Tuesday 6 May 2003

What do we want? Voters' rights

Brian Meek, an Edinburgh Conservative councillor, wants to make it easier to vote. Mr Meek writes:
If the Scottish Executive does nothing else in the next four years it should immediately establish a committee or commission to examine how we can streamline the whole voting system. Vast numbers of people now have access to computers and should be encouraged to vote electronically. Those who do not must be given the option of postal voting.
I'm not so sure about this. As others have pointed out, 90-year-old ladies are willing to trudge through the rain to cast their votes. Some Edinburgh students were reported as not even knowing that an election was being held. Students! Why should we make it easier for those who can't be bothered? Someone recently suggested that those who miss one vote should be barred from taking part in the next one. That seems reasonable to me.

More fundamentally, we should look at who should be allowed to vote. I propose that voting be limited to those who pay for government. Only taxpayers should be allowed to vote. Tax-consumers - those who draw state benefits or salaries - should be disenfranchised. Why should group A be allowed to pick the pockets of group B?