Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"You can't fatten the pig on market day"

"We have citizenship in schools now, so 16 yr olds are knowledgeable enough to vote"

So says a common case for 'the other side'. Yes, the ball has started rolling on citizenship education but i've yet to find a teenager who has experienced it! I am very supportive of it, I was even on the steering committee for a pilot project in Merseyside that ran day long events for sixth-formers to foment the principles of Global Citizenship.
The case for keeping the voting age at 18, rather than raising it, may be enhanced in several years if citizenship classes are established in our education system from a young age. Hopefully with this in place we can encourage a culture of active engagement in society amongst young people, perhaps with more debating societies and even pretend hustings at election time in schools.
As things stand, I can't accept the above statement as an argument for further reducing the voting age when citizenship education has barely started, and as a concept it is plainly not in the hearts and minds of young people like it used to be.
John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, likes to use the phrase:
"You can't fatten the pig on market day"
I think it has pertinence!


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