Gransnet forums


AIBU to find this grossly ageist?

(16 Posts)
sarahcyn Fri 07-Dec-18 23:42:12

This Cambridge professor says six year old might as well be allowed to vote, because old people are allowed to vote, and (apparently) old people are ignorant and barely literate, like six year olds. So, jokingly, he advocates lowering the voting age to six.
Didn't people used to make the same kind of arguments against allowing women to vote? Poor people? And, in the USA, people of colour?
Read the article please Gransnetters, and tell me what you think.

MawBroon Fri 07-Dec-18 23:45:44

Only risk this if you have no fears for your blood pressure!

absent Sat 08-Dec-18 04:02:26

I don't think that is exactly what he was saying. He was saying that the number of old people outnumbers the number of young people, thus creating a demographic bias. Even if the numbers are true – and that would depend on how you categorise old and young – there are also quite a lot of middle-aged people in between. I realise that he is talking about 16 and 17-years-olds who don't yet have a vote but who may have a vested interest in the future. I think he is very much mistaken in suggesting that old people don't concern themselves with the future and just vote for what suits them now. I have no idea how many old people are grandparents, but would guess there are quite a lot of us whose adult children's and grandchildren's futures are very dear to our hearts and whose future well-being matters to us more than our present circumstances.

I think he is also locked in a bit of a time warp. Many of those of us who are now getting older and grey-haired are the 16- and 17-year-olds of the 60s and 70s who were enthusiastic political activists. For example, many were "greens" early on. (Although we should never forget that our parents' generation used shopping bags, not plastic carriers, put out the "salvage" (a leftover term for old newspapers collected during the war, who turned collars on shirts and sheets sides to middle, who bought their children winter coats and school uniform several sizes too big because they would last three or four years as they grew, who cultivated vegetables on allotments, dutifully washed out their milk bottles for collection the next day and returned their beer and soft drink bottles to the shops where they were bought.)

Having been one who marched against America's war in Vietnam, who marched with CND, protested against animal testing of cosmetics and so on and so on. I lamented what I saw as a complete lack of interest in either local, regional or world politics in the next generation. Then George Bush and Tony Blair decided to invade Iraq and I was heartened by the number of young people who were angry enough to turn up early in the morning and stand around for hours before they could move on a cold February day to say "Don't attack Iraq". I especially liked the boys who shouted "Don't attack Iraq, innit."

I was horrified some years later when, on an election day, I asked a couple of young women who worked in the sandwich shop that we frequented while renovating a house if they had voted. They said that they never voted because "it was just for rich people".

Maybe, Professor Runciman you should get out of Cambridge once in a while and travel around the country. Talk to people of different ages, from different backgrounds, different histories and, just different from you.

Jane10 Sat 08-Dec-18 07:34:32

Well said absent!
On a slightly different note, us older people have actual experience of what can happen in various spheres of life. We've seen governments of various shades. We've lived in times of sky high interest rates and high unemployment levels and so on. We know about a lot of 'what ifs' because we've seen what can happen.
O tempora o mores...

Poppyred Sat 08-Dec-18 08:28:20

We are older and wiser and have much experience of the world and in my case always vote with my children and grandchildren’s best interests at heart. I don’t know about the rest of you but I did not understand enough to vote at 18. The young always see things through rose tinted glasses.

Bathsheba Sat 08-Dec-18 08:33:10

Excellent post absent,

sodapop Sat 08-Dec-18 08:36:08

Well said absent good post.
Actually poppyred my grandchildren and their friends are very interested in world affairs and have a good grasp of what is happening in the UK.

TwiceAsNice Sat 08-Dec-18 08:38:07

Another instance of academics being:
A out of touch with the majority in society and
B. showing that some clever people have no common sense.

silverlining48 Sat 08-Dec-18 08:45:26

We didn’t vote or could get married without permission in til we were 21, and by that time I had been in full time employment 6 years.

Jane10 Sat 08-Dec-18 10:11:08

When I was 18 I took it very seriously indeed. I conscientiously collected all the parties' manifestos and voted for the party I thought best at the time. I always do. I expect I was an anomaly at the time as are the consciencious young voters today although God knows where they get the news from. Critical appraisal of sources seems somewhat lacking.

Mycatisahacker Mon 10-Dec-18 14:51:45

Well said abscent

There are many well informed people of all ages and many ignorant of all ages.

There are clearly some very silly academics at camebridge too. I expect he’s trying to make a name for himself by being controversial.

M0nica Mon 10-Dec-18 16:17:39

Probably his middle age crisis. That happens especially to middle age men. It is their hormones. They discard their wives to replace them with a nubile post graduate, grow their hair long (what's left of i), and often buy sports cars or 4 X 4's

I do wonder about them being allowed to vote or take part in public life. With their hormones in such a state and making so many bad decisions. I think their ovtes should be suspended between 45 - 60.

Caledonai14 Mon 10-Dec-18 16:52:51

Can't really put it any better than Absent. Just wanted to say I support that view.
And thanks to Sarahcyn for introducing the discussion.

MacCavity2 Mon 10-Dec-18 18:16:26

I’m spitting feathers!

Jalima1108 Mon 10-Dec-18 18:19:28

The worrying thing is that this Cambridge professor has a vote.
And the fact that his views may influence others.

I think that absent has said it all.

Actually, I don't think anyone should be allowed to vote until they're 7.
Seven year olds Know Everything.

trisher Mon 10-Dec-18 19:09:01

It's a load of tosh but he has a book to sell, so needed to get himself in the papers. How little he knows about children is obvious, he imagines all 6 year olds can read. Sadly they can't. He also doesn't seem to know that it isn't the younger generation who turn out to vote but us oldies. Still that's probably our fault as well. We terrify them and drive them away from the polling station. We are in fact "The Granny Gang"!!