On Friday 3rd November 2017 an important Private Members’ Bill was blocked by this weak Tory Government. This Bill by Jim McMahon had the aim to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in both Local and General Elections.
Why 16 and 17 year olds should be allowed to vote
I personally feel strongly about allowing 16 and 17 year olds to vote and decide about their future and the future of our Country.
Here are the reasons why:
- 16 and 17 year olds are mature enough to be able to vote. Let’s think about the interest and knowledge they demonstrate about Politics and current affairs, they talk about politics at home and at school.
- Despite being the first generation to have received citizenship education, they are denied their full rights as citizens
- Their peers in other EU nations (Norway and Austria) have higher turnouts than 18 to 24 year-olds.
- Many young people were also extremely upset they couldn’t vote in last year’s EU referendum, as their future is bound up in the UK’s future and place in the world.
- 16-17 year-olds were able to vote in the independence referendum in Scotland and in Wales 16-17 year olds are also allowed to vote.
I also believe that if young people are registered early and get into the habit of voting in their late teens, there will be lasting improvements in turnout. Those who vote when young, continue the habit throughout their life.
The Youth is not in the interests of this Government
This Private Members’ Bill was, and still is, supported by all the main the political parties but not the Conservative Party (note: the Scottish Conservative Party has been supportive of the proposal).
I believe this is mostly due to their concerns about losing share of the votes in future elections. As the 2017 General Election demonstrated majority of young voters voted Labour and not Conservative. Labour was indeed forty seven percentage points ahead amongst those aged 18 to 24.
The arguments used to stop this bill were poor and the decision of the Tory to kill of the bill at a very early stage is likely to see even more 18 to 24 year olds voting Labour.
Finally, the opposition to the Bill seems to confirm the fact that Tory MPs put their survival and the survival of their Party first and the interests of the United Kingdom second. Just like when David Cameron called a the Referendum over our membership of the EU and now with the EU Withdrawal Bill.
This weak Government is running scared of every issue the Country is facing and is certainly not interested in guaranteeing a better future for the youth of the Nation.