X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

Please note: Previously subscribers used a 'WebID' to log into the website. Your subscriber number is not the same as the WebID. Please ensure you use the subscriber number when you link your subscription.

Blogs Coffee House

Take it from a teenager: 16-year olds shouldn’t be able to vote

27 September 2013

10:30 AM

27 September 2013

10:30 AM

Like Charles Moore in this week’s Spectator, I am inclined to wonder whether there is ‘any conceivable good reason’ why 16-year-olds should have the vote. As a teenager interested in politics, I found not being eligible to cast a ballot until this year frustrating but reasonable. The idea that, at 18, I would become an adult, and as an adult I would be able to vote, made perfect sense. Departing from this principle by picking an arbitrary voting age is, as Moore points out, a slippery slope: what about all those politically oppressed 8 year olds?

It is never argued that 16-year-olds should have the vote as part of a broader scheme to lower the age of majority – which is what happened to 18-year-olds in 1969 and which would at least be a logical policy suggestion. Instead, those in favour of extending the franchise talk about ‘seeding respect for the political process’ and ‘increasing civic engagement’. Democracy is not a glorified lesson in Personal, Social and Health Education (or PSHE, as social classes are now called). If you maintain, as everyone seems to, that 16-year-olds aren’t qualified to sign a mobile phone contract, how can you possibly think them qualified to choose their government? Maybe the answer will become clear once I’m 21.

[Alt-Text]


Charles Moore is slightly less convincing when excluding 16-year-olds from the electoral roll on the grounds that very few of them pay tax. Although the rising school leaving age will soon make it virtually impossible to be under 18 and a taxpayer, there are plenty of adults who are also net drains on the country’s finances. Does this mean that people who have never worked a day in their lives shouldn’t vote?

As for who will benefit from this, well, Labour thinks it can get a boost in the polls from this policy. But whether or not the average 16-year-old has sufficient political awareness to cast a ballot, they can certainly detect an attempt to use them as vote fodder.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
Close