30 September 2014
While the Scottish referendum has passed, it has left in its wake a fresh debate about voting and the age at which we allow our young people to exercise this privilege. It seems like, ultimately, this discussion comes down to the question: are sixteen year olds “mature” enough to make decisions about politics?
When you consider the things a person of sixteen can legally do, whether that’s joining the army or getting married, it seems a bit backwards that they aren’t able to voice their opinion about the way the nation is run.
Personally, I think it’s interesting to canvas opinions across all ages and walks of life. I had opinions as a kid as to which politicians I liked. At that age, you hear your parents talking (whether you agree with them or not) and you watch the news. Why should your opinion be taken less seriously than someone two or more years older?
I think these days, young people have a real thirst for knowledge yet we tend to underestimate them. Do we encourage learning about politics enough at school? Is it necessary to maybe focus more on presenting practical information about what’s going on in the country at the moment, as opposed to stuff that happened thousands of years ago?
If sixteen year olds are interested in voting, maybe it’s time for society to move on a little and allow them to get involved in shaping the future of our nation.