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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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    (Original post by dgeorge)
    To be clear, I didn't vote in the UK

    :eek:

    but my home country. My political views have changed in that I no longer believe that there is such a thing as a party which is 100% true to it's beliefs. The vast majority of politicians are out for personal gain, and many often say contradictory things over the course of their political career in order to ensure simply that they hold on to power.

    If I had to define myself, I guess I would call myself a moderate liberal.

    (PS
    However, at home, there was a "Labour Party" in government (though I'm not sure if their idealougical values fit that of the UK Labour Party) which I was happy to vote out because they had won 5 elections in a row, with one person being at the helm for four of those terms, and his son being at the helm for the other two. The new party which I had voted is now beginning to show many cracks despite having campaigned on transparency and good governance)
    Yeah, I completely agree with the bolded part. I always thought I was a Labour supporter only because I was grown up with friends who had very political parents who voted labour and so I was almost conditioned to think that. I think over the past 3 years (I'm turning 23 soon) that I've started to find myself and I found myself switching through opposite sides of the political spectrum and then coming to the conclusion that I agree with certain policies and ideals from parties on both the left and the right.

    I suppose that's pretty good... it keeps you rational when dealing with politics, which is pretty rare since a lot of people are so 'die-hard socialists' or 'die-hard tories' etc. Though I know that I tend to lean towards certain parties (namely lib dems or the Green Party) I still find the other major parties to have sound views that I could agree to... but that's probably down to politicians taking a populist line in order to gain as much as they can without being truly representative.
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    have you seen the average 16 year old ?
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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.
    How are those two things in any way related?
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    (Original post by electriic_ink)
    How are those two things in any way related?
    If you are mature enough to decide to have unlimited liability at the hands of your Govt then you are mature enough to decide what type of Govt is best.

    ie if you're not ready to have a 1 in 30,000 say of who is your constituency MP then how on Earth are you ready to die?
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    (Original post by kingkongjaffa)
    have you seen the average 16 year old ?
    Have you seen the average 45 year old?

    Its not 16 year olds that make The Sun the UK's best selling newspaper you know...
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    (Original post by Welsh_insomniac)
    Yeah, I completely agree with the bolded part. I always thought I was a Labour supporter only because I was grown up with friends who had very political parents who voted labour and so I was almost conditioned to think that. I think over the past 3 years (I'm turning 23 soon) that I've started to find myself and I found myself switching through opposite sides of the political spectrum and then coming to the conclusion that I agree with certain policies and ideals from parties on both the left and the right.

    I suppose that's pretty good... it keeps you rational when dealing with politics, which is pretty rare since a lot of people are so 'die-hard socialists' or 'die-hard tories' etc. Though I know that I tend to lean towards certain parties (namely lib dems or the Green Party) I still find the other major parties to have sound views that I could agree to... but that's probably down to politicians taking a populist line in order to gain as much as they can without being truly representative.
    I agree, to be honest you can pick out sensible things from almost any party's policies. It's usually picking the lesser of two (or three) evils
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    (Original post by Dux_Helvetica)
    Also, if it were to go down to 16, would that be an instance of representation without taxation? Interesting.
    Also the argument doesn't hold up so will when 20% of Govt spending is funded by borrowing.

    Also the same goes for many pensioners and claimants.
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    I am undecided on this issue.

    I feel that the level of political education in this country is quite poor, and as such, a lot of (but not all!) young people do not have much awareness of politics, or any political issues, and as such, 16 is far too young to let them influence the outcome of an election.

    However, on the other hand, are 16 year olds that much less politically aware than 18 year olds, or even 40 year olds? Is political awareness something that you get when you turn 18? No. Chances are, 16 year olds who want to vote and are political aware will register and vote, and those who aren't won't.

    There are good reasons for and against, but I'd probably say that there aren't enough good reasons to change the system, so the age should remain as it is.
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    (Original post by JollyGreenAtheist)
    I think it absolutely should.

    (A) 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.

    (B) 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.
    (A) Aside from the fact that 16 year olds can't be sent to the front lines (which I didn't know about before today), I don't actually see why being able to join the army (and conceivably die) at any given age means that you should be able to vote at that same age. If it were compulsory for 16 year olds to join the army, or some sort of conscription were introduced, then I think that argument would be much stronger.

