Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Some more about that discussion of 16 and 17 year-olds

As I pointed out earlier there seemed to be a good deal of discussion going on in the House of Commons about the somewhat peripheral question of 16 and 17 year-olds voting in the forthcoming referendum. Somebody (I shall have to check that out tomorrow) compared the arguments against people who are treated as children in most ways and increasingly so to those used by Lord Curzon and others against women's suffrage. Or, in other words, according to this particular Labour MP (sitting next to Harriet Harman, she of the pink van) considers that there is no difference between women of any age and experience and teenagers of, necessarily, limited knowledge and experience. What, I cannot help wondering, would those tough Labour ladies of yore have made of this drivel.

Meanwhile, I thought I would check out something and that is the proposals to raise the age of compulsory education. We haven't quite got to that but it is in the pipeline and once it is introduced, the law will maintain that 16 and 17 year-olds will not be old enough to choose whether they want to study or work but, apparently, old enough to make decisions about this country's membership of the European Union.

In the meantime, I have found an interesting paper on the subject, which tells me that
The Education and Skills Act 2008 increased the minimum age at which young people in England can leave learning. This requires them to continue in education or training to the age of 17 from 2013 and to 18 from 2015. Young people will be able to choose whether to stay in full-time education, undertake work-based learning such as an Apprenticeship, or part-time education or training if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours per week.
Or, in other words, the spectrum of choices for 16 and 17 year-olds is being narrowed by law and they are increasingly reduced to the status of children. Could it be that the people who want them to vote in the referendum actually believe that and think that, being children, they will be easier to influence?

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