Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Giving the vote to children has long been a Labour aim because who was it who said “If a man is not a socialist in his youth, he has no heart”? The ‘success’ of the Scottish Independence vote showed how even a doomed endeavour can be boosted by enlisting the aid of the easily led. Many a battalion has been marched to their doom by a Commander-in-Chief with the rallying cry, “Follow me, men! I’ll be right behind you!” So why wouldn’t the left want to recruit an army of people still a long way away from ever paying for what they’ve had and what they wish for?
Just imagine the campaign slogans: “Because it’s just not fair!”, “Stamp your feet if you agree!” and “Don’t come out of your room until the nasty Tories have said sorry!” And think of the way votes could be ‘finessed’ from their callow trembling hands: Polling Day Parties where frenzied mobs of pissed-up teens are led from the dance floor to the voting booths having been love-bombed for several hours by Labour luvvies on stage. Votes sold and swapped online for the discounts on whatever the hell it is young people spend their pocket money on these days. Postal votes collected from the bedsides of the terminally idle.
None of this is to deny that some young people – a couple of dozen at least – are genuinely capable of learned political discourse. But you can’t fail to have noticed how it is somehow cool to be a hip, lefty gunslinger, forever protesting about one thing or banning another, but dismally tedious to be a young fogey, dressed in drab tweed and earnestly discussing free market economics. Politics is supposed to be boring when you’re young; no wonder it is invariably the fantasies of Russell Brand and Eddy Izzard and the Occupy movement who suck in the impressionable ‘yoot’.
And then there are The Greens; a more fucked up ideology you would be hard pressed to find. Free electricity from seaweed and living on clover and grass; communism with none of the trappings of actual power or influence and a hand-knitted lentil beard for every convert to the cult. Ban the car, halt commerce, close the banks and let’s all live by barter and beetroot. Oh and crystals and holistic medicine and ley lines; the kids lap up that shit, so naturally Labour looks like a sort of grown-up choice by comparison.
or and this will happen!
Given that we have extended the end of childhood from fifteen to around thirty, should we not instead be thinking of raising the age of majority and with it the entitlement to vote? I have met very few under twenty-fives who should be trusted to wield the X. That first-paragraph quote by the way, in various forms, is attributed to several people: Edmund Burke, Victor Hugo, George Bernard Shaw, Georges Clemenceau, Benjamin Disraeli and occasionally Winston Churchill but the true meaning never alters. It is incomplete without the caveat, “If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40 he has no head." What’s Miliband’s excuse?