Should 16 & 17 year olds get to vote in the referendum?

Young people need to vote. They need to get out there. Every vote counts. Educate yourself too. Don’t just vote. Know what you’re voting for, and stand by that – Nikki Reed.

The EU referendum is going to be delayed because it looks very well like 16+ years old will be allowed to vote.

This is going to be a very confused and all over the place blog post.

Let me start by saying that in terms of voting in the UK, I strongly believe the we should allow those that will be 16+ on whatever polling day it is to vote. If you are 16+ then you are likely to be paying tuition fees or paying taxes by the end of the next political term, and thus you should be able to have a say in who runs the gaff. No taxation without representation. However this belief comes with some caveats.

Firstly Politics, should be taught in schools. I had no idea what the process was for voting at 18 and it was that age I got my first vote in a general election. I had to be told by my dad where to put the X (in terms of the sheet, not party) where to place it after, etc. Not only that, I had no idea who to bloody vote for. All the election mailers (internet was not UK wide in 2000 and we didn’t have it!) went to my mum and dad, so in the end I went for what sounded “nice” and went Green.

If I had been taught what the process for voting was, and in an unbiased overview of politics, I might well have been able to make a decision based on my head, and not what sounded nice.

Secondly within these lessons, we need to teach children that their vote counts and to use it, and use it wisely. This is impossible under the current first past the post system as due to the new number of relevant and semi relevant parties, the system doesn’t work fairly.

Now, here comes the hypocritical bit. They shouldn’t be allowed to vote in the EU election as it currently stands.

I say this for both selfish and genuine reasons. The selfish bit is, that I believe the majority of 16-17 year olds that end up voting, will vote to stay in the EU. There, I said it. I also think the 16-17 year old vote will be very high. Its new and exciting, and will be touted in the media as such so take up will be huge.

The genuine reasons, are that my selfish reason is fueled by the fact that I believe that the majority of current 15,16 and 17 year olds don’t have a full understanding of the political landscape, especially under the EU. This isn’t a derogatory dig at young people. But unless politics is a specific interest the chances are that they wont know what has been happening for the last decade and will likely associate leaving the EU with leaving Europe.

And in the media, currently the EU is Europe. I mean you are a Xenophobe if you don’t want to stay in Europe right?

The above sentence will separate who has their eye on the ball to who doesn’t.

(If you are under 18, stay with me on this post, I promise it gets less condescending)

My last reason is that this is a deliberate ploy by the government to swing towards a “remain” vote

It’s not that I think you will vote the way I don’t want. More I think the majority will vote the way they will one day regret, and realize they have been used by this current government to swing the vote towards “remain”. Because my young friends. They are using you, because they think you will vote the same way I think you will.

If you are under 18 at the moment and have managed to get past my condescending rambling, just read a few more lines.

This government went back on tuition fees, it never gave you the vote at the GE, your prospects have worsened in the last 10 years, they have abolished a lot of grants, punished young carers financially, removed you from certain benefits, rents are soaring, the majority of you will be at your parents house until you are middle-aged, and they have cut your education.

Quite frankly in the last 10 years Cameron has preferred a pigs head over making life fairer for young people. Only just today thousands of your only slightly older peers marched through the capital, because they are tired of being screwed.

So we can safely say the government are not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, nor for your benefit.

At the end of the day, you young ladies and gentlemen are going to get this vote, and as I said at the top of this page, if you are going to be paying tuition fees, or working by the end of a term, you should be allowed to vote.

But The European Unions term over the UK never ends.

Make no mistake, this will be the most important vote you, I or anyone else for the next 60 years will ever place. More important than any general election, because it affects what the party we vote in at a general election can do. And it should not be that way.

If the majority want Corbyn, you should get Corbyn, If the majority want Green Party you should get them, and yes, thanks to democracy even if the bastards vote Tory you should get Tory.

If you vote “Remain” at this election. You always get the EU.

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