little idea of anything political and would just end up wasting a vote for petty reasons like impressing threads or fun brnading etc.
    I would say that regardless of age the majority of people have no idea about politics.
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    (Original post by internetguru)
    I remember on some BBC programme they said "if you are old enough to die for your country then you are old enough to vote". People are allowed to join the army at 16 therefore yes it should be lowered.
    You are allowed to join the Army at 16, but only with parental permission. Also, you can't, under UK and international law, fight at 16; you must be 18 to fight on the front line, so the "old enough to die, not old enough to vote" argument isn't really true.
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    (Original post by Bornblue)
    Yeah let's make it so just the rich can vote.
    Absolutely not. ^^

    I think we shouldn't - 18 is old enough. I think some people I know at the age of 15/16 don't even know who the Prime Minister is. When they're 18, they will have more awareness of the world they live in.
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    16 year olds, as a general rule, have no idea what makes a good policy. They are mostly more concerned with what immediately benefits them rather than what will be good for them overall. For most 16 year olds I imagine subjects such as the economy are intangible at best and on all issues they will tend to take more extreme views than moderate.

    16 year olds are stupid, is what I'm saying. Even stupider than everyone else.
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    Definitely not. I agree with the people who've said that a lot of young people are just not "worldly wise" enough to vote (and I'm including myself, a 22 year old, in this, to some extent). Maybe if, as someone has already suggested, political issues were discussed more in schools. But for now, keep it as it is.
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    (Original post by Bobifier)
    16 year olds, as a general rule, have no idea what makes a good policy. They are mostly more concerned with what immediately benefits them rather than what will be good for them overall. For most 16 year olds I imagine subjects such as the economy are intangible at best and on all issues they will tend to take more extreme views than moderate.

    16 year olds are stupid, is what I'm saying. Even stupider than everyone else.
    a) That's a blanket accusation.
    b) Are you surprised that many 16 year olds don't understand politics? How many people would take an active interest in a pursuit that they are legally completely detached from?
    c) Are you suggesting that 18 is the magical age when a complex understanding of policy and economy dawn upon the population?
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    (Original post by JollyGreenAtheist)
    a) That's a blanket accusation.
    b) Are you surprised that many 16 year olds don't understand politics? How many people would take an active interest in a pursuit that they are legally completely detached from?
    c) Are you suggesting that 18 is the magical age when a complex understanding of policy and economy dawn upon the population?
    Sorry to butt in, but 18 tends to be the age when people are somewhat freer of authority and many are off to university at that age, or are working. It's easier to have an independent opinion when you've not got that pressure on your shoulders to conform to the political views of your teachers and peers.
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    I am 16, and even thought I believe that I could make a wise vote, I don't believe the majority of people my age could. Yes, there are 16 year olds than CAN make intelligent desicions, but there is still a large percentage of immature and ignorant 16 year old's who would make silly choices, based on no significant knowledge of the government. Their votes wil most likely be influenced by their peers, and not based on their own opinions.
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    (Original post by CharlieBoardman)
    I am 16, and even thought I believe that I could make a wise vote, I don't believe the majority of people my age could. Yes, there are 16 year olds than CAN make intelligent desicions, but there is still a large percentage of immature and ignorant 16 year old's who would make silly choices, based on no significant knowledge of the government. Their votes wil most likely be influenced by their peers, and not based on their own opinions.
    Completely agree with you Charlie.
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    Here is red herring for you people claiming they should not be able to vote as they don't understand politics. Would you support banning black people to vote if they did not understand politics?

    If yes then well we need go no further it is just an epic fail on your part.

    If no then surely that is hypocritical?
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    I think as a 16 year old that the voting age should be lowered to 16 as I know that myself and many of my friends have concrete political views which we have thought through greatly.

    Furthermore, I feel that often the reasons for people to oppose the lowering of the voting age is that they feel young people are not mature enough or do not have enough knowledge of politics. In response to this may I say that it is therefore not the fault of the youth but rather the education system that fails to educate them effectively about politics. In addition, if teenagers knew they could vote at 16 then maybe they would feel more responsible to educate themselves about politics regardless of the failings of the education system. Moreover, the youth parliament in the UK is a good example of the maturity and ambition of the youth.

    I may sound ignorant but whats all the hype about 16 year olds wanting to vote?
    its not like thier one vote is going to change the country #justsaying
    If you have that attitude then neither will yours or anyone elses' vote change the country! However, in a democracy, the people ('demos'-state) is meant to have a right to have a say in the running of the country. At the moment, there is a large percent of the population who do not get to have a say in policies that will affect their future. In my opinion, it is only right that the youth have a say.
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    (Original post by najinaji)
    Sorry to butt in, but 18 tends to be the age when people are somewhat freer of authority and many are off to university at that age, or are working. It's easier to have an independent opinion when you've not got that pressure on your shoulders to conform to the political views of your teachers and peers.
    So 16 year olds should not be given the vote because they might be influenced by someone?

    For starters, young people of all ages are influenced by their peers. Moreover, a significance crux of parliamentary politics in the UK is influence is discipline from a higher order - party whips.

