Whatever your political affiliation, I beg you to reject giving the vote to citizens who lack the biological maturity to make a judgement on the consequences of rigidly ideological policies.
I had great hopes for Jeremy Corbyn when he first came to the fore in British politics. First of all, I admired the way he took on the fat Blairite smuggies and wiped the floor with them – twice. Second, he had a long track-record of euro-scepticism, having recognised long ago that its social democracy image was utterly false. And third, while not sharing his politics, I felt he was constitutionally a very good thing: by the time he became leader of the Labour Party, the Conservatives were showing all the signs of changing Britain slowly into a carefully veiled corporate State. (They still are)
But then, with each chance he was given to prove his principles, Corbyn disappointed. He became an apologist for First Past the Post voting. He hid his anti-EU views and campaigned half-heartedly to remain in it. He allowed Momentum to present him as some kind of surreal cross between a wrinkly rock star and a miraculous Evangelist. He surrounded himself with like-minded Marxists, and promoted a former shag to high Shadow office for which she is woefully unsuited, and always badly prepared. He has set in motion a quietly Stalinist purge to get rid of Labour’s social democrats. He has made promises he cannot fulfill, and adopted causes that attract votes and editorial coverage ahead of causes that are far more worthy and involve far greater numbers of badly cheated citizens.
Overall, it is clear he is often cynical in his opportunism, and neglectful of the needs of those he calmly calculates will never vote for him. His latest (and thus far, worst) act of power-seeking populism is the pledge to give ‘The Vote’ to sixteen year olds.
The arrant hypocrisy of a feminist-influenced Party that says men should not have sex with women at that age “because the girls are still children and incapable of mature decisions” – and then argues for them to take part in voting for one government versus another – is risible, despicable and cognitively dissonant all at the same time.
But Jeremy of Galilee is all for it. And the simple reason is, he knows the overwhelming majority of those kids will vote for his starry-eyed claptrap. For Mr Corbyn is a socialist ideologue: promises are a means to an end, and the end is Holy – therefore lies are allowed, because Berthold Brecht says so….the Good Woman of Szechuan and all that.
For the ideologue (of either Left or Right) there is no problem at all in making promises on the way to Power: once there, the Believers can delay the promises, quietly shelve them, and then grant a Citizens’ Charter enabling them to ignore all the clauses therein in perpetuity.
There’s no fool like an old fool, it’s true: but there is in turn no useful idiot like a youthful idiot.
The privileged Parties sharing Britain’s political duopoly are, these days, equally blinded by ideology. Thus, wealth only ever trickles down, and the disadvantaged are only ever noble. Man is ethical enough to eschew greed when offered it on a plate, and moral enough always to accept a free gift without noticing that it beats working for a living. This great creation Homo sapiens never lies, obfuscates or conspires when selling financial products, and of course never commits fraud when claiming benefits.
Nonononononononononono. Not ever, no way.
Many voters – when they have to time to think about it – know that human beings are flawed from birth. They have three things to make that clear to them: common sense, the experience of everyday social intercourse, and the perspective that comes with being employed, employing others, buying stuff, being married, having kids, dealing with banks and voting for promises that, as often as not, do not come to pass.
There are two groups that don’t bring anything except (perhaps) the DNA of common sense to the table around which people play the poker game called voting: politicians, and those still in receipt of what passes in 2018 for “an education”.
Deciding who should and shouldn’t be allowed to vote in democratic societies is a four dimensional labyrinth in which nothing anywhere close to an “ideal” solution can be reached. I know men and women in their sixties who, when it comes to the sky/floor thing, are as daft as a brush. And I know nieces, nephews, young commentators and friends of my kids who positively pulsate with wisdom.
But on the whole – including reference to my own puberty – I know that citizens aged over thirty have more mature discernment than students aged 16.
Furthermore, I have never in my seven decades on this fruitloop planet met a single person who says, “No, actually, all the things I believed in at aged sixteen, I still believe in today”.
Think on this:
Do we allow kids aged 16 to take out property mortgages?
Do we allow them to serve in the armed forces?
Do we let them get married without parental permission?
Are they allowed to sign employment contracts without certain counter-signatures?
Can they obtain a credit card?
Do we allow teachers to freely have sex with them?
Do we allow them to drive a motor vehicle on our roads?
The answer to all these questions is, obviously, “no”. So why is this?
We bar sixteen year olds from these activities for a variety of social, medical, psychological, biological and neuro-scientific reasons. But at its core, our culture has developed these rules because – albeit perhaps wrongly in a tiny minority of cases – we have decided over the last three hundred years or so that adulthood does not begin at sixteen.
As I noted earlier, the idea of expanding the franchise is already a moral quagmire. To turn it into a heavily-mined quicksand of capricious maturity judgements simply cannot be rationalised on any basis beyond naked opportunism.
The right to assemble for free discussion and vote – for which UK citizens have fought, been deported to prison colonies and died since the dawn of the 19th century – brings with it a degree of power. With that power comes responsibility.
The average sixteen year old’s concept of responsibility is not what you’d call legendary. At age sixteen, I wanted very little beyond being responsible for putting my genital member into an attractive girl’s vagina; I had no idea what a clitoris was and I didn’t care. As for consensus of a mature nature with my peers, this consisted of life being “so unfaiirryer”.
At age sixteen, I wanted to have the looks of Paul McCartney and the lifestyle of Keith Moon. My main ambition was to saunter into a pub and order a pint of Tetleys without being asked for my birth certificate. I tried at all times to make my voice sound like Robert Mitchum’s. I thought Love was all you need, politicians were weirdos who wore Gannex raincoats and smoked pipes, Pamela Motown was the lead singer of the Four Tops, and any sum in excess of ten shillings (50p) represented wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.
This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I have revised or rejected every one of those beliefs in the intervening years.
In the best-of-the-worst system (we are alleged to have) called democracy, we have more than enough uninformed, misinformed, ignorant, sky-pied, one-eyed, knuckle-dragging, smug, misogynist, feminist, sexist, racist, ageist, anarchist, Islamist and denialist wallet-voters as it is. The last thing we need is to make that inevitability even more dysfunctional by adding in the votes of children whose level of philosophic muddle makes David Lammy, Nick Clegg and Nadine Dorries seem like models of legislative clarity by comparison.
I therefore submit my humble opinion. Everyone who fears for the triumph of power without accountability over informed reflection should reject any Party advocating the donation of full voting rights to Sixteen year olds.