THE BLOG
11/06/2015 13:54 BST | Updated 11/06/2016 06:59 BST

Lower the Voting Age to 16 - The Result of the EU Referendum Will Affect Us Far More Than Any Other Age Group

Some politicians believe that young people aren't at all interested in politics, therefore engaging them is a waste of time.

Recent events have proved that although not all young people are knowledgeable about party politics they do care about the country that they live in and how it is governed.

Three weeks ago, I started a petition on Change.org to persuade the Prime Minister to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the EU referendum.

This has gained a tremendous amount of traction, even gaining the interest of party leaders and MEPs. Together with an organisation known as Our Vote, Our Future, I work every day until we're given the consideration to be able to vote.

It's only right that we engage this age group in the debate and give them a say over the future sovereignty of their country. At 16-years-old, you can join the army, pay tax and even get married but can't choose the government which regulates and runs these institutions.

Politicians may say if we're given the vote, it could greatly decrease turnout. In the Scottish independence referendum, we saw thousands of 16 and 17-year-olds properly engage in a sensible debate about what they wanted their future to look like - and 75% turned out to vote, compared with only 54% of 18-24 year olds. This broader principle applies to the EU referendum that is scheduled to occur by 2017. Is it not clear enough evidence that when engaged, young people will rise above expectations and have their say in the future of the country?

The politicians state that we don't have enough political knowledge or the life experience to be able to make a mature enough decision. Surely at this age, when deciding in what direction your want your life to go, the result of the referendum will affect us far more than any other age group! It's a classic case of chicken or the egg. We aren't interested, so they don't engage. They don't engage because we aren't interested. Believe it or not, young people are not a collective organisation, therefore nobody can really speak on our behalf.

Therefore, isn't it the duty of MPs, who are of course members of a collective organisation, to educated and inform the youth of the country to take a further interest in politics? The current generation of politicians grew up in a time where politics was a lot more engaged. Over the years, it's begun to slack. I believe that the engagement needs to begin somewhere. With an objective like votes at 16, the goal of engaging young people in politics will be surely be a lot easier to achieve. If the government bands together to engage young people, the entire country will be in much better shape for a brighter future. An engaged generation will go out and create sustainability for the country to assure it remains as rewarding as its current state and head towards a better Britain.

To sign Jules' Change.org petition, click here