Should the voting age
Be lowered to

Left wing teachers will be delighted with this news regarding the Scottish referendum as they will see themselves marching their charges down to the polling stations and, after showing them how to vote, they will be happy to advise on who to vote for.

The teenagers will also naturally be delighted with this chance of escaping from the drudgery school for an afternoon. But is this act of harnessing sixteen year olds to the wheel of democracy a fair and decent thing to do?

The trouble with being sixteen is that a youngster is overloaded with hormones and forced to deal with the often dramatic changes which are taking place within. A sixteen year old is so busy coming to terms with themselves as developing adults they donít have time to start thinking carefully and rationally about which political party to vote for. Adults are supposed to take care of this problem for them in a responsible and far-sighted manner. In consequence, even the suggestion that governments should throw the responsibilities of voting on the shoulders of a sixteen or seventeen year old who is struggling with inner upheavals is surely cruel and inhumane.

Don't forget that once harnessed to the wheel of democracy people can try to pressure a sixteen year old to vote for a particular person. Also, when tempers flare, sixteen year olds can be accused of being indifferent if they didn't vote and of being a fool if they voted for someone the person they are arguing with doesn't like. No fun at all! Might even be termed political child abuse.

---October 11, 2012---

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