It is only 49 days till the General Election, 49 days till you make your decision, who do you want to represent you locally? And whom do you want to stand for you, on a national level?
As both a Politics student and the Youth Officer for this Borough, I find myself a little excluded from all the debates I see, all the news I read. Why? Well, despite being 16 years old, (old enough to marry, earn the minimum wage, claim benefits or even join the army) and having a love for politics, I cannot vote.
As it stands, the voting age is currently 18 years old, yet the thought behind it doesn’t make sense. As a 16 year old, I am more than aware of how the world works, and how the economy works. I go to college full-time, have a part-time job and, like many of my friends; I do take an interest in politics.
Its almost as if being a 16 year old isn’t a mature enough age. I feel this is extremely unfair, when the votes have been counted in May, there will be a new government, who will have their session for a minimum of five years. I will be 20 by the time there is a second election, that’s means that for all of my university and early adult years, most of the decisions that will have an influence on my life have not been decided by me.
How is this democratic? It makes no sense, in our democracy, we are allowed to vote and decide who will govern us, yet I am not able to do so.
The reasons for opposing to give us 16 year olds the vote are limited and small. When the Scottish referendum came about in 2014, there was something extra special about this election. 16 year olds could vote. It was clear for all to see the enthusiasm from several teenagers on television, they were interested in what was going on, and wanted to have a say on a issue that would have a huge impact upon their lives.
Some would argue that because it was a matter of constitutional affairs, then it was necessary. I disagree; it is unfair that we shouldn’t have the chance to vote. In Scotland, it is estimated that around 68% of those eligible signed up to vote in the under-18’s bracket. An astonishing turnout, even higher than our last general election.
As it stands, Ed Miliband has promised to allow this to happen, whether you believe it, is another question. Yet it is a positive sign, the Liberal Democrats are strongly in favor of the move. The Conservatives have long been against the move, but it could change, and the Green Party has too promised so.
Overall, most leaders promise the change, and it will be interesting to see whether they will. Whatever happens, I will only be able to vote in 2020, but hopefully, those below me will also be able to do so.