Professor David Runciman, head of Politics at Cambridge University, argued that the voting age should be lowered to 6 in order to combat “age bias”.
In the latest episode of his podcast, Talking Politics, Runciman claimed that the proposal to lower the voting age to 16 was simply not radical enough, and that young children should be given the opportunity to decide the destiny of the country:
I would lower the voting age to six, not 16. And I’m serious about that. I would want people who vote to be able to read, so I would exclude reception [age-children]. What’s the worst that could happen? At least it would be exciting, it would make elections more fun. It is never going to happen in a million years but as a way of capturing just how structurally unbalanced our democracies have become, seriously, why not? Why not six-year-olds?
He went on to argue that old people simply have a “huge inbuilt advantage” in the electoral system that needed to be rectified:
Young people are massively outnumbered because the voting age is 18, whereas there isn’t a cutoff point at the other end. You don’t lose the vote when you get to be 75. You can carry on voting until the day you die and there is no test. You could be frankly demented and still get to vote, which is as it should be. So young people are the losers here.
The professor did dismiss suggestions to rectify the situation with forms of gradation, such as giving more votes to younger people, as insane:
You should never, never interfere with the basic principle of democracy, which is one person one vote. And you should never take votes away from people. You get to vote right the way through to the end of your life regardless of whether you are capable of voting or not, and we are fine with that.
Runciman is literally beyond parody in his demands. The “Votes at 12” campaign was set up earlier this year by Tom Harwood, satirising the call for 16 and 17-year-olds to get the vote:
It’s our 👏moral👏duty👏 to back #VotesAt12. We have met some amazingly 💡switched on💡, wise 💪tough💪 children & many adults who are the 🖕🏼opposite🖕🏼. We must stop ⬇️underestimating people👥 based on their 👶🏻age👶🏻 & start empowering them to be the present & the future— Votes at 12 Campaign (@votesat12) December 30, 2017
Harwood told Sabre’s Edge that he was saddened to be “one-upped” by Runciman:
I thought my joke campaign was pretty funny but his joke suggestion is even better! MPs in marginal seats would be wise to have as many babies as possible in the run up to election day! The Professor had better watch out – I’m about to reclaim the title for “most ridiculous franchise extension suggestion” by introducing the idea of Votes for Foetuses!