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Should being informed on at least a basic level be a prerequisite to voting? watch

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    (Original post by brendonbackflip)
    I don't think it should stop them from voting - being educated seems way to subjective and could vary from your example to "wow, you didn't know that the Conservatives are the best for this country's economy? shouldn't be allowed the vote!" - but I agree there needs to be better information for voters to really utilize the democracy. It really frustrates me because I'm in a position where I'm interested in politics but couldn't vote in the May elections because I'm still 17, whereas most of my peers are 18 and don't understand it to the point that they either didn't vote or voted for silly reasons (I overheard a conversation where they were like "I'll vote for whoever's on the posters round where Iive" "I'll vote for who my parents voted for" "I'll vote for the women MP").

    In high school I have limited memory of learning about politics - we did (a very sketchy looking) political scale in some of my lessons where it was required for context, but never in like form time, assemblies, PSHE, or whatever. Unless you chose to do Politics at A-Level, you didn't learn about even the political structures of this country; that was for your own time. I don't know if it was just my school but surely just giving a little bit of information at a basic level should be required? Though I imagine it would be tricky to keep it totally objective and not bias in any form.
    The validity, motives of people designing any test and objectivity of any test keep coming up. It may not be the simplest thing ever to implement but these seem to me to be trivial problems which could be very easily overcome.

    I will give a hypothetical example:

    Lets say there is a wave of opinion asking for this and it is decided it would be a good idea and is to be implemented.

    The top 10 universities in the UK are then asked to nominate a top political professor who is not affiliated with any particular political party to form an independent panel.

    An objective test has to be agreed unanimously by this panel along the lines of.....

    1: Name 3 political parties

    2: Name the current UK prime minister and the leader of the opposition?

    3: Highlight one policy from the manifesto of 2 political parties.

    4: Name 2 changes the current government has brought in during their term in office.

    The questions which would be publicly known in advance could then be printed on the back of ballot papers, filled in prior to marking your vote and quickly checked at the polling station. Anyone who did not know the answers would have the opportunity to go away, return as quickly as they liked and answer the questions again.

    As mentioned I personally agree with some of the concerns raised but I do not think it would be impossible to do if the will was there and by the simplicity of the questions it should not be hard to remain objective.

    One benefit I see would that many people would do minimal research or have discussions about politics so they felt confident with the questions thus more people would be discussing politics.
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    Absolutely.

    Some people could be tricked into voting for a party that they majorly disagree with if they are only told of one thing that they like about them.

    It would be equivalent to lobbying. The parties would lobby for these ignorant voters.
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    (Original post by xDave-)
    But what would be the criteria to show that someone is informed?
    Exactly.

    (Original post by MJ1012)
    No, but comprehension of our political system should be held to the same importance as maths and english in our education system.

    (Original post by Emaemmaemily)
    No, we obviously shouldn't stop anyone from voting. Aside from the freedoms that have been thought for, being informed is not something easily proved, and it would create far more problems than it would solve.

    But we certainly need to make political education far more of a priority in schools. We should be ashamed of the way things currently are in this respect.

    (Original post by shahbaz)
    I think it should be taught in school instead of pointless RE or citizenship.
    This would be a disaster. Politics should be a 18+ matter. Why do I say this:

    1) politics in the school system could be biased easily in favour of those in power preying on younger minds trying to influence them
    2) generally, at 18 people are ready to make the step to university and therefore should be deemed ready to enter the world of politics - these choices affect people and should not be done on a whim.
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    (Original post by Sanctimonious)
    Exactly.









    This would be a disaster. Politics should be a 18+ matter. Why do I say this:

    1) politics in the school system could be biased easily in favour of those in power preying on younger minds trying to influence them
    2) generally, at 18 people are ready to make the step to university and therefore should be deemed ready to enter the world of politics - these choices affect people and should not be done on a whim.
    Information on politics is already heavily biased by most newspapers/media outlets. What people expect is for someone to actively pursue information on a relatively boring, uncool and confusing subject such as the political system while they are in their teenage years and allow them to make an informed decision the minute they turn 18. That clearly isn't working. A structured syllabus that covers the basic principles of political parties, current governmental decisions, and how the political system works can definitely be taught at schools. This will improve children's critical thinking abilities and create a better groundwork for politics in the future.
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    (Original post by Sanctimonious)
    Exactly.









