Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday 12 August 2009

Underage Voting

Underage Voting

MP for Cardiff North, Julie Morgan has
recently introduced a Private Members Bill
into the House of Commons, aiming to
reduce the minimum age for voting from 18
to 16.
I don’t know about you but I’m having to
rethink my attitude to both democracy and
capitalism in the light of what has been
happening recently. Let’s start with democracy.
Gordon Brown insists that the aim of
the coalition invasion of Iraq was to rid the
country of a dictator and install democracy
for all its people.
By this I suppose he means to introduce
a system of democracy where pledges
made in a manifesto are not binding (like a
referendum on the Lisbon Treaty); where,
when asked questions on Government policy,
its is not necessary to give a straight
answer, or even an answer at all (PMQs);
where when a majority of the people favour
the death penalty for some offences such
as proven rape and murder of young children,
the Government resolutely declines
to listen.
At the recent Norwich By-Election,
despite all the recent scandals and evidence
of Labours poor handling of the
economy, (despite their protestations that
the UK is better placed in the recession
than most), 20% of the electorate still voted
for them. There are some constituencies in
the UK where it would be true to say that if
the Labour party put up a chimpanzee
against a Conservative, the ape would win,
because the voters, like their fathers and
their fathers before them, wouldn’t elect a
‘Toff’. This is a bit naughty I admit, but it
serves to make my point; that some people
vote without having a clue as to the issues
involved. Should this disqualify their vote?
It’s not only a problem in the UK. Look at
Thailand, a country where they have had
countless coups in the last thirty years
because the electorate stubbornly refuse to
vote in the right party. Most famously, the
last one, involving Thaksin Shinawatr,
came about because the Prime Minister
with a hardcore base in the rural north of
the country was hated by the intelligentsia
and civil service. It was alleged that
Thaksin, bribed the peasants to vote for
him using public money and promises to
improve their lot. When in power, it is
alleged he abandoned the poor and
shamelessly used his position to line his
own pockets as well as those of his family.
He was accused of putting his own interests
above those of the country and is now
I’m not saying this is what would happen
in Iraq or Afghanistan, but I’m not hopeful.
The people will vote for that party which
promises to give them the most for nothing,
even if they can’t subsequently deliver; it’s
nothing more than human nature.
This brings me back to the voting age.
Kids as young as sixteen have usually
been nowhere and done nothing; their limited
experiences making no useful contributions
to the debate.
Why, therefore, give them the vote? Why
not make it 14 or 12?
Is this Bill before Parliament, therefore,
nothing more than a Labour ploy to garner
more votes on the basis that these
teenagers are more likely to vote for the
I only ask because I want to know!
Have you got the answer?
Let us know at:

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