Sixteen Again

Have just been in the Chamber to hear Natascha Engel move an amendment to the Parliament Voting System and Constituencies Bill calling for 16 and 17 year olds to be given the vote in the AV referendum next year. Natascha is absolutely my favourite MP when it comes to parliamentary debates; she’s passionate and funny and has absolutely no respect at all for stuffy parliamentary conventions.

The Mogg of course is another favourite, and it was disappointing to see him sitting in the Chamber during Natascha’s speech but not intervening on her. His thoughts on votes at 16, no doubt elucidated by references to Alfred the Great, Marcus Aurelius and the miltary tactics adopted by  Lord Kitchener in the aftermath of the Battle of Omdurman, would have been worth hearing. Iain Duncan-Smith also took it upon himself to wander into the Chamber to hear Natascha; he left straight afterwards. This may have been because Richard Shepherd got to his feet, which, frankly, is enough to drive most people away, but I wonder whether perhaps IDS has a teeny little crush going on? I think he has.

Stephen Williams and a few other Lib Dems were also in the Chamber, wriggling around on their front bench. Apparently they’re still very much in favour of votes at sixteen – which was of course in their manifesto, and was also an issue Stephen promoted in a Private Members’ Bill during the last parliament – but guess what? They’re not going to vote for it today because…. well, because they’re now under the Tory cosh and the Tories don’t want them to, but that’s not the reason they’re giving, which is so disingenuous that I can’t be bothered to repeat it here.

There may not actually be a vote on this amendment. It’s up to the Chair of the Committee, which was Roger Gale but has now metamorphosed into Dawn Primarolo… It will be entirely up to her whether she allows a vote.

Quite a good line there from Charles Walker, the MP for Broxbourne… “most 16 year olds want to be on the X-box, not putting their X in the box”. Don’t agree with him, but it’s catchy… He has also just said that allowing 16 year olds to vote when they want to be out chasing girls would ‘prematurely age’ them.

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Comments

  • Oliver  On October 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Oh, the Lib Dems… I would say how the mighty have fallen, but it’s more like how the cowardly, useless and unprincipled have, well, stayed cowardly, useless and unprincipled. After spending many supine years under Labour, am starting to get angry about politics again…

  • Danny Hackett  On October 18, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    Nice blog Kerry, let’s hope they get to vote!

  • Quietzapple  On October 18, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Were there 16 year old MPs I wonder how what percentage of them would have crashed their cars on the way to the sitting?

    None I hope, because 16 year olds are rightly not judged to have developed sufficiently to be trusted with the life or death decisions drivers encounter, and a disproportionate number of those under 22 are poor in this area too.

    Parliament was to have been given the right to vote on wether Britain goes to war or not: No votes for 16/7 year olds in Westminster elections, please.

  • Quietzapple  On October 18, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    I’d have preferred the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks for the accompanying track myself.

  • TheBoilingFrog  On October 19, 2010 at 8:31 am

    @Quietzapple, yet 16 olds are judged sufficiently developed to be taxed. Surely it’s fundamentally unfair that they are taxed by a government but have no say in what form that government should take.

    Quick question Kerry, Gordon Brown ‘campaigned’ for votes at 16 since 2006. Why therefore wasn’t a bill brought in by the Labour government when it could have won it? (or perhaps it had and I missed it)

    • Art of the Possible  On October 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm

      @TheBoilingFrog:

      “yet 16 olds are judged sufficiently developed to be taxed”

      Come on, this is HMRC you’re talking about here. Any babies or toddlers modelling cute clothes – they’ll be taxed. You want them to have votes as well?

      Or, since you’re linking the two, are you suggesting that people who don’t pay tax should not have votes?

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