    This would be a disaster. Politics should be a 18+ matter. Why do I say this:

    1) politics in the school system could be biased easily in favour of those in power preying on younger minds trying to influence them
    2) generally, at 18 people are ready to make the step to university and therefore should be deemed ready to enter the world of politics - these choices affect people and should not be done on a whim.
    There is already huge bias in all media outlets when it comes to politics.
    What we need to educate children on more is HOW it works, not necessarily much to do with actual ideologies.

    The whole reason so many people vote without having a clue, or don't vote at all, is largely because of the lack of education on the subject.
    It's what the governments want, an uneducated and therefore easily swayed general public. We need to start educating the children.
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    (Original post by markyb76)
    I am not sure whether you are including my suggestions when you draw this conclusion. If so I stated I am not talking about this to tackle people who may hold a different view to me. I am talking about people who simply do not understand the basic facts or who are voting based on complete falsehoods.
    It's the same thing really. They disagree with you on something, so they shouldn't be able to vote. Whether or not that thing is really bloody obviously factually wrong to any sensible person is neither here nor there.
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    It's the same thing really.
    It is not even remotely the same thing.

    One is differing opinions which I would encourage, the other is holding factually incorrect information.

    For example, whether the UK government are good is a subjective question which is open to interpretation depending on what you class as 'good'.

    Regarding who the current prime minister is or who the political parties are or any details of what is written in their manifesto's is either correct or incorrect it is not open to interpretation.

    If someone holds the opinion that Margaret Thatcher is the current leader of the UK they are simply wrong and minimal research can objectively prove this.

    I am not proposing having any subjective questions whatsoever as a prerequisite to voting.
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    (Original post by markyb76)
    It is not even remotely the same thing.

    One is differing opinions which I would encourage, the other is holding factually incorrect information.

    For example, whether the UK government are good is a subjective question which is open to interpretation depending on what you class as 'good'.

    Regarding who the current prime minister is or who the political parties are or any details of what is written in their manifesto's is either correct or incorrect it is not open to interpretation.

    If someone holds the opinion that Margaret Thatcher is the current leader of the UK they are simply wrong and minimal research can objectively prove this.

    I am not proposing having any subjective questions whatsoever as a prerequisite to voting.
    I don't want to get into a discussion about how there is no such thing as objective truth, because to be honest it is incidental to all practical considerations ever. More important are the many shades of grey which lie between the two examples you mention. That is where the problem really lies.

    It is not just that the way the government were to phrase a question could easily bias the respondents towards a particular view. It is far from inconceivable that a government of a particular stripe could adjust the knowledge criteria in such a way which would prejudicially affect the electorate of their opponents. Consider how intelligence tests were used in the US south to exclude poorly-educated black voters. Likewise a Conservative government might decide to make requirements more stringent which would most likely have the result of disenfranchising the poorly-educated, urban poor who tend to vote Labour. Other situations are foreseeable too, and at the end of the day I simply think it is a can of worms best left unopened.

    Finally, it really smacks of an snobbery which would cause deep resentment amongst certain elements of society towards a political class which is already seen as elitist, distant and paternalistic. But hey they'd have fewer votes so what they think is less important...
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    (Original post by Rinsed)
    More important are the many shades of grey which lie between the two examples you mention. That is where the problem really lies.
    I am talking about empirical questions with no shades of grey as per the examples I gave


    (Original post by Rinsed)
    It is not just that the way the government were to phrase a question could easily bias the respondents towards a particular view.
    As I said in my previous post the government would not be setting the questions, an independent panel could do so.


    (Original post by Rinsed)
    It is far from inconceivable that a government of a particular stripe could adjust the knowledge criteria in such a way which would prejudicially affect the electorate of their opponents.
    As I said in my previous post the government would not be setting the questions, an independent panel could do so.


    (Original post by Rinsed)
    Finally, it really smacks of an snobbery which would cause deep resentment amongst certain elements of society towards a political class which is already seen as elitist, distant and paternalistic. But hey they'd have fewer votes so what they think is less important...
    I am talking about the most simple of questions not an 'exam' in politics. This loops back to the original question and whether we want or do not want people voting who do not know the most simple of questions such as who the leader is and what they offer in their manifesto.

    There may be a case for it disengaging certain groups but I feel there is a flip side of that coin as it may stimulate more political discussion on politics. Political discussion may be better stimulated by amending the curriculum to include politics at an early age as has been advocated by others in previous posts. As has also been pointed out though the government may resist this as they would have to contend by a less easily swayed and better informed electorate.
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    Nope.


    That's not a fair democracy.
 
 
 
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