Bus Stop Dave

davidayersSixteen and seventeen year olds can be charming, well-informed and great company. It has to be remembered, however, that they are neither children nor adults. Yes, many of them are bright and canny but capable of making decisions on sophisticated issues they are not.

They can’t buy tobacco or use a sunbed, they can’t be held in an adult jail and they have to be in education to age sixteen and soon it will be eighteen and most important of all they cannot vote. Surprisingly then, their opinions may be sought in the imminent referendum on whether the United Kingdom should stay in the EU or leave it (you’ve heard that awful new word Brexit).

Young people, if surveys are to be believed, are more likely to vote to stay in, just as older people are more likely to vote to leave. So this could be seen as an attempt to tilt the playing field in favour of staying in the EU. Upon what can youngsters base their voting choice? They only know the status quo, whereas the EU goes back decades and some of us remember a referendum way back in the Seventies. They cannot possibly have the required depth, cynicism or memory to make a valid judgement about such an issue. The cost of adding them to the electoral register is considerable and they might not turn out on the day.

So where is this pressure coming from? Why, the House of Lords of course! You remember the House of Lords, the unburied dead, those self-important has-beens whose lavish meals cost the tax payer £60,000 per week? Both the Left and the Right want to abolish it, although for very different reasons. Look at Norway and Austria, the Lords tell us, their youngsters can vote, so why not ours? The countries that we use for comparison with the UK always baffle me. Norway and Austria have manageable populations and are not multi-cultural to the extent that the UK is. It’s pointless gawping at such examples, because we cannot copy them.

To maintain things as they are and to stay in the EU is in the interest of what we might loosely call ‘the establishment’ but how desirable a course of action would that be anyway?

A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all readers of Fuertenews.

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