At the Labour Party Conference, Ed made a big deal about votes at 16. In my community I have heard mixed views, but I have to say I am all for it, but for it to be truly beneficial there has to be a number of other changes to go with it, and they revolve around education and voting practice.
I have no problem with 16 year olds voting. In reality, they can get a job, have children and therefore having a vote should be a no brainer. One of the constant arguments given to me is that they are not mature enough or don;t know enough to make a “proper vote”. I think that’s nonsense, having talked to many 16-17 year olds on the doorstep, they are as well-informed as anyone else.
For me, the issue would be around having more political education in schools, majoring on the political system and what it has cost us to keep it. It needs to look at local government as well as national to highlight the impacts and effects that come about. It seems daft to me that the fundamental underpinning system for running the country is paid lip service to in schools, when that is where we could be inspiring the next generation of leaders and country builders.
But also we should look at voting systems, we should be able to vote online, as well as removing other barriers to make it as easy as possible for people to make their mark. This, I feel, would also go some way to addressing the lack of voter turnout.