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"Politics is all about people. As a Central Scotland MSP it is both a pleasure and a privilege to meet and become involved with a hugely diverse number of people and organisations"

Margaret Mitchell
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Archive for January 2012

Winter 2011 Newsletter

Jan. 25th 2012

Read all about the work of the Cross Party Group on Taiwan, Margaret’s Member’s Business debate on Prescription Medicine Waste and what has been happening with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Also see what Margaret has been up to in Central Scotland, from attending the Opening Ceremony of the 45th International Children’s Games to visiting Falkirk charity, Open Secret. Download the Winter 2011 Newsletter

Posted by Kate | in Newsletters

Local Government Elections

Jan. 20th 2012

During yesterday’s Scottish Government debate the Scottish Government made the case for devolving all powers for running the Scottish Parliamentary elections in Scotland.

 This includes a proposal to change the voting franchise, enabling 16 and 17-year-olds to vote.

 The Scottish Conservatives remain opposed to this and believe it is important to encourage more young people over the age of 18 to vote first before considering altering the franchise.

 Speaking after the debate, Margaret said:

 “The Scottish Conservatives remain opposed to the Scottish Government’s proposal that the Scotland Bill be altered so that responsibility and powers for all elections that take place in Scotland, except those to the UK and EU Parliaments, are devolved.

 Implicit in this proposal is to give the Scottish Government responsibility for the franchise but it makes sense for issues such as this, which are of a constitutional nature, to be decided on a UK basis.

 The Scottish Government in arguing for 16 and 17 year olds being able to vote in elections – and in the forthcoming referendum – state that to deny this age group the right to vote shows a lack of consistency with other legal rights. 

 However, the real inconsistency lies with the government. Whilst it argues that young people are ready to have the vote at 16 and 17 it doesn’t consider they are responsible enough to be allowed to purchase alcohol from off-licences and supermarkets till they are 21 years of age or older.

 Furthermore, in terms of arguing that as young people have the right to marry at 16 they ought to have the right to vote, it’s worth pointing out that whilst they have the right to marry at this age, few young people actually chose to exercise this right.

 In fact from the approximately 126,000 young people in Scotland in 2010, a miniscule 79 from the wider 16-19 age group chose to marry.

 In addition to this, according to the Electoral Commission’s consultation ‘How Old is Old Enough’, young people themselves were divided on whether they were ready to be given voting rights at 16.

 The same consultation stated that the evidence suggests lowering the voting age would in fact decrease the overall percentage turnout due to additional numbers of eligible but disengaged voters in the short term, with the long term effects still disputed.

The priority for these elections is to put the voter at the forefront, to ensure they fully understand the STV voting system and to increase voter turnout as a whole with a specific effort at increasing voter turnout amongst 18-24 year olds.”

 The Official Report of yesterday’s debate can be found here:

 http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28862.aspx?r=6715&mode=pdf

 

Posted by Kate | in Chamber speeches, Parliament

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