Deeds not Words

Tuesday 16-10-2018 - 09:00

On Friday 26 October, a bill will go to parliament to lower the voting age to 16. Zamzam Ibrahim, Vice President (Society & Citizenship), is today re-launching the campaign to secure a Fair Vote once and for all…





In our democracy, we are taught to believe in one principle above all: that the votes of one individual should be held equal to that of another. One-person, one-vote. Sounds simple enough.


However, as any student of history will tell you, it hasn’t always been like this in practice.


The reality is, the franchise has been constantly and consistently been expanded to acquiesce the growing demands of those in society whose voices, contrary to what should be the governing principle for any democracy, were not in fact heard.


Working-class men received the vote in 1918. The Women’s Suffrage won the vote 10 years later, in 1928.


Fittingly, on the 100 year anniversary of that achievement, there emerges a new frontier in the struggle for true voter equality.


This is the campaign to give 16 and 17 year olds an equal say in how our society is run. To secure a Fair Vote for all.


This campaign is 18 years old, but it’s more pertinent than perhaps it has ever been before. This is thanks to progress that has been made in some parts of the UK, but not others.


Scotland introduced the vote during the 2015 Referendum. It worked so well, it is now applied for local elections and those to the Scottish Parliament. There is now a political consensus north of the border that Votes at 16: as Conservative MP Luke Graham says, there is no taboo.


The Welsh Assembly are expected to launch similar plans: with votes for 16 and 17 year-old due to be adopted as part of its constitutional reforms.


This should leave any democrat in England and Northern Ireland feeling deeply uncomfortable. Whether or not you are granted the right the vote, simply comes down to your postcode.


One set of rights in Perth, another in Peckham.


That’s before you mention elections for representatives to Westminster in Scotland and Wales: they now represent significantly smaller electorate than their counterparts in the national parliament and local councils.


This is a situation that cannot go on.


On Friday the 26th October, a bill will go to parliament to lower the voting age to 16. There’s every chance that the bill will not be heard. Or, as is the case in previous attempts, does not receive the time is needs to be properly debated and discussed.


This doesn’t stop us mobilising our movement to make it clear that this remains a societal injustice that must be remedied.


We are asking you to:


  • On x to tweet 30-second clips on why you support Votes at 16.
  • Contact your MP and ask them to declare their support for the campaign.
  • Download our campaigns guide with further details on how to support the campaign.


Together, we can secure Votes at 16 once and for all.



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