The government should lower the voting age to 16 according to the majority of Mancunians.
A report produced by the youth select committee has suggested that the government should lower the voting age as well as introducing a compulsory politics GCSE subject.
The report, published yesterday, warned that schools are failing to prepare and educate youngsters to vote.
It found that 16 and 17-year-olds are mature enough to decide who should represent them, and that politics should be a “fundamental and compulsory” part of the curriculum.
In light of the youth select committee’s findings MM took to the streets of Manchester to ask the following question:
Should the voting age be lowered to 16?
Over half of people said that they would like the voting age to be reconsidered – deeming that 16-year-old’s were old enough to make their own decisions.
However, most thought that it would only work if politics was introduced throughout the school timetable.
John Carroll, a 65-year-old who performs classical music in the city centre, was adamant the school curriculum needs to focus on letting children discover and hone their talents than teaching them the ins and outs of politics.
“I think they’re better off with a couple more years under their belts until they vote,” he said.
“The curriculum needs humanising; kids don’t need politics shoving down their throats. Music and art need to come first – so many people are interested in and have talents in these areas.
“Focusing on music, for example, could provide some young people with a lifelong skill. I think that’s a lot more valuable.”
CATCH THEM IN SCHOOL: Jacob Clarke thinks politics should be more prominent in schools
Jacob Clarke, a 16-year-old from Preston, believes it would be good for younger people to be allowed to vote, and thinks politics should be more prominent in schools.
“If they incorporated politics into the school system and combine it with other subjects it would be great,” the student said.
Megan-Rebecca King, another student from Chorlton agreed.
“It is a good idea, a lot of people my age are interested in politics,” said the 17-year-old.
“It’s an age where we should be able to affect our own lives and job prospects.”
Megan also claimed that if politics were introduced into the curriculum, the system would have to be balanced.
She added: “It would have to be unbiased and impartial though, because if not it could allow teachers to persuade students to vote for one party or another.”
VOTE SMART: Charlotte Bell is unsure whether you can make an informed decision at 16
On the other hand, Charlotte Ball, a 21-year-old from Old Trafford, thinks that the voting age should remain the same.
“It should stay at 18, you don’t know enough at 16 to make a good decision,” the reception said.
Jack Busby, a 21-year-old student from Manchester city centre, believes the current law is correct but that politics needs to be a compulsory school subject.
“It’s fine at 18 – but politics needs to be a bit more involved in the school system,” he said.
“It is an important part of life and it should definitely be taught in schools.”
Samantha Bradley and Savannah Chamberlain, both 20-year-old students living in the Student Village, also spoke out against lowering the voting age.
“We don’t think it’s needed really but it should definitely be taught in school. It should be combined with things like PSHE and citizenship,” said Ms Bradley.
Matt Cathcart, 25, a video game blogger from Fallowfield, thinks it would only be suitable for the age to be lowered if compulsory politics lessons were brought in.
“If it gets done it needs to be at the same time as properly teaching politics,” he told MM.
“At 16 I don’t think people know enough to really make an informed choice unless you’d been taught about it beforehand.”
However, Hayley Clarke, an 18-year-old office worker from Didsbury, says that teens should be given the right to vote from an earlier age.
“I think it would allow more people to get involved in politics if the voting age were lowered,” she said.
“More people would take an interest in their futures, especially if it were taught in schools”.
TEEN POWER: Jodie Langford and Ruth Linton think 16-year-olds should have a vote
Jodie Langford, a 16-year-old schoolgirl, and Ruth Linton, a 38-year-old chef, were visiting Manchester from Hull for a concert, and were strongly in favour of lowering the voting age.
“I think it’s a good thing. We’ve been learning about it in school already and I think most people find it interesting,” Jodie enthused.
“It gets people interested because it’s their own futures. I’ve never really voted because I never really had an interest in it growing up,” added Ruth.
“It’s something that affects all of us and it’d be good for kids to be able to have a say.
“I think 16 is old enough, and if they get taught about politics properly it would work really well.”
Image courtesy of Coventry City Council, with thanks