One of the many things I campaign for is the lowering of the voting age. I wrote to my MP about this recently, and his reply indicated that he did not support my view.

David Amess added: “this is not a party political matter but I am against the reduction to 16”.

David is very aware of my politics and he regularly responds to my emails. Although I can and do complain about his politics, I cannot fault his assiduousness in this regard.

Votes at 16 does cut across the political spectrum, although I feel that there are more who are inclined to support this within Labour and Liberal Democrat ranks than amongst Conservatives. That being said, there are Conservatives who do campaign for all sorts of electoral reforms (see Conservative Action for Electoral Reform).

The age at which one can vote is 18 at the moment, and the age at which one can seek office is the same. Eighteen year olds can be councillors and Members of Parliament, and once in place can by extension have ministerial positions etc.

Cllr Ron Woodley strikes me as a pretty easy going fellow outside of the council chamber, but clearly has a bee in his bonnet regarding the portfolio holder for Children and Lifelong Learning on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. Privately Cllr James Courtenay and I get along pretty well, but politically we are poles apart. I share much of Cllr Woodley’s concerns about education in the town.

My views about Cllr Courtenay’s unsuitability for his role have nothing to do with his age. I was in the chamber when Cllr Woodley labelled him a “child in charge of children’s learning” (reported here) and thought it not only rude, but had ruined what until then was a pretty decent set of remarks about the grammar schools in our town and how they seem serve the interests of those outside of the borough above those who reside within.

I am fifty-three, and in the eyes of some already past it. However, I hope to have a few more years of campaigning left in me, and would certainly hope that it is my ability that I am judged on and not my age.

Of course, age does have some influence on ability, but I would hope that we would see a good spread of ages in the chamber and in the Cabinet.

Cllr Woodley has some salient thoughts on education in Southend; I hope we do not see these lost in controversy because he cannot resist abusing his opponents.

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2 Responses to Age

  1. I thought you wrote me off as soon as you saw “Conservative” next to my name :-)

  2. I hope to see a convert in you, one day. ;-)

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