Okay, so with Cameron having supposedly secured a deal with the European Council and managed to get all member states to agree – which I think is a miracle in itself -, the referendum is likely to be just around the corner. We will apparently find out today (February 20th), although it has been rumoured to be at the end of June. Now, what I want to know is exactly why those of us who are 16 and 17 should not be allowed to vote.
As a law student, I have studied the EU and the impact it has on the British constitution so, already, I am a 17 year old who probably knows more of the facts needed to form a judgement than the majority of adults allowed to vote. I’m not boasting, it’s just true. (Note: this is, in part, the fault of the media, and our country’s leaders, for not removing any bias or opinion and just being informative for once)
Also, 16 and 17 year olds are not ALL as stupid and disinterested as some like to think. Some of us have managed to pass our GCSEs with flying colours, some of us have represented our country in a sport or other form of expression (music, art, theatre – you name it), and some have actually been involved in politics by appearing on Question Time or by being part of their local party of choice. Yet when it comes to the country giving us something back? Oh no, we’re not capable of making the right decision. Admittedly, there are some who let the side down with their behaviour – and probably wouldn’t make an informed decision – but in all honesty, I don’t think they’d care enough to vote anyway.
Lastly, one of the terms of Cameron’s deal was a seven year “emergency brake” on migrants’ in-work benefits. In seven years time, somebody who is 17 now will be 24 years old – maybe even nearly 25 – and could easily have been a member of adult society for 6 years, if they finished their education at 18. Even someone who went to university would be a fully-fledged member of adult society by then, and would probably be paying the taxes to show for it! Some 16 year olds have already left education and are making a living RIGHT NOW, yet will not be able to make their voice heard about something as serious and as game-changing as the EU referendum.
So why should we have no say now in something that could potentially be affecting us greatly in a few years time? And why are our opinions of no value when somebody who is possibly even less than a year older can be considered able to make a ‘wise’ decision? To me, it makes no sense.
If you do want to share your views with me I’d be glad to hear them, so just DM me on Twitter @Caitlin_OB!
Photo credit to Nicholas Raymond.