Of course, it works in Scotland, Guernsey, Wales and the Isle of Man, amongst other places, and there is an argument that surely, if you can leave school, go to work, pay income tax, alongside the VAT you’ve been paying since you bought your first snack, get married, have a kid or two (and, if you’re 17, join the forces), then it seems not unreasonable that you should be able to participate in the choice of government… (but clearly, only if you are going to vote Tory).

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I know that there are arguments that suggest that 16 and 17-year-olds don’t have the maturity to work out what party they should vote for (unless it’s Tory, which it’s unlikely to be).

But that, in my view, is drivel.

I had, until recently, an absolutely lovely neighbour who was in her 90s.


When she started to vote, way back in the mists of time, she was told how to vote by her father. As it happens, in this case, it was Labour (but I bet that every party has its share of people in the same position).

At 92 she still voted Labour, although, heaven knows, the party had changed more than a little in the intervening years. When I asked her why, she said that, although he had been dead for at least 40 years, her father wouldn’t have liked it if she voted for another party.

Further questioning revealed that she didn’t know what Labour’s (or anyone else’s policies) were and she wasn’t interested. She didn’t consider politics from one election to the next.

She voted because her father had told her she must, and she voted Labour for the same reason.

Maybe she really wasn’t mature enough to have a vote… at 92!

Meanwhile, it seems to me that bringing a child into the world demands a very great deal more sense of responsibility than putting a cross on a ballot paper.

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As for old Toby? Duh, Dipstick. You’re not supposed to let the cat out of the bag like that.