The Electoral Commission has come out against the idea of reducing the voting age to 16 but in favour of reducing the age at which you can stand for election as an MP to 18 from the current 21.
On balance this may be a decent compromise. Most 16 year olds probably aren’t quite mature enough to vote though the decision will piss off the sizeable number who are. Mind you, I’m not entirely sure that most people of whatever age are mature enough given how much they end up being influenced by the rantings of the likes of the Daily Mail and the desperate (and quite deliberate) ignorance of the Sun.
The decision to recommend reducing the minimum age for candidacy seems a good one. It’s always been something of an anachronism since the voting age was reduced to 18 at the end of the sixties. The voting age and the age at which you can stand for election are not really related. To be an MP you have to persuade people to vote for you after all. I suppose by this logic we could lower the candidacy age to zero or even less. Hey, there’s an idea. Foetal MPs. But then there may be some of those around right now: have a close look the next time you see a photo of William Hague for example.
Posted 19 April 2004, 23:03 BST