This (below) is a piece by Malcolm Boyd, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
I agree with him. And not because I think that young people will necessarily vote for independence. Far from it. I just believe that in Scotland 16 is an appropriate age to make decisions for your future.
You are considered old enough to marry, without permission from your parents, and to have, and bring up children. Surely, if that, one of the most important things you will ever do, is permissible at 16, a vote to determine how your country is run, how you are taxed, how your children are educated, and how they are looked after health wise, is not unreasonable.
Of course, as Malcolm says in his piece, there are those who say that young people are not mature enough to make these kind of decisions. But, if that were true were true we should certainly have to put the age at which we vote and at which we are allowed to have children back a long way. (Which is more important: bringing a child into the world and raising it, or have a say, amongst many others, as to who your MSPs should be?)
I don't think that's necessarily true, anyway. Age is only one indicator in intellectual maturity. Many people in the 20s and 30s have little idea about politics. Some have ideas put there by their parents, which stay put even when they are mature themselves. I know old people who say that they will vote a certain way no matter what, because that was the way their mother and father voted... taking in to account none of the changes that have happened since their parents made their decisions. How mature is that?
As Malcolm says some youngsters are far better informed about politics than older people. They learn at school, and I've often thought that it's a pity that, having learned and left school it is another two years before they can put what they learned into practice.
Recently I was talking with a guy whose age I would have put at around 25. He told me he liked the SNP but was irritated by the fact that they had made all the sick people go through these tests...!!! When I pointed out that that was, in fact, the Tories in London, he asked me who they were...
On the same day I was talking to a 16 year old who asked loads of questions about independence, and the next time I saw him, he had made a note of further questions he wanted to ask. He was also discussing it with his mates at school.
Then there was the woman in her 50s who works at the local shop whose attitude was... "I dunnai ken nuthin aboot politics; I dunnai care either".
Of course most people who say they don't care about politics, in fact do care. They care when VAT goes up; they care when their kids are sent to war in dusty countries they care when their pension goes down; they care when electricity bills go up at 10 times their pay, or gas at 20 times their pay... Oh yes, they care, they just can't be bothered.
So let's encourage our young people to be interested in whatever party and whatever outcome in the referendum. They have longer to live in it that we do. This is not a partisan thing. Labour and the Liberals were with the SNP in wanting 16 and 17 year olds to be able to vote in the last referendum on UK voting systems. I've no idea why they changed their minds on this.