While I was at the Times reading for that last post, I found a few articles that piqued my interest
First Dominic Lawson argues to stop the segregation of men and women in sport - somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but centred on the gender issue of South African 800m winner, Caster Semenya - wherein lies the problem of 'females' who have extra chromosomes or genetic conditions that give them extra testosterone (not to say that Semenya actually has anything, but it raises the issue)
It is somewhat of a grey area - are they really women? Quite a dilemma, and I think he's right that in true meritocratic style we should let women try to get in men's teams - why not? We'd get the best performers regardless of sex
But oh no, men's natural advantage (which they don't have...) would be a handicap to the women, and they would unfairly be kept down
Now I do happen to think women should be able to play sports, segregation is the only way you'll achieve that - however I wish the feminists would shut up about giving female sports equal coverage, they are not going to be able to match the men in sports simply because men have more muscle - it's not a competitor, nor is it equal and they have been given a chance to do the same things at a lower level, they shouldn't be whinging for equal television and news coverage
You never hear men complaining they are under-represented in the shopping industry...
Then there's this, a review of a show called '16: too young to vote?'
It's not much of a debate starter, as it's just a bland review of a BBC3 show, despite being linked from the politics page, but it's always a good question
Should they vote? Part of me knows that 16 year-olds are a fair bit more immature than even 18-year-olds, some are better than others, but generally they're still children
But that said, maybe I'm getting old and will probably soon start thinking 21 year-olds are too immature, and after that 25-year olds, 30 year-olds - considering I have always viewed this derision by the older generations as arrogant I don't really think maturity is a valid concern
The same goes for intelligence - the capabilities of our brain and behaviour don't bar anyone else from voting so why should they suffer? I know some right idiots who are well over 18
Then it must come down to where we draw the line - we have to say where the child becomes an adult, clearly a 5-year-old doesn't have an informed opinion, although it's somewhat strange logic when you think most voters don't have an informed opinion anyway - but regardless, they couldn't care for themselves
An adult is 18 - this is where you can do anything you want, buy alcohol, see any film you wish, marry without consent, and now you can even buy fags, and with Labour's new rules on leaving education it's becoming increasingly clear that adulthood is 18, not 16 - you can hold a job, but it's likely to be a part-time one while you remain in education under the newest laws
But nevertheless you are a taxpayer, with enough responsibility to hold a job, clearly you have a case for some political engagement
And some 16 year-olds are very into it, you couldn't really deny them the vote on maturity grounds - and again, a hell of a lot of adults don't care, so if there's some who really do care then why not let them vote?
The situation also barely affects people - it will matter to a minority of people, assuming this government takes the maximum five years then they have a 60% chance of being either 15 or above 18 (as I was, I got to vote at 19) - but I suppose more regularly it would be half of them, but two years out of a lifetime is hardly a huge issue - but then...I keep asking myself 'why not?' - I see no harm in it, just a few more wasted votes in the pot
But then, I think those under 18 get more political representation anyway - they get the youth parliament, who actually get to sit in parliament on occasion, once they're over the 18 mark their representation will turn to zilch as they realise politics is monopolised by those over 30 and the 'youth' vote is meaningless
So, my view: I have no problem lowering the voting age, but frankly the kids are better off sticking with it at 18