Friday, 31 October 2014

Liberal Future Debate 1 – Should We Lower The Voting Age Throughout the UK?

In September’s Scottish Referendum 16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote for the first time. Liberal Future asks: Should we lower the voting age throughout the UK?

LIBERAL FUTURE – the youth wing of the National Liberal Party – found September’s Scottish Referendum fascinating for two main reasons.

Firstly, it gave the people of Scotland the opportunity to vote on their constitutional position within the United Kingdom. The referendum – for all of its faults – at least enabled the electorate to have something of a say in the future direction of Scotland. How many other nations have been allowed this freedom?

And secondly, the voting age for the referendum was lowered 16. This was remarkable because under current legislation, UK voters must be 18 or over. At the moment it’s unclear if the lowering of the voting age in Scotland was simply a ‘one off’ – or maybe some form of catalyst which sees it being extended to all elections.

However what is clear is that the lowering of the voting age (for the Scottish Referendum) meant that thousands of youngsters were politically engaged for the first time. Indeed, according to a BBC report – http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/29279384 - of the 3.6 million Scottish voters who turned out, more than 100,000 were 16 to 17-year-olds. However, it could be argued that this healthy turn out by youngsters was due to the ‘novelty factor’ of being allowed to vote for the first time rather than a real interest in the democratic process.

Liberal Future recognises that there are many pros and cons attached to lowering the voting age.

For instance, youngsters can be easily swayed by ‘celebs’ and the – seemingly – all pervading influence and power of modern Politically Correct pop culture. They generally also lack any real understanding or experience of the ‘real’ world. However, 16 and 17-year-olds can be incrediably idealistic and are not as likely to be open to electoral bribes from the establishment parties. And allowing youngsters to vote would also allow many more people to take part in the democratic process.

With all of this in mind, this first Liberal Future debate asks: Should we lower the voting age throughout the UK?

• FOR more information about Liberal Future – the youth wing of the National Liberal Party – click here: http://nationalliberal.org/liberal-future-%e2%80%93-a-manifesto-for-our-youth

• To check out Liberal Future’s Facebook page click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/706779429376233/

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Issue 156 of Fourth World Review On Its Way!
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THE JOINT EDITORS of Fourth World Review – Wayne John Sturgeon and Graham Williamson – hope to produce issue 156 in the very near future.

Fourth World Review4WR – has been in production for over 50 years and John Papworth (4WRs founder, former Editor and now Editorial Board member) has dedicated his life to fighting ‘gigantism’ everywhere!  The magazine still remains true to his ideals – and promotes a worldview that values the individual amongst the mass, the ‘little man’ against the big machines, and the small business against Corporate greed.

Indeed, John Papworth has stated that 4WRs purpose is to promote the “argument first put forward by Professor Leopold Kohr over half a century ago in his epochal Breakdown of Nations, later popularised in Fritz Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful. They were simply arguing that the origins of the modern crisis lay in the fact that governments and institutions (including industries), had become so large as to be uncontrollable under any political label, and that the genuine democratic target lay in making them smaller so people could control them”.

This aim is reflected in the magazine’s long-standing slogan: ‘For Small Nations, Small Communities, Small Farms, Small Industries, Small Banks, Small Fisheries and the Inalienable Sovereignty of the Human Spirit.’

Issue 156 will contain another article on Nations without States, interviews, reviews and a look at the life of economic and monetary reformer James Gibb Stuart who sadly died late late last year.  Mr Gibb Stuart is probably best known for his book, The Money Bomb.
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From The Liberty Wall – National Liberal Trade Unionists – Britain Needs A Pay Rise
SATURDAY 18th OCTOBER saw tens of thousands of Trade Unionists on the streets of Belfast, Glasgow and London.  They were protesting about pay and austerity.

The demonstrations – held under the slogan Britain Needs a Pay Risewere organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).  The largest march and demo was held in London where around 80,000 – 90,000 attended.  The London demo was well supported by members of Wales TUC (TUC Cymru) who had chartered a train from Cardiff.

As Britain’s public services seem to be under direct attack from the Con-Dem Government, it came as no surprise that many teachers, civil servants, nurses and other NHS workers took part.

The three demonstrations followed public sector strikes earlier in the week.

According to TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, the demos were held to highlight the fact that the “average worker is £50 a week worse off than in 2007 and five million earn less than the living wage…If politicians wonder why so many feel excluded from the democratic process, they should start with bread and butter living standards.”

Reflecting on the TUC demonstrations, a National Liberal Trade Unionist (NLTU) spokesman said:

“Cameron and Clegg should dump their austerity agenda.  It’s not working.  It punishes those who’re not responsible for Britain’s economic woes.  Thousands of ordinary British workers are being paid a pittance – the ‘working poor’ – or thrown onto the scrapheap.  At the same time, those who make up the elite are still making money hand over fist.

The recession was brought on by ‘casino capitalism’ – a mixture of greed and mistakes made by the bankers, ‘fat cats’ and speculators.  If anyone should be punished it should be these wide boys and shysters.”

• FOR more information about the National Liberal Trade Unionists click here: http://nationalliberal.org/liberty-wall-3/national-liberal-trade-unionist

• CHECK out the NLTU Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/277840098977231/

• CHECK out the NLTUs first e-poster here: http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-national-liberal-trade-unionists-%e2%80%93-do-immigrants-cause-unemployment

• CHECK out the following NLTU debates:
National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate 1 – How Can we Achieve Our Main Aims? (19/08/2013) http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-national-liberal-trade-unionists-debate-1-how-can-we-achieve-our-main-aims

National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate 2 – What Should Be Re-Nationalised? (02/10/2013) http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-national-liberal-trade-unionists-debate-2-%e2%80%93-what-should-be-re-nationalised

National Liberal Trade Unionists Debate 5 – Bob Crow: What Is His Legacy? (18/03/14) http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-national-liberal-trade-unionists-%e2%80%93-bob-crow-what-is-his-legacy

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