Who pays for Every Child Matters? Who do you think?
It is now running a poster campaign for which only children can be forgiven. The demand is for the lowering of the voting age to 16, and the posters illustrate apparently 16-year-old persons, under slogans wholly unrelated to voting.
“I can get married, but I can’t vote”, says one. You shouldn’t be able to do either, say I. “I can join the Army, but I can’t vote”, says another. On balance, you probably shouldn’t be able to do either, say I. “I can drive, but I can’t vote”, says a third. Not if you’re only 16, you can’t, dear. But my personal favourite is “I can fix your car, but I can’t vote”. What others might there be? “I can do up my buttons, but I can’t vote”? Go on, enjoy yourselves.
It shouldn’t be necessary to explain this, but clearly it is. Lowering the voting age even further would pose a very serious threat to democracy, since no one seriously imagines that the opinion of a 16-year-old matters as much as that of his Head Teacher, or his doctor, or his mother. So why, it would be asked unanswerably, should each of them have only as many votes as he has? Thus would the process start.
Harold Wilson probably thought that he might gain some advantage from lowering the voting age. But in fact the Sixties Swingers hated him, and handed the 1970 Election to Ted Heath, to no one’s surprise more than Heath’s and his party’s, because, after Selsdon and all that, they had thought that he was going to entrench economically their own moral, social and cultural irresponsibility and viciousness. As it turned out, they had to wait another nine years. But they did it in the end. By voting Tory.
But the lesson should have been learned. The very young would not even vote for a party which had been in office a mere six years, a long time to them. So the extremely young are certainly never going to vote for a party which, by this time next year, will have been in office since they themselves were a mere three years old.