Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Strike For Democracy

I’m delighted to hear that Peter Hain is taking action to permit those over the age of 18 to stand for election to Stormont. Currently candidates have to be over 21 to put themselves forward.

It’s incongruous that someone of 18 could buy a house, pay rates and taxes, get married, vote and basically do everything else their fellow adults do, yet they have been unable to engage in the very core of democracy by being barred from standing in elections.
Credit must also go to West Belfast teenager Seán Mitchell who had threatened to sue the British Government over the bar on him standing for election on an anti-water charges ticket.

There is also an argument that the franchise itself could be extended to the over-16s- that’s a separate issue of course, and naturally we will get those who will complain that people of that age ‘don’t understand politics’ but considering the electoral choices many so-called adults here have made down through the years, it’s hard to sustain such an ageist argument!

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