October 29, 2012 1 Comment
The 2014 referendum on Scottish independence brings some exciting news for electoral reformers as the franchise in Scotland is being extended to sixteen and seventeen-year olds. Those of us who want the voting age lowered to sixteen for all elections will be using this referendum in their arguments. After all, in what could be the biggest decision Scotland has taken for four centuries these youngsters will have a say – so why not for lesser decisions?
For me the argument about votes at sixteen boils down to the more than two-hundred year old argument that is neatly summed up as ‘no taxation without representation’.
Other arguments can be found here – Why Vote at 16?
As to the subject matter of the referendum; like many English people (and doubtless Northern Irish and Welsh too) I do not have a vote but I do have an opinion. I hope the Union survives, but do accept that it is a decision for the Scots only. We are one small island, and breaking asunder the union makes little sense to me. The level of integration is enormous, and unpicking this is one reason to vote ‘no’.
The UK’s impact on the world is in some measure a factor our size (although history and historic links are also important). A smaller UK will be a smaller economy, representing fewer people, and must be seen as less important. A question arises over our UN Security Council place, and our influence, and therefore ability to bend opinion to improve our lot, will lessen. A separate Scotland, whilst undoubtedly giving pride to its inhabitants, will have negligible influence – whereas Scots in the UK are a major player in all sorts of arenas.