Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Votes For Adults

It is entirely as one would have expected that a poll on the website of The Guardian has revealed two-thirds opposition to giving the vote to 16-year-olds.

There is not going to be a hung Parliament in 2015, so there is no need for Labour to appeal to the Lib Dems. Labour is consistently ahead of the Conservatives by at least the amount that would need to apply in reverse for the Conservatives merely to equal the number of Labour seats.

Even Gordon Brown, who was quite keen on lowering the voting age, could never get it passed a Parliamentary Labour Party which he otherwise dominated for decades; he had the same problem with the Alternative Vote.

The Adam Smith Institute has been campaigning for this change for donkey’s years. Toby Young is enthusiastic in his support of it. It is David Cameron who, with regard to the franchise for the referendum on Scottish independence, has already conceded the point of votes at 16.

And it was on 24th January this year that the House of Commons passed a disastrous, even if non-binding, motion in favour of lowering the voting age to 16. Note that no such motion was ever passed while there was a Labour overall majority.

Harold Wilson probably thought that he might gain some advantage from lowering the voting age. But in fact the Sixties Swingers hated him, and they handed the 1970 Election to Ted Heath. They did so to no one’s surprise more than Heath’s and his party’s.

And they did so because, after Selsdon and all that, the Swingers 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 Conservative. By voting for Margaret Thatcher.

All in all, do not worry about this, or pin any hopes on it, as the case may be. As much as anything else, half of Labour Party members are teachers, meaning that one in six teachers is a Labour Party member. At present, they just need to be careful what they say in front of the Upper Sixth, a form which most secondary schools do not have.

But if this change were to be effected, then everyone who taught a Year 11 class would have to be on guard whenever there was any kind of election on. No party full of teachers would ever create that state of affairs.

Of course, the massive predominance of teachers over any other walk of life among Labour members would be one of many problems solved by simply declaring all levy-paying trade unionists and other members of affiliated organisations to be individuals members of the Labour Party without need of any further payment.


  1. Labour will of course back this plan- kids who've never worked for a living, (or had to pay Labours crippling tax rates) and have no experience of making money are Milibands ideal constituency.

    As for the Sixties Swingers-Roy Jenkins, Anthony Crosland (and thus Harold Wilson) were all members of that brigade. Easy divorce, easy abortion, the 1971 decriminalisation of drugs-all were Labours achievements.

    As was scrapping the death penalty-Roy Jenkins pet project.

    Ask Peter Hitchens- he used to campaign against capital punishment when he was a member of that Sixties Leftist club.

    Then he grew up.

  2. That wasn't how they voted. Just project their ages through their lives. Up to the present day, in fact. But especially in the 1980s.

  3. Somebody voted Harold Wilson, Roy Jenkins and co into office. That was the baby-boomer Sixties generation.

    Why would the Sixties generation have "hated" the Prime Minister who delivered their aims of decriminalising drugs, closing grammar schools, relaxing the abortion and the divorce laws, and abolishing the death penalty?

    He even did what they wanted on the Vietnam War (they were at least right about that).

    I can't see what on Earth they could have objected to.

    Jenkins and Crosland were the Sixties Swingers voice in Westminster.

  4. Utter rubbish. You actually cannot add up if you think that.

    Most people in Britain in 1964 and 1966 were not in their twenties, the Swingers hated the Wilson Government, and it waged a long battle against union-busting pirate radio, which was funded by the man who went on to bankroll the proto-Thatcherite Institute of Economic Affairs, whereas its principal antagonist was Tony Benn.

    As soon as teenagers could vote, there was an unexpected Conservative victory, and no more Labour majority governments for 27 years.

  5. This is just nonsense.

    Do you think it was trade unionists and traditional Labour voters who were for relaxing censorship and laws against abortion, divorce and immigration, or abolishing capital punishment and grammar schools (among the other things Jenkins achieved)?

    No-it was the Sixties Generation who wanted all of that.

  6. Not at all.

    I just copied and pasted the Sixties Swingers shopping list-and it turns out to have been all of Harold Wilson's policies.

    Now who could that have been aimed at?

  7. What, before they had the vote?

    And none of those things was ever party policy. Nor was opposition to them ever the policy of the other party.

    You are a very good argument against a voting age even as low as it is.