Alex Massie

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Let Pensioners Vote

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We often hear people suggesting that 16 and 17 year-olds should be allowed to vote. We don't hear enough about voting at the other end of the spectrum: why are pensioners allowed to vote? The news that, despite everything, fully 28% of Irish pensioners still support Fianna Fail (compared to 17% of the population as a whole) makes one wonder if the oldies can be trusted with the franchise.

We take driving licenses away from them when they prove too doddery to be anything other than a danger to others. Perhaps the same modest principle should be applied* to voting. If you think this harsh - though lord knows reforming American entitlements will require, um bravery for so long as the pensioner lobby rules - then a modest compromise would simply require removing the franchise from anyone who haw outlived national life expectancy by, say, four years. If you can be too young to vote responsibly, you can be too old too.

At the very least, a welcome first step would be to prevent the already-dead from voting. They were the future once but now the're not.

*This would change, obviously, if pensioners were more likely to vote for parties of which I approve.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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