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Votes at 16 won’t have young people flocking back to the Lib Dems

By Leslie Clark
January 21st, 2013 at 11:14 pm | 4 Comments | Posted in freedom, Liberal Democrats

Over on his blog, Stephen Williams MP has revealed he will once again attempt to lower the voting age to 16 for UK elections and referenda.

Williams makes some valid points about its successful operation elsewhere, on the maturity of young adults and their political awareness through organisations like the UK Youth Parliament. But whilst votes at 16 has been a longstanding aspiration of the Liberal Democrats, it could be perceived as a desperate attempt to reconnect with the younger demographic following their u-turn on tuition fees.

Many remarked alterations to the franchise for the Scottish Independence Referendum was an attempt to gerrymander the vote (subsequent polling has shown this would backfire) and for Nationalists to cynically curry favour with young people.

Indeed, where had the sudden desire to ‘empower’ and ‘enfranchise’ [insert meaningless buzzword here] young people come from? After all, the SNP effectively deemed them as too infantile to understand the obvious health consequences of smoking cigarettes by upping the purchasing age from 16 to 18 and then sought to increase the purchasing age for booze from 18 to 21. One Nationalist MSP even ludicrously proposed a curfew on young drivers under 25 (good on LYS for taking them to task).

One would expect liberal voices to challenge  such liberty eroding moves yet in his article Stephen Williams said,

There are good health reasons for controlling access to alcohol and tobacco.”

Hold on. You can be deemed mature enough to participate in an election and understand the main policy debates including, one assumes, health policy, yet be too immature to fully understand the consequences of smoking fags or drinking lager? It seems hypocritical to confer rights on one hand whilst restricting them on the other. If they are young adults, we should allow them to exercise personal responsibility. I believe young people have the capacity to make sensible and informed decisions about their own life but it is puzzling that some advocates of votes at 16 don’t seem to agree.

Votes at 16 won’t help the Lib Dems suddenly re-engage with young people. I’m not inherently against the idea of extending the franchise but we should look at the rights of young people in their totality rather than an à la carte approach. Within the confines of a blog post, I tentatively suggest:

  • Allowing young adults to make their own decisions about how they lead their life. In response to a YouGov poll last year, only 17% of 18-24 year olds believed politicians and civil servants were well-equipped to make personal decisions on their behalf. They reject the Nanny State; so liberate them from it
  • Don’t return to opportunistic and unaffordable pledges aimed at students like scrapping tuition fees
  • Instil a little intergenerational equity into policy and share the burden of cuts
  • Challenge negative perceptions surrounding young people on issues such as anti-social behaviour and binge drinking
  • But most of all, inspire them. The age-old liberal values of personal freedom, civil liberties, peace and internationalism sound pretty appealing to young ears.
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Sam Bowman: Liberal Voice of the Year

By Editor
January 14th, 2013 at 12:38 pm | 1 Comment | Posted in Uncategorized

Congratulations to Sam Bowman, Policy Director of the  Adam Smith Institute, for winning Lib Dem Voice “Liberal Voice of the Year” award.

 

Sam was the clear winner taking 52% of the vote, indeed Sam was the clear winner through out every round of the voting (see here) receiving nearly 50% from the off.

The top 3 were

1. Sam Bowman (52%)

2. Malala Yousafzai (28%)

3. Alliance Party of Northern Ireland (20%)

Congratulations to all three. But special congrats to Sam. A very worthy winner who has been positively prolific across 2012, speaking out for liberty across so many areas:  immigration, same sex marriage, legalisation of drugs,  the surveillance state, minimum alcohol pricing, and much more. Sound on every occasion.

Sam follows in the footsteps of Mark Littlewood (formerly of this parish), Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, Liberal Voice of the Year winner 2012.

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Frostie Ban Contingency Plan!

By Sara Scarlett
January 5th, 2013 at 10:22 am | 2 Comments | Posted in Civil Liberties, Culture, Lifestyle Products, Nannying

How to avoid being affected by the Frosties ban.

Step 1: Buy Cornflakes. Available from pretty much every local grocery store and Supermarket.

Step 2: Buy Sugar. Also available from pretty much every local grocery store and Supermarket.

Step 3: Put Cornflakes in a bowl.

Step 4: Using a spoon, apply sugar to Cornflakes to taste.

Step 5: Consume.

Don’t tell Nanny…

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