Many will say that the 16 and 17 year olds in the Scottish Referendum did vote and this shows how this age group are ready to make this leap however a referendum on Scottish independence and a general election are very different. It is understandable why there was such a large turn-out in the referendum as this vote would not just have a huge immediate impact on society in both countries but also for the future and so many young people understood they were the ones who would have to live the longest with the decision and so came out in force. However, many young people don’t trust politicians and after the massacre of the British education system as we know it by the one and only Michael Gove, the trust levels have dipped lover than ever.
Going back to the main deficiency of this policy, a lack of basic political education, it is essential that whoever is in charge of this country next summer that they aim to not just undo the extremely terrible policies introduced by Gove but also enhance the citizenship curriculum so young people coming out of compulsory education will have a much better understanding of community, society and life. The UK Youth Parliament and I have also campaigned for a ‘curriculum for life’ to be introduced into all secondary schools. This curriculum for life aimed to replace the existing appalling citizenship lessons given half-heartedly by untrained teachers. The curriculum included financial awareness, community cohesions, sex and relationship education, cultural awareness and finally political awareness. Now, to me, introducing this curriculum for life would be the perfect first step to not only votes at 16 but to a community with more understanding of each other and the environment that surrounds them. It can strongly be argued that if children in secondary school are learning about sustainable living and political awareness, they come out of compulsory education as a very rounded person, something employers look for, and it would also show how good the English education system is.
It must be acknowledged that the PM has made a huge mistake by not even addressing this issue and shutting the door to any sort of debate as it makes it seem like the Tories are even more out of touch after the sex scandal and the UKIP defections. This will definitely put them further away from Labour in the elections and could potentially even lose them the election itself.
In summary, it is very clear that rushing into votes at 16 is the wrong attitude to have about this very big debate because it makes something so important to many nothing but an election winning promise. In addition to this, the necessary foundation of political knowledge is not taught in schools and so 16 and 17 year olds would either not turn up to vote or perhaps vote in line with their parents or friends and this can skew results in a way which could end badly. I still find it absurd that politicians of this country cannot see the absolute inefficiency of the education system in England and that it NEEDS reform NOW not later. If a politician comes out and says the education system will be reformed to help young people in life and not just to pass exams then perhaps votes at 16 is a legitimate policy, but right now it is too soon and the young people just aren’t equipped with the necessary tools to build this house.