Sunday, 13 June 2010

What a Poor Excuse

Alex Salmond, leader of the SNP, has always supported reducing the voting to 16. As the law stands at the moment 16 and 17-year-olds are able to register even though they have yet to reach the voting age of 18.

According to today's Scotland on Sunday the reason Mr Salmond wants the voting age reduced is because he hopes that the addition of 125,000 teenagers in the 16-17 age group will help the SNP's cause as polling evidence suggests that young people are more inclined to support independence than the middle-aged and elderly.

That may be part of his reason, but reducing the age to 16 brings it into line with being able to leave school, get married, join the military or work full-time.

The Electoral Commission has given their judgement and believes that adjusting the electoral roll to ensure that all Scottish 16-year-olds are given the chance to vote could expose them to danger. It fears that extending the voting franchise could result in details of children under the age of 16 being put on the electoral roll, a public document, making them easily identifiable to predatory paedophiles.

This category of potential voters are known as 'attainers' because they will 'attain' the age of 18 by the time the next election comes around. By registering as attainers the young people's date of birth are made public and they are automatically given the right to vote as soon as they reach their 18th birthday.

One easy solution is not to make the young person's age public. Why is it necessary to make it public? Attainers are not voters so why should their age be published?

Or is suggesting this information would attract paedophiles one of the poorest excuses to stop the voting age being reduced in line with today's society? I certainly think so.

Pauline McNeill, Labour's constitutional spokeswoman said: "It is a very serious point to consider if children's details are to be made public before their 16th birthday. Labour has always been open-minded about whether 16-year-olds should be given the vote. But in this instance we think it is a gimmick."

That's not a resounding 'no' from Labour is it? In other words Ms McNeill is all for the voting age being reduced but not to suit the SNP. Labour will reduce it if they regain power and only if it's shown that it helps them, which it will of course. Not all the 125,000 youngsters will be voting SNP - or will they?


Apogee said...

Hi SR.
So why publish the age at all. Leave it on the computer data base and the data protection act should stop it being released.
Is this the same Electoral Commission that has been responsible for some perverse and strange Electoral statements/judgements over the last five years?

Witterings From Witney said...

You know something SR? Never mind reducing the voting age - I would raise the voting age, along with the right to leave school & get married!

Just because you have the 'right' to get married and join the armed forces does not mean you have the knowledge nor the 'right' to vote. In any event, at 16 one knows nothing of the world, half of them don't even know what a constituency is or have the remotest idea how parliament and democracy works. All they seem interested in is their 'rights' which is amazing as again some don't even know their left from their right!

Also until our education system is corrected and 'knowledge' is once again taught in schools the problems will remain!

I would also bring back National Service with a view to teaching discipline which is sorely lacking in our society.

Well, the above 'right-wing' views should guarantee you a nice long 'comment thread' on this post!

I will be back to sustain the argument for my views - promise.

fraser said...

By all accounts the S.N.P and that numptie Alex salmond need all the vote's they can get,Labour will regain control.

Apogee said...

WFW. After a couple of things I have heard locally in the last couple of days, I would say you are absolutely correct.

Brian, follower of Deornoth said... what way is having sex with 16-year-olds paedophilia?

Witterings From Witney said...

Apogee, I will take that as endorsement of my views, rather than my remark about the 'comment thread'. Thank you.

JRB said...

You will find no argument in this quarter. In fact I think you will find considerable support from many.

Here in the Highlands we have just been invaded by thousands of these young so-called ‘Attainers’.
A small picturesque rural village of some 230 souls located on the banks of Loch Ness has been invaded and swamped by 35,000 noisy, garish, loud, often intoxicated such ‘attainers’.
It takes more police officers to maintain law and order for this one weekend rock concert that it does to police the entire Highlands for a twelve month.

I’m sure it is the cry of every older generation – but – if they are the future; then God help us all.

Witterings From Witney said...

JRB, thanks for your support for a little 'common sense'. Still waiting for the 'lefties' to appear and whine though!

Michael said...

Quite right WFW.

You can join the forces at 16 but are not ment to be put in the firing line.

At 16 you can marry with parental consent. The final decision is not the childs.

At 16 you can't drink because you are not considered to be responsible.

At 16 you can't watch X rated movies or buy X rated games. I have to but the games for my own kids.

Witterings From Witney said...

Michael, thank you too for your support.

subrosa said...

Exactly Apogee and yes it is the same bunch of incompetents.

subrosa said...

There's a lot of sense in what you say WFW, but I can't see any politician suggesting ages should be raised.

As for national service - don't wish that on the army. They're stretched enough training the new recruits who want to be there.

subrosa said...

I see you've plucked out the poll which was straight after the election fraser. Of course it would be similar to the G E.

subrosa said...

I think Brian, what they mean is that they would have to register before they were 16 (don't ask me why) and therefore they would be classed as children.

subrosa said...

Ah I see you're affected by Rock Ness John. My sincere sympathies.

Did we behave as they do? I can never remember problems but then again none of my friends had the money to buy alcohol etc. We'd have sacrificed everything just for the concert ticket.

subrosa said...

Here's another thought. What happened to 'the key of the door at 21?' There are few formal 21 birthday celebrations these days. It's all this 18 business.

Such a shame because I thought 21 was a sensible age and certainly something to look forward to.

Mrs Rigby said...

If parents are so concerned about keeping their childrens details private they can opt to keep the address/registration details off the public electoral register.

Or is that too difficult? Or is it different in Scotland?

Didn't the last government introduce legislation to raise the school leaving age to 18?

subrosa said...

I'm sure they can Mrs R and this statement from the Electoral Commission just shows their allegiances.

I know two youngsters who are leaving school shortly and both are just 16. They don't want the 'pay' to stay on. One is desperate to train with his uncle as a builder and the other just hates school and his attendance record has been dreadful for years. What he'll do is anyone's guess because his level of basic education is poor.

Conan the Librarian™ said...

Michael-Not in Scotland.
Scots law still has no requirement for parental consent.

Jeanne Tomlin said...

I can assure you that in the states we were at least as rowdy back in the olden days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

The weans now are amateurs in comparison.

subrosa said...

Good for you Jeanne. Alcohol and nicotine was our taboo, dancing the exercise and work funded it all.

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