Tuesday, 29 July 2008


Polly Toynbee reports on agreements made by Labour at their national policy forum in Warwick, including

Sixteen-year-olds get the vote in an ageing society where wealth and power tip towards the old.

Yes, that's right. The same Government whose policy it is to raise the school* leaving age to 18 - and who were lauded for said policy by, yes, Polly Toynbee back in November - is now talking about giving young people the vote two years before they are given the freedom to run their own lives as they see fit.

This Government isn't exactly known for its joined-up thinking, but that's one really ill-thought-out policy announcement! As commenter Roas amusingly suggested
Next Conservative campaign slogan : "Labour wants to force you to stay in school till 18. You have a vote. Use it."

That would be one way of stopping the compulsion agenda in its tracks, I suppose. Until then, there's blogger opposition at the anti-Educational Conscription blog.

* Compulsory education or training


septicisle said...

There is one thing and one thing only that lowering the voter age to 16 will do, and that's bring the turnout down even further.

That said, the various age limits for when you can consent to sex, smoke, drink, vote, buy porn etc always have been arbitrary and make no sense whatsoever. If you were to lower them all to 16 that might just make slightly more sense.

Edmund said...

[comment sent by e-mail and reposted here]


I think education should be compulsory to 16, we should reinstate a grammar system across the board, and reduce choice in education completely.

At state level, you should take an exam and you go to a school based on this result in your local area. The curriculum however, and the exams taken should be exactly the same whatever school you go to (to give a chance to late developers). Get rid of specialist schools. The schools should be smaller.

We need to create a system that the middle class cannot cheat (with inside knowledge, moving to the right postcode, or converting to the right religion). This would be truly meritocratic. That's why its never going to happen again.


QT said...

I'm not inclined to support this idea. It seems to be all about equalisation rather than improvement - this is not desirable IMO.

I particularly don't see where you're going in the second paragraph. If the curriculum and exams are the same in all schools, what is the point of the selection exam?

You can argue for the return of a 1960s-type system, where you have grammars and then you have secondary moderns with more emphasis on vocational skills, but to talk about a grammar system without the secondary moderns - well, then surely you'd just end up with comprehensives again?!?