Should 16-17 year olds be allowed to vote?

Should 16-17 year olds be allowed to vote?

With the recent controversy of the Scottish independence referendum allowing 16-17 year olds to vote, one can’t help but wonder whether this might be extended to other referendums or even general elections? It doesn’t seem likely, but would it make sense? At 16 you can leave school, have a full-time job, pay tax, legally have sex (implying an ability to take care of a child as a possible consequence) and you can even sell scrap metal. With parental consent you can join the Army, get married or leave home. However, you can’t vote. At 17 you can begin to drive, yet you still cannot vote. Is this fair?  I think theoretically it isn’t, the idea that you could be paying tax but not have a say in how much that tax is or how it is distributed – one of the big ideas that our political parties fight over – is not right. As a 16 year old myself, I realise that in practice the vote of my age group would generally not be very well informed, if it was even bothered to be used. The 18-24 age group already has the lowest turnout, with only 44% in the last general election. But it would be ridiculous to pretend that all of the older and supposedly ‘wiser’ voters are always well-informed. With turnout also overall being low (at not much over 50%), the situation does not look so much better currently. It can be argued that 16-17 year olds are not adults yet, parental consent is still needed for some major life changes – but is this so important?...
Sorry you got a C… No Sixth Form for you!

Sorry you got a C… No Sixth Form for you!

This post title is a similar situation to what 120,000 16-year-olds faced earlier this year on results day…SHOCKING!!! Just imagine for a minute, how you would feel if you were participating in a Boat Race in the foregone London Olympics, and when nearing the end you found out that they extended the race by another mile… because you got there too quick? Well – that’s how I and thousands of other students felt in August on GCSE Results Day. Against the amazing backdrop of the London 2012 Olympics; with Britain winning numerous gold medals and the success stories that inspired many young people; was the devastating after effects of the English Language controversy over the moving of the grade boundaries half way through the course – leaving many students unable to continue onto Higher Education and shattering their lifelong dreams; ironic considering the supposed effect David Cameron wished for on the youth. There are several reported reasons to why there was a sudden grade boundary change, ranging from a government intervention by Education Minister Michael Gove, to the exam boards trying to compensate in July for a supposedly easier January exam. Whatever the reason, it seems really unfair and it has ruined the aspirations of many people aged 16, leading them to forfeit their previous ambitions and consider new career pathways. What is apparent though, is that every year for the last 23 years, students achieving a pass had increased by an average of +4% – whereas this year the pass rate decreased by nearly -4%; something’s obviously not right here. However, the Welsh government have the right idea,...