Something wicked this way comes. Next week the British Isles shall be rocked by the rite of passage known as ‘Freshers Week’. This annual event is the first inebriated outing into the real world for any youngster with a Grade B in A level Media Studies or a BTEC in Sports Science, celebrating their first week of their recently secured place at one of this country’s universities. No doubt there are already a great many teens all over this nation ironing out their best Jack Wills’ shirt X chinos combination in a bid to impress and ergo hook up with intoxicated members of the opposite gender at sub-par night club events throughout Freshers week, without a single thought for either the taxpayers funding this grot, or for the prospective courses they each should be reading for in preparation rather than snogging some tosser in a Kaiser Chiefs t-shirt on the dance floor of a Lloyd’s Bar.
The following week, new students will go on to begin their courses, where they shall do none of the reading as recommended by their disillusioned lecturers with a nostalgia for the Soviet Bloc, instead wasting the money bestowed to them by the great deity, Student Finance, on Jager bombs and weak-smelling pot until the day before their essays are due in, when they shall cram a few hours in at the library to ensure that precious high 2:2 average which every employer cares so much about.
It isn’t just the studiousness that is missing from the modern trend in student life and university culture at large; it is also the notion that the university educated young people of Britain would ‘mature’ on a personal bildungsroman through the pursuit of higher learning and a cultivation of their individual pallets. This precious life-journey of self-development and creative growth has, sadly, been replaced by important moments in the great tapestry of life such as only changing one’s underwear when they begin to feel sticky, staying up until 6am in a freezing cold car park in Bath whilst a 37 year old with dreadlocks plays drum and bass through his ‘rig’, and sneakily eating all of the food that doesn’t smell in the communal fridges when suffering from the munchies. I exaggerate only in a small way, here. My point? The majority of uni students are useless, lazy, over-funded and under-fed troglodytes, who dodge their God-given right to an education in search of the next cheap pub.
Now, in light of the empirical observation that this has been going on as a part of ‘uni culture’ for at least 15 years and the near-certainty that this year shall see no buck in the trend, I cannot see how any reasonable person would trust these young folk to vote conscientiously and responsibly on the issues of the day. Most students will happily use a clothing iron to cook a steak, or utilize a tennis racket as a colander if it will save them doing the washing up. The people can’t even be expected to feed themselves, wash their clothes, or get their own essays in on time, for Christ’s sake, let alone to have a literate grasp of international, social and economic affairs.
I suggest we raise the voting age to 21. My reasoning behind this? At age 21, most young people will either be already hardened by several years of being a part of the work force, or the 9 to 5 day will be beginning to loom ominously at the end of their degree. Let’s face it; degrees are nothing like the real world. Popping into lectures for a few hours a week to talk about the coming socialist utopia and getting stoned at 10:30am are not part and parcel of the average worker’s lifestyle, you can be sure of that. Instead of this charmed existence, most workers give their best into fulfilling tasks to earn their keep in life.
People’s attitudes towards politics change when they have to start paying their own taxes. It is all well and good shouting your token Engels phrases at an NUS march in Kennington in the pouring rain when you are being propped up by the generosity of the state (whilst most of the public grumble quietly), but when you’re pouring pints for lecherous old men in a Wetherspoon’s, your hard-earned money starts to look a lot nicer in your bank account than the radical Left ideological convictions held throughout your sociology degree would have had you believe.
What’s that? I’m being ageist? There is the argument that many people will never be conscientious about who they are voting for, because most people will never educate themselves to the standard I require? Yeah, I know; fair point. Perhaps at another time I’ll go into specifics about aptitude in knowledge of politics as a yardstick for eligibility to vote. But for now, one certainty remains; an 18 year old student has no clue about what is fair, what is just and how the taxes that he or she doesn’t pay are best spent; and don’t even get me started on 16 year olds. That the utopian view of the world held by the vast majority of students come loggerheads with the way in which people paying through the nose in taxes see it. And at the end of the day, if they’re the ones who are for the most part paying for it, they’re the ones who deserve the say, don’t you think?