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Scotland’s fate decided by the young

Scotland’s fate decided by the young

In or out, decided by a younger group of voters.

Today’s the day of Scotland’s historic vote on whether it should be an independent country after 307 years of membership in Great Britain.

This a simple majority vote, and is described as very close at a near 50-50 split.

Which brings us to a bigger question: should such a momentous decision be made by a simple majority of voters on a single day, at a single point in time? My answer would not be “yes.”

It depends on how much a person believes in a pure democracy. I do not trust it overly; I fear the tyranny of the overbearing majority that Madison feared. Apparently the Scots have no such trepidation.

So, this is the sort of thing Scotland will get:

Conor Matchett, 19, a philosophy student at the University of Edinburgh, said he was both nervous and optimistic about the outcome after voting Yes.

“I want change. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “I believe a Yes vote is the only way to do that.”

Matchett, originally from York, in Northern England, but granted a vote in Scotland’s referendum on the grounds of his residency here, said he was voting to counter what he felt was the continuing politics of austerity from British politicians down south in Westminster.

“They are attacking the welfare state and many other things that people in Scotland hold really dear,” he said.

It seems unwise that a 19-year-old college student, attending school in Scotland but actually from York, should have a say in this matter. Hope/change; sound familiar? “Simple as that.”

And if college students from York can vote on whether Scotland should remain part of Great Britain, why not 16-year-olds? Where did that idea come from? Why, from reality, that’s where:

A massive turnout of around 4.2 million Scots, about 97% of eligible voters, is expected, and residents as young as 16 have been granted permission to vote in the referendum.

This is apparently the first time 16-year-olds in Scotland have been able to vote, and if the outcome is tight enough they might be the ones to decide the election. The youth vote is widely perceived as favoring independence; that would make intuitive sense, since independence from their parents is generally a yearning of that age group. But no one really knows how the group will lean in the referendum, and at least one poll indicates they favor “no” to independence.

How did the 16-year-olds come to be included in the referendum? Apparently the Scottish Parliament made the decision, with the support of the more left-leaning parties and Scotland’s leader Alex Salmond, who favors independence and saw the youth vote as helpful in the fight to achieve it.

It’s a logical extension of trends on the left that have been designed to increase their share of the vote by enfranchising more low information and easily-manipulated voters. As such, it makes perfect sense, and it’s no surprise that it is gaining favor across the pond, in countries that are even further along on the leftist path than we are.

Is this what’s next for the US? Fortunately, it would require a lot more than a majority in Congress to change our voting rules at the national level and ban the prohibition of voting under 18; it requires an amendment to the Constitution. At the local level, however, the movement to extend the vote to below 18 has already begun, and has had some success.

The whole thing has a snowball effect. As more and more immature and poorly informed voters are enfranchised, they will make poorer and poorer decisions. And that, of course, is all part of the plan.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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The drinking age used to be 18. It has been raised to 21. I would raise the voting age to 25.

“The drinking age used to be 18. It has been raised to 21.”
That’s the way it was when I was in college. Beer/wine at 18 voting and “hard” liquor at 21.

I think the concerns about a tyranny of a slim majority is something to ponder on the day-to-day matters of state

But for independence? I don’t see why any conservative would object. If the majority – and in this case as close to a true majority given 95% turnout projections that you will ever get – want to leave let them.

Allow an extended period of free migration so those who want out can leave.

To me, this is the spirit of federalism. Self-rule close to home as much as possible. When the state is no longer responsive, and no other choice exists, move on.

Do I think the Scottish will make a mess of things if independent ? Yes, but it is their right to do so.

Do I think if the US colonists put it to a vote it would have been a wide margin in all states? No. Do we think the US was created by a tyranny of a slim majority in all states? No.

Let them choose. Wisely or foolishly. The ability to split off is a precedent that needs to exist as an antidote to the power of the state.

It bothers me not if that power is only 50% + 1 vote.

Once free, make the new constitution freedom-biased and the bar for change high. But the barrier to leave can be low, IMHO.

It would be good for Scotland to go it alone. The Scots love their welfare ideology so much let’s see what happens when they run out of money.

BannedbytheGuardian | September 18, 2014 at 6:10 pm

In the event of NO ….
Give a thought for the ordinary English people who are lobbed with the increased taxation to pay for Devo Max PLUS the new hefty giveaways . They are stuck with Rotherham Councils . The Scots , Ulster,& Welsh MPs don’t give a shit about them . They just want more money.

It is the north , West & East of England that made Britain yet they are a back thought . Things need to change in England also .

The Scottish left opposes the Scottish far left on this, with the far left wanting independence. Whether staying with the UK or going it alone, the Scots are doomed by leftist economic ignorance.

However… lefty governments in Europe have shown a willingness to abandon leftist economics, if only once the financial bullets start striking bone. So, perhaps there is hope for a successful independent Scotland if they too can change sails when their social utopia ultimately proves unsustainable. Politics is cyclical and I hope whatever happens, Scotland centers up and stabilizes and makes it out okay in the long run.

My parents named me after Rab Burns. The final verse is engraved on my father’s headstone.

Scots Wha Hae (Scots who have…)

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to victory!

Now’s the day, and now’s the hour;
See the front o’ battle lour;
See approach proud Edward’s power—
Chains and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward’s grave!
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha for Scotland’s king and law
Freedom’s sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fa’,
Let him follow me!

By oppression’s woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty’s in every blow!—
Let us do or die!

    When it came to the wars of his own time, though, Burns was solidly pro-Hanover.

    Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear, lend an ear,
    Ye Jacobites by name, lend an ear,
    Ye Jacobites by name,
    Your fautes I will proclaim,
    Your doctrines I maun blame, come and hear.

    What makes heroic strife, famed afar, famed afar?
    What makes heroic strife famed afar?
    What makes heroic strife?
    To whet th’ assassin’s knife,
    An’ take a parent’s life, wi’ bluidy war.

theduchessofkitty | September 18, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Voting at 16?!?!?

There was a time when you couldn’t open a bank account or vote until age 21. Ever wonder why? Simple: it has been found recently that brains do not reach full maturation until age 22. At 18 you were still full of mush and your heart ruled over your brain. (Don’t deny it!)

That’s why Churchill said a long time ago that if your’re not liberal at 20 you had no heart, and that if you’re not conservative at 40 you had no brain.

Ahhh hope and change. Hope that change works for them.

“Is this what’s next for the US? Fortunately, it would require a lot more than a majority in Congress to change our voting rules at the national level and ban the prohibition of voting under 18; it requires an amendment to the Constitution.”

Would it?

The 26th amendment just says that citizens 18 and older shall not be denied the right to vote because of their age. It doesn’t prohibit allowing 17-year-olds to vote. At least not explicitly.

My guess is that a 16year-old in Scotland might elect to opt out of high school. Here 16 is around age of concent. 16-year-olds used to have DL’s. Why not voting?

It was a crazy idea that could never work. The idea Scotland could pay for a welfare state with oil revenues from a dwindling reserve and increasing world supply was always a fantasy. Scotland’s interior deficits were already too high to join the EU – and they would have to adopt the euro to do so in any case.

Lloyd’s of London and the Bank of Scotland had begun plans to move their headquarters to England if the “yes” vote won the day. That alone should tell even the casual observer it was not a viable proposition from the start.