Downbeat 16

Ferret's "coming of age" included a long spell in the toilet after a rather unceremonious celebration in a Hampshire pub. But the Government has something grander in mind for children of New Labour - a ceremony to remind those who turn 18 of their rights and responsibilities as citizens. (Of course, it is impossible to be a citizen unless you live in a republic, but let's leave the constitutional problems aside.) One of my college chums asked why this ceremony should wait until we are 18. Why not 16, when we leave school and are old enough to work full-time, smoke, have sex and sign up for the military?

Perhaps the Government only recognises its "citizens" when they are old enough to vote.

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