(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