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Don’t reduce the voting age

Readers' letters | Published:

“Don’t give in to fear. The future will be better than anyone has told you." I

If this was Brexit, I would totally agree with Peter Rhodes and personally am tired of seeing this country held to ransom by the almost hysterical fear of those who think we should remain in the relative comfort of prison, rather than having the courage to choose freedom and the unknown.

However, global warming, if we are not careful, could lead to an irreversible catastrophe.

“If emissions aren’t curbed, clouds may disappear”, in which case temperatures would rise by eight degrees Celsius and planet Earth would become uninhabitable.

I’ve never been totally convinced that global warming was down to human activity alone rather than being also a cyclical issue, but still think we should play safe and do whatever we can to ensure we are not to blame; and, as we are doing so very, very little, it is quite understandable that the kids are worried.

And, yes, it’s a laugh going on protest marches; I’ve been there, done an Aldermaston Easter March, walked in a CND protest across the Pennines in the rain, been arrested in Parliament Square at Bertrand Russell’s sit-in, not totally committed to protest, but because, after living for years under the depressing shadow of the H bomb, somehow, you can’t just do nothing, just as today, our young, in despair at the apathy of their adults, feel honour bound to stand up and be counted.

But it’s different today; they have the evidence wherever they look, of our intransigence, our cruelty, our utter disregard for other species, whose homes we so blithely destroy, our failure to accept responsibility for our actions and DO something about it. Their passion and their idealism should not be reduced to the notion that they wanted a fun day off school.

It is not, however, a reason to give them the vote prematurely. There are very few young people, who have the emotional maturity or the societal awareness to be given the vote and nor should they.

Twenty-one used to be the age of “coming of age” and according to psychologists, it is the age at which we become altruistic.

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I certainly would not have known, at 18, what to do with my vote and neither would the majority of my peers, and to give this vote to a group, which is more peer-led than any other, makes no sense to me at all; this idea attracts the Greens and Lib Dems, because their manifestos appeal to naive and idealistic youth, who have yet to understand the overall picture. Not a reason to change the system.

Will Knott, Shrewsbury

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