The principle at the heart of the campaign to lower the voting age to 16 is that the development of democracy has been about the greater enfranchisement of those able and willing to decide who should represent them in parliament and government.
The reasons we give people the vote are straightforward. We expect them to be fully developed citizens, resident in the state. They have to follow the rules of society, and they should be engaged with the political process.
As the United Kingdom, and indeed most western liberal democracies, have evolved in the last century, we have seen an expansion of those entitled to vote. First women, then those over 18 were given the chance to shape their country.
It is in that tradition the Scottish Youth Parliament has voted to focus on campaigning for votes at 16. Our members are politically engaged and aware, and absolutely deserve the right to vote for the candidate and party of their choice.
To those who say young people are uninterested in politics I would gently remind them the SYP received over 40,000 responses to our manifesto last year. Young people do care about politics, and they do want to get involved.
After all, most of the privileges of adult life are already available at the age of 16. You can get married or join the military. You are liable for your actions if you break the law. You are able to leave school and make your own way in the world.
Furthermore, most of the restrictions in place are for health reasons rather than a lack of maturity – for example alcohol or tobacco. I am not quite certain what the health risks of voting are so I don't really think those age restrictions are relevant.
So the precedents for doing this are strong. But it is the impact this makes which is the real reason for allowing this.
Letting young people vote means they get a say over areas which have an enormous impact on their lives. It's young people who depend on public services to a greater degree than any other group.
Why should a 16-year-old not get to express their opinion on university tuition fees, when a change to the law affects them, but very few of the people who currently vote.
When councils look at which services they provide, it is often young people who are sidelined as councillors don't need to court them. But at the moment these decisions are often decided by the electoral consequences – it's time to change that calculus.
But finally, this provides a real chance to engage young people in being part of society, and part of politics.
At the moment we exclude people from democracy during the vast majority of their teenage years and we are then surprised when they don't vote afterwards.
It is up to us to change this, to make voting available and to inculcate the value of voting to young people.
That way we get more voters, we get more engaged young people, and we have governments setting laws designed to help the whole of society.
That surely must be better than denying the march of progress.
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