Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Theresa May
Speaking to Carolyn Quinn, Theresa May confirmed the Conservative Party’s position on voting ages. Should the Party remain in power following June’s election, the voting age will remain at 18.
This makes the Conservatives one of only two major parties to support this policy, alongside UKIP.
Labour, the Lib Dems, the Greens and the SNP all support the lowering of the voting age to 16. In Scotland, 16-year-olds are permitted to vote in local elections and were able to vote in 2014’s independence referendum. Lowering the voting age to 16 has long been a staple of the Green manifesto.
The conservatives, on the other hand, have a less-than-stellar track record when it comes to standing up for, protecting, and representing young people in the UK.
May was asked in the same interview about a Tory policy which prevents those aged 18-21 from claiming housing benefits as part of Universal Credit.
"We are putting £500m into preventing homelessness," May responded, dodging the crux of the question and pivoting away from the issue of age entirely.
One of the hardest attacks on the young to ignore is the growing difference between "minimum wage" and "living wage."
The news that the Conservatives would be introducing a national living wage of £9 per hour by 2020 should have been good news, but a notable section of people were left out of those plans entirely—everyone below the age of 25.
Until the age of 25, people would not be eligible to claim a living wage, and would instead be reliant on the old minimum wage.
(As a sidenote, Work and Pensions Secretary Damien Green has since back-tracked on the promise of a £9 per hour living wage.)
There’s a great deal of cognitive dissonance taking place here. Exactly when do you become and adult in the eyes of the Conservative government?
16, when you’re old enough to join the army?
18, when you’re old enough to vote?
21, when you’re old enough to qualify for benefits to keep you from falling into homelessness?
25, when you’re old enough to qualify for a full, sustainable living wage?
The question of legal adulthood, at least for the tories, seems to depend on nothing more than how much they can get away with taking from you, and how little they can get away with giving you. And to them, age is just a tool to push their own interests—and deprive the young people of Britain of theirs.