    I do accept the general premise of your point; yes, 18 year olds may be more likely to form an independent opinion, but I think the fact that they are still influenced by the government significantly at 16 is enough justification to give them the vote.
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    I voted no, have you seen the year 11 of your local school? idiots mostly still

    i do take issue with all these tory voters saying it will make voting "bias" because of policies, i thought voting was supposed to be bias ie you vote for who you want not the conservatives because this person thinks everyone should
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    (Original post by Setanta23)
    Simple Yes or No Question, Should the voting age in The UK be changed to 16?

    What do we all think?

    If it helps in making your decision, I would like to point out that currently, In the UK the voting age is 18. Although in The Crown Dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, the voting age is already 16.

    The main argument is that the voting age should be appropriate to ensure that the person is old enough to make an informed and independent choice. My question however is that how can this really truly be defined? I mean if we look at the various ages at which young people are allowed to legally do things in the UK, we find that there really isnt any consensus on at what age someone really becomes an adult.

    Indeed if we note that right across the UK the legal age of consent is now 16 years old. The legal age to marry in the uk is 16 in Scotland and 18 (or 16 with parental consent) in the rest of the UK.

    The legal age required to purchase alcohol in the uk is 18, although between the ages of 5 and 17, it is legally permissible for children to drink alcohol at home or at a friend's house with the permission of a parent or legal guardian.

    The legal age at which a person is able to drive in the UK, is 17.

    The legal age to purchase tobacco in the UK is 18, but yet the legal age to smoke it is 16.

    The legal age at which someone may join the army in the UK is 16 (although under 18 year olds, require their parents permission).

    The age of Criminal Responsibiilty in the UK is 12, (This is when a child becomes criminally responsible for their actions and the consequences of their actions and so from the age of 12 onwards, individuals are then considered an adult in the eyes of the law. Therefore, all punishment given by the courts or other law enforcement agencies will rest solely upon them.

    The age at which Parental responsibility ends in the UK is when the child reaches the age of 16.

    A young person in the UK must stay in school until the last Friday in June of the school year in which they turned 16. After that they are legally allowed to work Full-time and therefore legally required to pay Tax and National Insurance contributions.

    In the UK there are also different levels of National Minimum Wage, depending on a persons age.

    The current rates (from 1 October 2011) are:

    •£6.08 - the main rate for workers aged 21 and over
    •£4.98 - the 18-20 rate
    •£3.68 - the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18
    •£2.60 - the apprentice rate, for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

    To be elected to the House of Commons, A person must be aged 18 or over, but to sit in the House of Lords, a person must be 21 or over.

    So after reading all that you may be asking what have all these legal ages got to do with the age of voting? Well it is my opinion, they have everything to do with it, because if we take into account all of the above facts about legal ages in the uk, it seems that when it comes to our laws, we really are all over the place in our legal viewpoint for when we consider someone old enough or responsibile enough for their actions.

    I am 23 and so I have no real benefit in the goverment lowering the voting age to 16 but it is something that I would support and something that I would vote Yes on (furthermore If it was up to me I would make 16 the legal age for everything but that is a topic for another day). But my main aim for asking this question is to find out what each of you think? Should the voting age be lowered to 16?

    All debate and points of view are welcomed
    I voted yes for the simple reason that I believe in the American idea of no taxation without representation. which makes me wonder what the situation is in USA.
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    (Original post by JollyGreenAtheist)
    So 16 year olds should not be given the vote because they might be influenced by someone?

    For starters, young people of all ages are influenced by their peers. Moreover, a significance crux of parliamentary politics in the UK is influence is discipline from a higher order - party whips.

    I do accept the general premise of your point; yes, 18 year olds may be more likely to form an independent opinion, but I think the fact that they are still influenced by the government significantly at 16 is enough justification to give them the vote.
    I wouldn't say that 16-17 year olds are particularly influenced by the government. Many of my classmates and others of my age seem to be irritatingly anti-government and are on the political fringes (anarchy and communism are particularly amusing ones :teehee:) I would like to ask though, why age 16 in particular?
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    (Original post by internetguru)
    Perhaps we should also have an age limit so that retired people cannot vote as they also do not pay taxes.
    At what point did I say that only people who pay taxes should be allowed to vote? Seriously, point it out because I must have missed it.
    (Original post by Bornblue)
    Yeah let's make it so just the rich can vote.
    No, let's not.
    (Original post by dgeorge)
    I don't see why changing political views should stop anyone from being a voter?

    I've changed many of my views from since I was 21 (I'm 26 now) does that mean I shouldn't have voted in the previous 2 elections that I did?
    My point was that large portions of 16-21 year olds don't live in 'the real world', and therefore should have some life experience before having the chance to vote.
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    (Original post by Bobifier)
    16 year olds, as a general rule, have no idea what makes a good policy. They are mostly more concerned with what immediately benefits them rather than what will be good for them overall. For most 16 year olds I imagine subjects such as the economy are intangible at best and on all issues they will tend to take more extreme views than moderate.

    16 year olds are stupid, is what I'm saying. Even stupider than everyone else.
    Aren't the majority? If the Government decided to tax Yorkshire more I certainly wouldn't be happy about it, even if it was in the ''national good''

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