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This academic thinks we should lower the voting age to 6

The Cambridge uni professors thinks it's the only way to stop democracy being biased against the young.

What it means: Not all British citizens can vote in general elections. The disenfranchised include members of the House of Lords (who, tbf, do get to vote on the actual laws), prisoners, and anyone younger than under 18. Not everyone thinks that’s fair. Professor David Runciman, the head of politics at Cambridge University, says that the voting age should be lowered to the age of six. (He says he wouldn’t put it lower because voters should be able to read.)

The UK governments has a lot of power to shape how the UK economy looks. So voting for the government you want is one of the biggest ways you as an individual have an impact on your economy. That’s why some people think that stopping anyone from voting is wrong, because it turns them into “a non-person, one who should have no say in how our society is to develop”. (That’s a quote from official prison bishop Dr Peter Selby, arguing that prisoners should be allowed to vote).

Prof Runciman is particularly worried that atm many more old people vote than young ones (both because under-18s aren’t allowed and because Brits are living longer and having less kids, meaning there’s just more old folks around). He says that means Britain is voting for economic policies that benefit old people now but will screw over future generations - things like not looking after the environment enough.

Of course, pretty much everyone else says regardless if that’s true or not, it’s still barmy to give such powerful responsibility to small children, who aren’t famed for being politically aware (and would probably vote in droves to close down all of Britain’s schools and spend the education budget on a free ice-cream fund).

Prof Runciman’s response is that plenty of the adults currently allowed to vote also no nothing about politics and/or are unrealistic in their expectations. And considering that sometimes people’s opinions on big things to do with the economy really split by age (see: the Brexit referendum), it could be argued that stopping most young people from voting means that the UK's policies and politicians rarely reflect their values and views.

Read our explainer on economic values.

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