    (B) Correct me if I'm wrong - and I may be - but couldn't a 14 year old pay income tax if he's earning enough? I couldn't find anything on http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTax...eTax/DG_078825 that suggests that 16 is the age at which you can start paying income tax. And doesn't anyone of any age who buys anything pay VAT?


    (Original post by dgeorge)
    Understandable. However, you're old enough to
    do most jobs full time,
    old enough to legally have sex,
    old enough to enlist.
    Why not vote? The decisions that are being made will affect them, I think 16 is a reasonable age to be allowed to vote.
    The key difference here is that for any of those things, the action taken will affect the person in question only (and whomever their marrying/having sex with, but presumably they'll also be over 16). When you vote, you affect everyone else as much as you affect yourself, and I think that's a far greater responsibility.

    In a failed marriage between two 16 year olds, they're the only people affected by their poor decision. A thousand 16 year olds voting without a second thought will affect a thousand older, wiser and more thoughtful adults as much as it will affect the 16 year olds in question.



    I haven't seen a single good argument for why the voting age should be lowered. If anything, it might be good to raise it.
    I also think there's a lot to be said for having to pass a test of some sort before you can vote.
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    (Original post by Quady)
    If you are mature enough to decide to have unlimited liability at the hands of your Govt then you are mature enough to decide what type of Govt is best.
    But you don't have unlimited liability at the hands of the Government as soon as you turn 16. You can choose to have unlimited liability at the hands of the government at the age of 16 by joining the army. It's a big difference.
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    (Original post by Julii92)
    But you don't have unlimited liability at the hands of the Government as soon as you turn 16. You can choose to have unlimited liability at the hands of the government at the age of 16 by joining the army. It's a big difference.
    So you can make that choice, but you can't choose whether you think your constituency MP should be one person or another?

    Why are you suitable at 16 to make the first decision but not the second?
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    (Original post by Julii92)
    If it were compulsory for 16 year olds to join the army, or some sort of conscription were introduced, then I think that argument would be much stronger.
    Its not compulsory to vote either, its optional for those who have the right to.
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    (Original post by Julii92)
    I also think there's a lot to be said for having to pass a test of some sort before you can vote.
    eg What qualities made Eden a suitable Prime Minister?

    How did Arthur Balfour successfully influence the Navy's high command?
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    (Original post by Quady)
    So you can make that choice, but you can't choose whether you think your constituency MP should be one person or another?

    Why are you suitable at 16 to make the first decision but not the second?
    Because you're the only one affected by joining the army. When you vote, you affect everyone else (in your contry, constituency, or whatever).


    (Original post by Quady)
    eg What qualities made Eden a suitable Prime Minister?

    How did Arthur Balfour successfully influence the Navy's high command?
    That's a very good point, and one I don't have an answer to. I'm certainly aware of the problems inherent in such an idea, and it's possible that the problems would just be insurmountable. I'm just saying that in principle, it's an idea that I think should be looked at more - although maybe it has already been looked at and rejected for good reasons.
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    (Original post by Julii92)
    (A) Aside from the fact that 16 year olds can't be sent to the front lines (which I didn't know about before today), I don't actually see why being able to join the army (and conceivably die) at any given age means that you should be able to vote at that same age. If it were compulsory for 16 year olds to join the army, or some sort of conscription were introduced, then I think that argument would be much stronger.

    (B) Correct me if I'm wrong - and I may be - but couldn't a 14 year old pay income tax if he's earning enough? I couldn't find anything on http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTax...eTax/DG_078825 that suggests that 16 is the age at which you can start paying income tax. And doesn't anyone of any age who buys anything pay VAT?
    Re your first point: Surely the state deems 16 year olds mature and responsible enough to handle weaponry, represent Her Majesty overseas (I am of the understanding that there are training bases abroad) and ultimately be in a position where life may be risked, even if not directly on the battlefield. Moreover, soldiers are arguably political tools, so one can be in the political landscape, without having suffrage as it stands.

    Re your second point: 16 years is the general age where people receive their national insurance cards and are allowed to work more hours. In terms of job legislation, it is a landmark in a young person's life where they are significantly more likely to contribute to the economy than before.

