Love the BBC article this morning:
"Should the UK be raising the voting age rather than lowering it?"
--- something I have been questioning on here for years now. Great to see the viewpoint finally getting some attention, and to see that they come to the same conclusion as me (that there are very logical reasoning to raise the age, but it will never happen because the societal/political cost is to high).
As for lowering the voting age, the problem you have is:
you need to change the reason for having a voting age limit to make it logically sound.
Because the current reason for a voting age, is that is the time when you become an adult. Not the time when you take on a few more responsibilities (you can get married.. with parental consent..) (you can join the army... with parental consent...) but the time when you become a fully fledged adult within society, independent, most likely contributing, with the same legal status as other adults.
If you apply that standard - as I did in my previous posts, and the BBC has finally done.. then actually what you quickly see, is that we need to raise the voting age, rather than lower it! By all indicators people are entering adolescence earlier, but leaving it later. There are numerous psychological studies that back up wthat the BBC article was hinting at. 30 years ago the average adolescence was something like 13-18. Now its more like 12-21. Home ownership, financial independence, paying tax, having babbies, entering full-time work, getting married... etc. the markers of adulthood are being pushed later and later.
So if you want to change the voting age - you can't argue that people are growing up quicker, or maturing quicker, or that 16 year olds are adults.Instead you must make the case that children (which they are), should be allowed to vote as well as adults.
if children can vote? People who don't meet (on average) the criteria of being adults, what is the differentiation between 16 year olds and 15 year olds? Legally they are much closer than 16-to-18 year olds.. their circumstances are the same.. they can both work? One has finished their GCSEs? Is that our new line in the sand - finishing your GCSEs? How do we now include children in our democracy, and account for the differences to adults? Etc. etc.
the voting age should remain at 18 because:
Raising it - is what the cold/hard/logic points too.. but its socially and politically never going to be an option
Lowering it - is socially and politically an option,
but the logic is so flawed that the majority of the adult population is still against it.
Sadly.. I 100% expect to see it lowered to 16 within my lifetime. Labour will do it. They know its a good chunk of extra votes for them - and they know that society is becoming more and more willing to bypass logic for emotion. They will sell it on the emotional angles 'don't they deserve a voice' 'its their future!' etc. and they will play the good-guy, whilst knowing full well they are doing it to increase their voter base. 2.9% more voters in most constituencies? The vast vast majority of which are left-leaning? perfect.
as for why they are left-leaning..
there are a few reasons. Most of their teachers are left-leaning, and most of the media they consume is.. young people are more prone to peer pressure and outside influences then older people, so the effects of their immediate environment are stronger on them. This coupled with the fact that we know that the more responsibility you have in your life, and the more assets you have, are both likely to make you more right-wing, means that they swing to the left even more. for example, there is a substantial swing to to the right in people after they have kids.. after they start paying tax, and after they own their own house. Generally speaking 16 year olds have little responsibility, and therefor on average swing left far more then older generations. The final reason they swing-left, is that young people are more psychologically open to change, and radical new ideas - two things the right opposes.
All in all its very very natural, and unavoidable that young people swing left, and older people swing right. But it should be factored in when considering youth-voting. Young people don't swing further left because they are better educated or of better morality and virtue then their parents.. they do so due to psychologocial and sociological reasons that are largely out of their control.