PARENTS

Surviving Teenagers: Should 16-Year-Olds Have The Vote?

14/08/2014 16:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

An X written in red pencil

"So what are you going to vote?" said my eldest on the eve of the elections for London mayor last year.

"I don't know," I said.

He thought about this. "When are you going to decide?"

"Tomorrow," I said.

I've set a bad example, I know. But as my friend's 16-year-old daughter said the other day, 'You've got to vote. But who do you vote for?'

The Labour Party has proposed cutting the voting age from 18 to 16.

Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan says the move would help to invigorate politics by encouraging teenagers to get involved at a younger age.

Would it? I'm not so sure. I don't think lowering the voting age would make much difference.

The problem is, politics isn't very interesting at the moment. There isn't much revolutionary thinking around. Or anything to make anyone smile. And that's what teenagers like, mostly – new stuff. Which makes them laugh.

(That's why so many famous comedy duos get together so young. Little Britain, Peep Show – it's the teenage ability to look at things upside-down. Shake things up a bit and see what happens.)

You've only got to look at what goes viral. Last week, teenagers Cameron Ford and Adam Welland caused a small Twitter storm by claiming to have been thrown out of McDonalds.

The reason? They'd enhanced their Saturday night dining experience by adding a tablecloth, cutlery and candles. Ford said, "We thought the place needed a bit of class."

Silly? Yes. Pointless? Yes. Funny? Yes.

You won't get teenagers interested in politics until there's something worth looking at the wrong way up. HS2? The House of Lords? A guaranteed mortgage?

No chance.

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