Voting Age Reform by the Back Door: Lib Dems and Labour Engage in Desperate, Dirty Tricks

If you genuinely believe that the Labour and Liberal Democrats will stop at local elections in their bid to lowering the voting age in Great Britain… you’re an idiot.

The two parties joined forces for their respective, but mutually beneficial ‘hashtag fightback‘ campaigns yesterday, pushing through a vote in the House of Lords to lower the voting age to 16 in local elections.

Sneaky, sneaky. And an admission that they both are, as political parties, fundamentally unattractive to many of the people who make up the current electoral franchise; those above the age of 18.

Yesterday, the Guardian reported:

The government has suffered yet another defeat in the House of Lords over an amendment that would give 16- and 17-year-olds the vote in council elections.

Labour and Liberal Democrat peers teamed up for the second time this week to change the cities and local government devolution bill.

They are also planning to stage similar changes to the EU referendum bill to give 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote in that poll when it comes to the Lords later this year.

The defeat sets the stage for a dramatic stand-off between the two houses on the issue, as the government will now probably try to overturn the amendment when the legislation goes to the Commons.

If there is no agreement on amendments, a bill can enter the stage of “ping-pong” where it passes back and forth between the Commons and the Lords.

I’d rather Cameron’s Conservative Party majority enter into the game of ‘ping pong’ as the Guardian so kindly calls it (if it were a Tory or UKIP bill, they’d call it ‘time wasting’), but I’m not going to hold my breath.

In fact, I reckon Cameron, feeling cocky and confident about his party’s gains in May of this year, might well reckon that he can also take the extra youth vote next time around. Not that he’ll be the one having to fight the fight anyway.

This concerns me deeply. The current electoral franchise is sound. It is the electoral system that is the problem. Need I remind you that it took just 26,000 votes to elect an SNP member of parliament at the last election. It took 3.8 million to elect a UKIP one. And not a very UKIP one at that. More on that later.

So if Labour and the Liberal Democrats are out to make things ‘fairer’ as they often claim they are – then they should start by introducing legislation for electoral reform. And I don’t mean any of that AV nonsense either. I mean real electoral reform. With a real constitutional convention at the same time, which assesses not just how people vote and how they are elected in the United Kingdom, but also assesses the various countries that form our United Kingdom, and how much money the English kindly subsidise the Scots with have to chuck over Hadrian’s Wall to stop the Scottish nationalists sabotaging our nuclear submarines.

And here’s the other thing, and it’s another reason I don’t trust Mr Cameron on this issue…

We know he’s a perennial tinkerer, like Blair and Brown. We also know he’s a rampant Europhile. Like Blair and Brown. So will he change the voting age ahead of the European referendum, knowing full well he could potentially blame the House of Lords, the Lib Dems and Labour, as well as a few troublemaking Tory rebels in the Commons? Just so that he can stitch up our future membership of the European Union for another generation?

Sounds a lot like something Blair and Brown would do, doesn’t it? Oh, crap.


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