Across the globe, young people – particularly those of school age – are driving social change.
16-year-old Greta Thunberg and the legions of young activists she has inspired are the most recent example of young people taking ownership of their futures. They’re communicating, they’re lobbying and now they’re taking to the streets to demand a better future for themselves and their peers.
These young people are among the most creative, energetic and politically focused citizens in the UK right now, and yet . . . they’re denied a vote, excluded from the franchise, barred from democracy.
From Scotland to Brazil, to Austria, we are seeing that 16- and 17-year olds not only have the maturity to make careful and informed choices at the ballot box, but also the energy and foresight to drive social change from the bottom up.
At present, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party and the Green Party all support votes at 16. Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, has also confirmed that she is a “fully paid-up member of the ‘votes at 16’ club”.
As another nation-defining vote appears to be just around the corner, the time has come to recognise that democracy suffers when young people are barred from participating.
Therefore, we are calling on the Government to include 16- and 17-year olds in all future UK elections.
We say, it’s time to #ModerniseDemocracy. We say YES to #16AndVote.
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