In Aldi today (they have a nice little circular saw this week, small enough to swing around and pretend you’re in the Texas Circular Saw Massacre while culturally appropriating your most recent victim’s face) there was a sign above one of the products.
You must be 18 to purchase this item.
It wasn’t above the circular saw. Nor the power drills, not even above the gas powered portable heater. Which, in the wrong hands, could be an especially vicious weapon. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t buy one of those. But then I used my gadget budget on the circular saw.
The sign was nowhere near those things. It was above a box of cutlery.
These weren’t carving knives or cleavers. They weren’t razor sharp ceramic knives. Table cutlery. Eating irons. The knife and fork you eat with. The knife that is usually not all that sharp because it doesn’t have to chop or carve, it’s dealing with cooked food. You have to be over 18 to buy it, along with the forks and spoons in the box.
Look, if some young thug wants a knife to attack people with, he, she or it is not going to buy a box of blunt knives that comes with forks and assorted spoons. He’s more likely to lift one from his mum’s kitchen drawer.
Our politicians and other assorted mindless control freaks now believe you are mature enough to shape your country’s future at 16 but far too young to set the table. This is before we touch on smoking and drinking and every other absurdity out there.
Quick digression – today I found a new whisky I hadn’t tried before . A vatted malt called Copper Dog. It’s very nice but if you’re 16 you can’t have it. You are only mature enough to make decisions affecting everyone in your country, you are still too much of a child to take control of your own life.
Look at porn. Not now, wait until after the blog post. You have to be 18 to view porn but you can get married at 16 and fumble about for two years because you can’t see the instructions yet. You will get sex education from the age of 5 now but you aren’t allowed to do anything about it until you are 16 and you can’t watch anyone else do it until you are 18. Apart from the instruction videos you were shown at 5 years old – after that you are magically a child again and you must forget that you were once mature enough to view sex videos. Also you have to keep teacher’s special secret 😉
Testicular cancer is something that mostly affects men. Specifically young men. Us oldies are familiar enough with those bits that we’d notice an extra hair, never mind a lump. And it can be hard to check because, as Dylan Moran once said, you’re looking for a lump in a bag of lumps.
The risk period starts at age 15. There are videos that show you how to check your plum sack but you aren’t allowed to see them until you are 18. So if you have testicular cancer at 15 you’ll be dead or castrated before you are old enough to know how to check for it. But hey, you’re old enough to vote at 16. You’re just not old enough to be shown how to prevent your early death. Given the choice, kids, which of those – voting or the cancer check method – would you like to have available to you at 16?
There are moves to raise the age for smoking to 21 and beyond. Signs in supermarkets tell cashiers to ‘Think 25’ when deciding whether to ask you for booze-ID to prove you are 18. Recently, Experts have Said and Studies have Shown that you are not an adult until at least 23 years old. “They grow up so fast” is a phrase for a bygone era. Soon it will be “When is this idle fucker going to grow up?”
Only a few years ago, the legal age for smoking was 16 – except it wasn’t. That was the legal age for being able to buy cigarettes. As with booze, which you can buy at 18 at the moment, there is no legal age for using the product. You can give a beer to your 10-year-old and you’re not breaking any laws – although if the prodnoses find out you will get reported and investigated for ‘child abuse’. Not for ‘giving booze to a minor’. Unless it’s someone else’s kid, that’s not illegal.
16-year-olds are not prosecuted for smoking because that isn’t illegal. Shops are prosecuted for selling to under 18’s. That is the part that is illegal. The lines have been cleverly blurred.
In the 1960s there were no age restrictions on buying cigarettes. My brother and I were routinely sent to the shop to get Dad his pack of ten and we could get sweets with the change. We could have bought ourselves cigarettes and matches if we wanted. We didn’t. We could buy sweets though, which is another thing frowned upon now.
I was buying fireworks at age 10. Nobody minded. That whole ‘don’t put a banger in a bottle because it will explode in a shower of glass’ thing? It didn’t work. The banger in a cowpat was much more fun.
I’d buy whole packs of boxes of matches for explosive experiments at age 15 or so. Nobody thought twice about it. I could have bought cigarettes if I’d felt the urge then. I was already frequenting pubs at 16. That wasn’t technically legal but as long as we didn’t cause any trouble, nobody minded.
Now, if you want to buy cutlery you have to be 18. You can marry at 16, join the army before you’re 17, but you can’t buy a fork until you’re 18. If you do marry that early you’d better have cutlery and other kitchen knives on the wedding gift list or you’ll be ripping that roast chicken apart with your fingers.
At around age 11/12 I was taking woodwork lessons at school. Saws, chisels, spokeshaves… and those things are no use unless they are properly sharp. Metalwork class, we brazed, forged, tempered, cast, hammered, lathed and used something called a shaper that if you leaned a tiny bit too far forward, would smash your brains out.
We were old enough to handle all those things. There were no major incidents. Everybody survived. But should we have had the vote at 16? Of course not, that would have been dangerously insane.
Most of the kids that age had no interest in politics. My group of friends were so right wing that the centrists couldn’t see us. We would have installed a monarchic empire run from a small central cardre and the rest of the world could deal with its own problems. Actually we probably wouldn’t have taxed very much, just enough to keep us supplied with things that go bang and plenty of sharp stuff. No need for private jets, we aren’t bothering to go around giving speeches. Dissent would have been quashed with extreme and very public prejudice but basically, don’t piss off the bosses and you can do pretty much as you please.
Would you really have wanted me to vote when I was 16? I know it’s the Socialists who want this because they think all 16 year olds are socialist but it’s an idea that could backfire very badly indeed. The socialist teens are vocal but the other side are not and never were. See, teens are not all socialist. The ones even slightly interested in politics are, however, all extremist. And, despite the left’s imagination, not all of them are extreme left.
I had mellowed by the time I was 18 but I have never voted Labour, despite growing up on a council estate in Wales in a Labour-voting family based on the mining industry. I have occasionally voted Tory but only when I don’t expect them to win. Usually I pick someone based on them having policies I like. I am not interested in party politics. I don’t join gangs.
Modern 16-year-olds are not allowed to do most of the things I did at that age. Off into the woods with a box of bangers and some bottles. Buying a whole load of matches. Buying camping knives that would make Jim Bowie jealous. Becoming a pub regular. Playing around with all sorts of red hot steel, molten aluminium and very sharp tools and dangerous machines. Buying explosives components in hardware shops and chemist shops. At home, sharp modelling knives and soldering irons. Oh yes, and I was playing with mains electricity too. Building my own railway controllers in old biscuit tins…
They can’t do any of that now. Childhood is now extended to age 23 and keeps going up. I had learned not to damage myself and how to handle dangerous things by the age of 16 and the one thing I would never have trusted my 16-year-old self to do was to vote.
And yet now, with all those things pushed away past the age where they would be most fun, with childhood extended to 20-odd year olds in onesies, drinking milky coffee from sippy cups, we are to let 16-year-olds vote.
The Left thinks all those 16-year-olds will vote for them.
How about all those thousands of girls groomed and gang raped by the people Labour demanded have special status, while Labour ignored – and continues to belittle and scoff at – those crimes?
How about their brothers and sisters, many of whom are now over 16?
Who would they vote for, I wonder?
If they succeed in giving 16 year olds the vote, I have a feeling it might not go the way they think it will.
But then, nothing else they do has gone as they planned, has it?