Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride 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.”
“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, join the armed forces and start a family but have no say in how taxes are spent and how the country is run.
“I meet many 16 and 17 year olds from East Kilbride and am constantly impressed by the levels of sophistication and responsibility they show. They are a credit to the wonderful schools we have in East Kilbride which have prepared them to be active citizens and engage in the world around them.
“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 opportunity for 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.”
Votes for 16 years olds at Scotland’s referendum on Independence is supported by: Scottish Youth Parliament, NUS in Scotland, Young Scots, Electoral Reform Society and the STUC
Ed Miliband, Douglas Alexander, Jim Murphy, Anas Sarwar and Margaret Curran alongside other Labour MPs voted for 16/17 year olds to vote on AV referendum. Amendment 332 to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill http://www.votesat16.org/news/parliament-draws-closer-to-backing-votes-at-16/
Scottish Labour support for Votes at 16 Campaign: Anas Sarwar, Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour Margaret Curran, Shadow Scottish Secretary Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary Willie Bain, Shadow Scotland minister Jim Murphy, Shadow Defence Secretary Gordon Banks MP, Labour MP for Ochil and South Perthshire Anne Begg MP, Labour MP for Aberdeen South Russell Brown MP, Labour MP for Dumfries and Galloway Katy Clark MP, Labour MP for North Ayrshire and Arran Tom Clarke MP, Labour MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill Ian Davidson MP, Labour/Co-operative MP for Glasgow South West Thomas Docherty MP, Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife Brian Donohoe MP, Labour MP for Central Ayrshire Sheila Gilmore MP, Labour MP for Edinburgh East Eric Joyce MP, Labour MP for Falkirk Mark Lazarowicz MP, Labour/Co-operative MP for Edinburgh North and Leith Michael McCann MP, Labour MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow Gregg McClymont MP, Labour MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East Ian Murray MP, Labour MP for Edinburgh South Pamela Nash MP, Labour MP for Airdrie and Shotts John Robertson MP, Labour MP for Glasgow North West MSPs Claudia Beamish MSP, Scottish Labour MSP for South Scotland Kezia Dugdale MSP, Scottish Labour and Co-op MSP for Lothian region Neil Findlay MSP, Scottish Labour MSP for Lothian John Park MSP, Scottish Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife http://www.votesat16.org/