|EIS CALLS FOR VOTES AT 16|
ALLOWING YOUNG ADULTS THE VOTE WOULD “FOSTER ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP”
“HYPOCRITICAL” OPPOSITION POLITICIANS MUST ALLOW YOUNG PEOPLE THE VOTE
The SNP today (Friday) welcomed the Education Institute of Scotland’s (EIS) backing for 16 and 17-year-olds having their say in the referendum on Independence in 2014.
EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said that allowing young adults the vote would "foster active citizenship" and encourage pupils to be "effective contributors". The submission points out that these are two of the core elements of the new Curriculum for Excellence, and "there are few better ways of encouraging these capacities by extending the right to vote and enabling young people to play a full part in the democratic process."
Commenting on the embargoed announcement, Humza Yousaf, the SNP's youngest MSP, said:
“The EIS are Scotland’s largest teaching union so this represents significant and powerful support for opening up the franchise for 16 and 17-year-olds to be given the vote.
“16 and 17-year-olds are not the citizens of tomorrow, they are citizens of today - and they must have their say on the future of their country.
“As the EIS rightly point out, allowing young people to play a full part in the democratic process will fit in with some of our core objectives in the Curriculum for Excellence, encouraging them to be more active citizens.
“But more importantly, it is a fundamental injustice that 16 and 17-year-olds throughout the UK can pay tax, be sent to fight in war and start a family but have no say in how taxes are spent and how the country is run.
“The SNP has long supported the principle of votes at 16 and where it has the power to do so - such as for elections to Health Boards and the Crofting Commission - the Scottish Government has already ensured that they have that right.
“It is hugely hypocritical that opposition politicians can sign up to the Votes at 16 campaign – or even vote to allow votes at 16 for the AV referendum – but want to deny them a say in the most important decision in Scotland in 300 years.
“The other parties should listen to the EIS and the growing list of individuals and organisations, and let Scotland's young citizens have their say on Scotland's future.”