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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Swindon Think Slam - 1st round, why 16-21 years olds should be the only ones to vote.

If democracy is so important that we send our young to die in wars to defend it, why does any fool or crook have a vote?

Why should the selfish fool who flies a polluting private jet have the same vote as someone who sacrifices all to cut CO2 emissions?

Why should a top banker who receives a million pound bonus by virtue of tax payer bailouts have the same vote as a pensioner whose savings were destroyed in the banking collapse?

Why should a tax evading crook like Richard Branson even be allowed to vote?

Why should the vote of a Trident submarine captain whose job is to comply with a command to destroy the planet, without question, be the same as a gardener who job is to create beauty from nothing?

These people were not born bad, but became corrupted by a society which values individual success above societal enhancement.

But most of us have not risen to the great pinnacles of society and are simply struggling to survive. In the face of runaway climate change, we are forced to prostitute ourselves to industries we know are destroying our planet. Anyone working in the arms, oil, car or travel industries along with many others do so in the knowledge that their actions contribute to ecological collapse. To enhance their short term prospects of survival they must be silent on this and vote for governments that will maintain the status quo of destructive industrialisation.

The struggle for survival in an industrial world corrupts us all. In so doing, we parallel the Kapos in the German concentration camps. They were the jews that did the dirty work the SS would not do. They pushed their brethren into the gas chambers and took their dead bodies out. They did it knowing it was wrong, but it was the only way they could survive and they had no choice in the matter. They also had to hope for train loads of new victims to keep coming, because without these they too would be destroyed.

In these circumstances, giving the successful SS guards and the corrupted Kapos a vote in the running of these nihilistic camps would never legitimise them. Yet we, who have a similar struggle for survival, legitimise our government’s inaction on climate change with our votes. 

So for a government to hold legitimacy, it must have a mandate from the people who are not corrupted by either success or the struggles for survival.

These are our youngsters. They are the group of people that have their morals mostly intact and care for the future because they will inherit it. So, if we are serious about democracy, the only group of people that should be allowed to vote are the 16-21 year olds.

This would change everything. General elections can still be held every 5 years, but political parties would have to campaign on important long term issues such as climate change, not on short term political advantage. Nor would they be able to recklessly send our young people to war.

It means the youngsters today, who are suffering from a plague of mental health issues as they see their future prospects squandered by the powerful elder generation, are put in the driving seat where they deserve to be.

We might then, just, get governments that will act in the best interests of everyone and the planet.

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