“The crisis of youth unemployment risks creating a generation that is disengaged…a generation that believes they have no stake in the country”, Michael Dugher, Labour party vice-chairman, recently told the Yorkshire Post. He calls for giving 16 and 17 year olds the vote so that they have “a tangible way of expressing their views”, and that this is “just what the country needs to engage young people in politics”. He suggests that a commitment to lower the voting age to 16 could be included in Labour’s 2015 manifesto.
Andrew Adonis – member of the House of Lords and a minister in the last Labour Government – agrees, and argues that schools need to play a key role in re-engaging young people with British democracy. To that end, he suggests that polling stations should be located in every secondary school, to encourage newly enfranchised 16 and 17 year olds to vote.
So would a Labour government in 2015 lead to our secondary schools being full of eager 16 and 17 year old voters in time for the 2020 General Election?