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Vote early, vote often;Letter

MY S4 upper-GeneralCredit and S5S6 Higher modern studies classes know about the devolved powers of the new Scottish parliament. They can explain to their parents the workings of proportional representation, and they are au fait with the case for and against independence. Yet on May 6 thousands of politically literate young people will be disenfranchised - a situation that is no longer tenable.

The SNP and Liberal Democrats are committed to reducing the voting age to 16 and, should these two parties form a coalition, that will be the case in 2003. The onus therefore is on the Conservative and Labour parties to explain why they are opposed.

Of course, one welcomes the Government-backed (with the Modern Studies Association) mock Scottish parliamentary elections, but surely the consultative steering group on the Scottish parliament, which called for "a democratic revival", anticipated something more?

We keep being told we are about to have the "most modern parliament in Europe", a model for other nations. The coming of PR must not be allowed to disguise the fact that the parliament will still not be fully representative, any more than the London one was when women or the working class could not vote.

If young people can marry at 16, they should be allowed to vote.

John Lloyd Inveralmond Community High School Livingston

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