Voting age

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Allan Massie (Perspective, 27 May) deems it “absurd” to exclude 16- and 17 year-olds from the EU referendum vote, as “intellectual or emotional maturity has never been required” of voters of any age. So why not 15?

Judging such maturity can be subjective, not objective, but thresholds have to be set in all walks of life, as he admits.

There is increasing evidence-based data that human brains continue development into their 20s, and many (or most) of us look back amazed (or appalled) at the black-and-white dogmatic opinions of our mid-teens.

Mark Twain’s quote – of how ignorant he thought his father was when he was 14, and how astonished at how much the old man had learned only seven years later – says it all.

Many such teenagers possibly knew more of the real “facts of life” in previous generations from worthwhile apprenticeships rather than as now, remaining in school, college or university into their 20s.

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews

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