THE BLOG

Why Under 18s Need The Right To Vote

05/05/2015 13:54 BST | Updated 03/05/2016 10:12 BST

My friend Liv made a really good point about the current state of the election process in relation to young people.

'A lot of things do affect us (under 18's) especially education policies and who better to give an opinion on what's working and not working than young people? Shouldn't we have a say in what happens?'

Liv, in my opinion, well and truly hit the nail on the head. When looking at the education policies from the main parties I found myself agreeing with some and disagreeing with others, yet the decisions surrounding my education won't be made by me or other students. The decisions could be made by voters like 76 year old Brian who won't have been to in education for at least 50 years. What does he know about the current education system?

Currently, 15-19 year olds make up 6.3% of the population which is more than the 5.6% of 75-84 year olds in the UK. If a pensioner can help to decide what happens to our education, then can't a student help to decide what happens to a pension? To me it seems like common sense. If it affects you, then you should get to vote!

I don't think political parties recognise the power and influence that young people have on an elections outcome. For example, after the atrocious decision by the current coalition to raise tuition fees to £9000 a year the popularity for the Conservatives and particularly the Lib Dems has fallen as those that are now being hit with the price of university tuition can vote. In contrast, popularity for Labour and the Green Party has increased since Ed Miliband and Natalie Bennett announced positive changes to tuition fees. Young people do have power and it is time that it's recognised. The Scottish Referendum saw 16 year olds voting on what happened to the future of Scotland, so in theory shouldn't 16 year olds everywhere be giving the right to vote on the immediate future of the country they live in?

My Twitter is full of people engaging in politics, but unfortunately Twitter isn't a polling station and a tweet isn't a vote.

I would advise Dave, Ed, Nick and co to listen to Liv and give us under 18's the right to vote. If the voting age isn't reduced to 16 then perhaps an official way to gauge the opinions of under 18's would be a good idea. At least then it would allow us to have our views recognised.