    That said, I acknowledge that these are points based on a pretty arbitrary age. My OP states stronger reasons than this.
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    (Original post by Julii92)
    Because you're the only one affected by joining the army. When you vote, you affect everyone else (in your contry, constituency, or whatever).
    How about being able to start for Parliament at 16 then? That doesn't effect anyone else (I'd contest that joining the army only effects you but that can slide).
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    (Original post by JollyGreenAtheist)
    Re your first point: Surely the state deems 16 year olds mature and responsible enough to handle weaponry, represent Her Majesty overseas (I am of the understanding that there are training bases abroad) and ultimately be in a position where life may be risked, even if not directly on the battlefield. Moreover, soldiers are arguably political tools, so one can be in the political landscape, without having suffrage as it stands.

    Re your second point: 16 years is the general age where people receive their national insurance cards and are allowed to work more hours. In terms of job legislation, it is a landmark in a young person's life where they are significantly more likely to contribute to the economy than before.

    That said, I acknowledge that these are points based on a pretty arbitrary age. My OP states stronger reasons than this.
    1/ I would argue that it's a different type of responsibility between being allowed to handle a weapon and being able to have a real impact on the type of heating that's provided to pensioner's homes. It's an emotive example but I think it communicates my point better.

    Ultimately, I think it makes sense to say that someone needs to have an appropriate level of maturity and sensible decision making ability before being able to either join the army or vote. But in this case, I think that's more an argument to raise the age of joining the army to bring it in line with the voting age.

    2/ Thanks for mentioning those points, I didn't know that. While I still hold by my opinion, that puts your argument in a different light.

    I think it is a case of drawing the line somewhere, and to me, 18 makes more sense than 16, for the simple reasons of increased maturity and independence.
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    (Original post by Julii92)
    (A) Aside from the fact that 16 year olds can't be sent to the front lines (which I didn't know about before today), I don't actually see why being able to join the army (and conceivably die) at any given age means that you should be able to vote at that same age. If it were compulsory for 16 year olds to join the army, or some sort of conscription were introduced, then I think that argument would be much stronger.

    (B) Correct me if I'm wrong - and I may be - but couldn't a 14 year old pay income tax if he's earning enough? I couldn't find anything on http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTax...eTax/DG_078825 that suggests that 16 is the age at which you can start paying income tax. And doesn't anyone of any age who buys anything pay VAT?




    The key difference here is that for any of those things, the action taken will affect the person in question only (and whomever their marrying/having sex with, but presumably they'll also be over 16). When you vote, you affect everyone else as much as you affect yourself, and I think that's a far greater responsibility.

    In a failed marriage between two 16 year olds, they're the only people affected by their poor decision. A thousand 16 year olds voting without a second thought will affect a thousand older, wiser and more thoughtful adults as much as it will affect the 16 year olds in question.



    I haven't seen a single good argument for why the voting age should be lowered. If anything, it might be good to raise it.
    I also think there's a lot to be said for having to pass a test of some sort before you can vote.
    Serving in a war, you aren't serving yourself, you are serving your country. Therefore, you aren't the "only" one affected by this. Likewise, having sex, more specifically having children, affects others. Someone dying affects their family and friends.
    Working, affects ALL the people who interact with them, be it fellow employees and customers. I don't see why someone can be old enough to make a living, earn a wage, and dispose of that money how they want but NOT be able to make decisions on who they want as their leader
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    (Original post by Quady)
    If you are mature enough to decide to have unlimited liability at the hands of your Govt then you are mature enough to decide what type of Govt is best.
    Well there's the problem. I don't see how anyone can believe that 16 years olds are mature enough to decide whether or not they want to die for their country (which is precisely what makes them perfect candidates for the army).

    Trying to argue for a change in the voting age based on precedents set by other laws is stupid anyway. Five year olds can legally drink - are they mature enough to drink responsibly? Of course not! And yet the law assumes they are.
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    (Original post by electriic_ink)
    Well there's the problem. I don't see how anyone can believe that 16 years olds are mature enough to decide whether or not they want to die for their country (which is precisely what makes them perfect candidates for the army).

    Trying to argue for a change in the voting age based on precedents set by other laws is stupid anyway. Five year olds can legally drink - are they mature enough to drink responsibly? Of course not! And yet the law assumes they are.
    Its just an odd anomaly, if you can take a job pay tax and carry a weapon it seems the state expects 16 year olds can take more responsibility than is needed to decide who to vote for, which for the majority of the population is blindly following their parents.

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