The Conservative Party slogan is ‘A country that works for everyone’. Yet, on Friday, Conservative MPs deliberately filibustered a Labour-led Bill in parliament on lowering the voting age to 16, meaning parliament could not vote on the Bill. This just proves the Conservatives’ sheer and utter contempt for non-affluent young people.
It is about time that filibustering was banned in parliament.
The reason why the Conservatives are against lowering the voting age to 16 is because young people are more likely to vote Labour – and who can blame them after the way they are being treated?
Since 2010, the Conservatives’ austerity policies have hit young people from poorer backgrounds extremely hard. These youngsters have been priced out of further education. EMA was abolished. Careers offices have closed. Tuition fees continue to be hiked. And apprenticeships are inaccessible.
Only young people from affluent backgrounds are benefiting from further education because their families can afford it. Meanwhile, young people from poorer backgrounds are being forced into zero hours contracts and low-paid jobs so the Conservatives can crow about falling unemployment.
Young people are the future of Britain and I believe it is only fair that they get to have their say. The Conservatives have created a lost generation, young people are leaving school with no ambition and have been priced out of further education. Young people deserve a fair and equal deal and must be given the opportunity to have a decent start in life. They deserve it.
Instead of relying on cheap overseas labour, we should invest in young people so they have the skills to become doctors, nurses, builders, engineers, electricians and suchlike instead of forcing them into jobs that offer no hope or progression. Schools should also allow young people to study these jobs thus encouraging young people to leave school with an ambition.
I get frustrated and find it patronising when people say that 16 and 17-year-olds are not mature enough to vote.
Young people are more clued up on politics than people think. Since the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, thousands of young people aged under 18 have joined Labour’s youth groups and get involved with local campaigning. Many are also fluent with using the internet and have access to a vast amount of information.
I regularly have debates with young people on social media and they always debate sensibly and put forward strong opinions and arguments. And they are always polite, yet I have had adults aged over 25 resorting to insults and abuse just because they disagree with my opinions, while others have resorted to racism and bigotry. Those views and opinions are not welcome and only prove one thing: these people literally have no argument.
In the last election, Jeremy Corbyn acquired a huge amount of votes from students because he has addressed and pledged to end the Tories’ austerity policies and huge hurdles that are causing many a very difficult life. Labour has pledged to axe tuition fees and look at historical student debt. Only Labour is serious about putting young people first and giving them a decent start in life. And this is why the Conservatives fear lowering the voting age to 16, because they know Labour will benefit and will win the election with a decent majority. Data from the last election shows that more under 45s voted Labour than Conservative.
I have long supported lowering the voting age to 16. People can get married at this age, pay tax and even join the army – so it is only fair that they get to have their say. People must stop writing off 16 and 17-year-olds as being immature and start taking them more seriously.
Jeremy Corbyn has changed the political landscape in Britain and many young people now look up to him. As I said earlier, young people are the future of Britain and deserve to be part of democracy by having their say in elections.
I fear for the future for Britain’s young people, including my niece and two nephews. When they turn 16, I want them to be able to have their say in elections. By lowering the voting age to 16, I believe it will encourage more young people to get involved in politics, and many of them will go on to be local councillors and MPs. And it will also end our political system being led by people from affluent backgrounds including Etonians, many of whom are completely out of touch with ordinary people.
Unlike the Conservatives, I believe in democracy, which is why I support lowering the voting age to 16, and I fully support Labour’s pledge towards ending tuition fees and reinstating EMA.
Only Labour will put an end to young people being marginalised. The party will not give up fighting for young people and will continue pursuing a parliamentary vote on lowering the voting age to 16, while it remains in opposition.