Bullying and manipulation – The EU referendum

In the past all three parties have failed to keep promises to hold a referendum on our membership of the EU; now, it would seem, the Tories are to allow one. Suddenly it is suggested that the votes of sixteen and seventeen year-olds, like younger voters recruited in Scotland before the independence referendum there, should count. I am all in favour of young people being consulted in this way but only as part of a coherent attempt to help them grow up and take responsibility for themselves, not as a cynical attempt to swing a vote. If these young people are sufficiently savvy to vote why are we now insisting on keeping them in education for a further two years?

Constraints on cabinet members joining the debate unless they support the government suggest a lack of confidence on the government’s part and raising the limits on funding for campaigns suggests that a “correct” decision, a “Yes” vote, is sought rather than a considered response from all those who wish to vote on the matter. This is bullying; confronted by bullying there is only one possible response, to do that which the bully does not want done. Vote “No.”

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