September 20, 2014

Should an 81 years old Scot, have had more right to vote on Scotland independency than a newborn Scot?

Sir, on your first page September 19, we saw the photo of a Jock Robertson, who from how he is dressed is undoubtedly a Scot, and who says: “I have waited all my life for this vote”.

He is 81 years old… and my first though was, I am sure he might deserve to vote, and I am truly happy for him… but, really, should an 81 years old Scot be allowed to vote for on the future of Scotland, when all those under 16, and who will be much longer affected by the outcome cannot?

And it is not that I suggest new born should vote… but I wonder if Jock Robertson, exercising a voting right in the name of perhaps a young grandchild of his, would vote the same as he voted his own vote.

In these baby-boomers’ days and when so many of those 18 to 25 year olds do not seem sufficient interested in elections so as to look up from their I-pads, I have often thought that democracy would be much more dynamic and responsible, if mothers, or fathers, were allowed to vote in the name of their children…

And I say this also because then perhaps we would be able to have governments who do not accept the risk aversion of regulators, and which have banks not financing the future but only refinancing the past.

In 2006 I published an Op-Ed in Venezuela that stated: “Whenever on television we see a desperately poor mother telling how she has been let down again by politicians, it just evidences that her voice and her vote does not count enough.

If that mother, or father, besides speaking in the name of her or his own voting rights, were also speaking on behalf of the votes of their children, her or his voice would carry much more power.

Since it is the young who will benefit, or suffer, for a longer time from what governments’ do or not do, they not only should have a vote but also perhaps have more votes than adults. In some countries, especially those who demographically are in the process of becoming real baby-boomer dictatorships, the lack of representation of youth can have serious consequences.

We see all around us how the short-term interest reigns, we even hear now about accounting in real time, while problems that are perceived as of a more long-term nature, such as protection the environment [and lack of jobs] accumulate everywhere.

To assign a voting right to the newborn, can be the most effective way to remind all other voters that there are also who are interested in what might happen in eighty years time.”

In summary, if the average life is eighty years, a new born should have 80 votes (exercised by his mother or older brother) someone like me would have 16 votes left, and someone over eighty should count his blessings and be glad if he is allowed to keep one as a memento. I do not want to owe the world to my children, I want to assure their rights as stakeholders and make it all more of a joint venture.