Thursday, 26 January 2012

Alex Salmond wants to lower the voting age to 16 - it should be raised to 25

Apparently Alex Salmond proposes allowing sixteen and seventeen year olds to vote in the Scottish Independence referendum (Question: Do you want to turn into Albania, only wetter and colder?) This, of course, is a bold, original and somewhat desperate attempt to beef up the “yes” vote.

On paper, from Salmond's point of view, it must look like a good idea –  after all, the majority of modern teenagers educated in Britain’s splendid state school system know absolutely nothing whatsoever about history, geography or economics, and will have been bombarded with vicious anti-English propaganda by overpaid socialist teachers on a daily basis.

There are, however, a few stumbling blocks for Salmond to negotiate for his scheme to bear fruit. First, if referendum day is declared an official holiday, he’ll have to figure out some way of getting the little bastards out of bed in time to vote. I suggest starting the referendum at midnight to catch them at one of the rare times of day when they’re guaranteed not to be asleep. Second, he’ll have to figure out a way of motivating them to vote. Handing out free booze, fags, pizza, knices and cans of spray-paint at the polling station might pay dividends (in fact, I presume it would also pove an incentive for most urban Scottish adults).

Third, he’ll have to make sure they remember which way to vote – sixteen-year olds have notoriously poor memories, unless it concerns personal slights (which they never forget). Tattoing “Yes” in huge letters on the backs of their hands might do the trick. But, as they’re teenagers, he’ll have to make sure they don’t automatically do the opposite of what they’ve been told. And that’s where I think he may face an intractable problem, because I imagine Salmond comes across as one of those annoyingly matey head teachers whom all teenagers utterly despise, and whom they’ll go out of their way to disobey.

There will also need to be some sort of sanction against those who fail to vote "yes" – for instance, nae gang oot fer a mumf, or being forced to wear a tweed jacket and cravat for a similar period. But how do you police that? I mean, large tracts of Glasgow resemble Beirut circa 1985 – it’s Europe’s murder capital, after all – so, apart from sending out death squads composed entirely of Barlinnie hard cases, it’s difficult to see that anything much is going to scare Scotland’s youth into delivering their country into Salmond’s grasping hands.

On the whole, I’m not that keen on giving children the vote. Personally, I’d be happy to see the general voting age raised to at least 25. Most voters – even in today’s new, exciting, leisure-oriented Britain – might have done some work by that age (athough, to be fair, that doesn’t hold for Glasgow), and might have noticed that quite a lot of the money they’ve worked for keeps disappearing, only to end up in the pocket of those who can’t be bothered to work: that tends to make a chap reflect.

I know the standard response to raising the voting age is that if you’re old enough to fight for your country, etc… Well, fine – let’s give the vote to everyone in the Armed Forces, no matter what their age. Besides, that's like arguing that every child should be given child benefit when they reach puberty simply because they’re biologically capable of producing children of their own (which I gather most of them do in Glasgow at the earliest available opportunity). We don’t give children child benefit until they’ve reproduced, so I don’t see why we should give the vote to those of fighting age until they actually sign up.

Sucking up to teenagers began back when I was one ( "Y'know, people of our generation have made a pretty poor fist of running the world - maybe it's time we gave young people a chance"): I loathed being patronised by twerps like that back then, and I'd be surprised if most of today's teenagers don't feel exactly the same way. 


  1. I have made this point before to the illuminati who comprise the readership of your blog, to no effect so far.

    The only politician to have got this right was the late Screaming Lord Sutch. As long ago as 1966, he advocated a balanced policy of lowering the voting age from the then 21 to 18, and raising the age of consent from 16 to 60. Sadly only one of these proposals was put into effect, and quite possibly the wrong one.

  2. Yikes, this is the biggest load of xenophobic, ageist, narrow-minded crap I've read in a long time. Thanks for the entertainment!