Political Promise

Second Class Citizen?

In Matteo Bergamini on December 6, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Matteo Bergamini argues every 16 and 17 year old is a second class citizen. If you pay tax, you deserve the right to influence how it is spent.

Do you see yourself as a second class citizen? Not many people in Britain would, in the end why would you? Everyone has the same rights, everyone has the same obligations. All in Britain are equal under common law, be it that you’re homeless or a Lord, Prince or pauper. Yet there is an issue that divides society.

The vote and who should have it.  It is common knowledge that 16 and 17 year olds pay tax if working. The government lets them work, but gives them a lower minimum wage. Equality of opportunity, where is the equality in this? How can one speak of a “fairer” Britain when 16-17 year olds get paid less for doing the same work as an 18 or 19 year old? How can this government justify taxing 16-17 year olds when they did not choose that government? When one gains the vote it can be said that he or she also inherits collective responsibility for that governments actions. If you have the vote, you also have the power to try to change government policy with that vote; this makes the taxes set upon people 18+ legit.

However how can one justify taxing 16-17 year olds? They may not have wanted such a government, yet they are stuck with it as they have no voice. Society see’s that 16-17 year olds should have adult responsibility, the responsibility of contributing to society, yet they have no say in society. They have no say in how the government spends their taxes and yet if the said 16-17 year old was to lose his or her job, they would get no protection. What happened to an equal and fair Britain?

We all know the answer to these inequalities. Immaturity, yet how can that be a viable answer? I don’t believe for one second that as soon as you hit 18 political knowledge starts to flow through you, you are either interested or you’re not. I for one was very interested in politics from a young age and at 18 I did not get hit with bucket loads of wisdom, I retained my previews beliefs.

It is said that 16-17 year olds would be more adventurous and vote for minority parties, possibly because they like the look of them rather than what’s in their manifesto. Let’s not forget that the adult and senior vote can and at times is plagued with self-interest. 16-17 year olds still view the world as something they can help to fix, while being at the age where they can understand politics. Treat the young, not like second class citizens, but open and ambushes minds ready to grab the word and have our say.

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