Voting Rights of Young People
This from the Guardian on the voting rights of young people:
“The constitutional question of suffrage for young people is becoming important as the country faces big decisions This week saw the announcement that the Scottish government plans to give 16-and 17-year-olds the vote in a referendum on Scottish independence.
The issue raises an age-old cultural question: When do you become an adult? Is it when you have your first pint? When you get your first mobile phone? When your get your legs blown off by an IED in Britain’s imperial adventure in Helmand?
The origins of this policy are inspiring. Aileen Campbell, Holyrood’s youngest MSP, contacted the constitution minister, Mike Russell after she was approached by a 16-year-old constituent. Campbell said:
Taking Scotland on the road to independence through a referendum is all about increasing democracy and accountability in Scotland – so it simply makes sense that 16-and 17-year-olds have their say too – it is after all, their generation that will be mostly affected by Scotland’s decision.
Your own response to this may be influenced by your understanding of self-determination, your own development and your ideas about the history of the union.
The constitutional relationship between Scotland and England is usually framed as a marriage, now in troubled times and inevitably facing the horrors of “divorce”, “break-up” or “separation”. It’s a traditional unionist view of the relationship, which frames the natural state of affairs as a marital union. I’m never sure of the gender status of each nation in this picture. A republican interpretationviews the two nations as siblings brought up in the same home and now ready to leave and join the adult world.”