Birthday plans on hold until after Slamannan’s Robin votes

Robin Tate turns 18 today
Robin Tate turns 18 today

Celebrations will be put on hold for Robin Tate until after she goes to cast her vote at the polling station.

While politicians have had May 7 circled on their calendars as General Election day, the Slamannan teenager has been counting down until her 18th birthday.

She plans to use her ballot paper this evening (Thursday) after finishing work at Falkirk Council where she is a Modern Apprentice in business admin.

However, it isn’t the first time she has been to the polling station as last September Robin was one of around 100,000 16 and 17-year-olds who voted in the Scottish Independence Referendum.

And she believes that it is vitally important that everyone eligible – whatever their age – uses their franchise in this General Election.

She said: “I’m very interested in politics and have been following the General Election coverage.

“There is just so much information available this time, particularly because of social media. You can even follow people like David Cameron on Twitter – if you want to.”

Robin’s interest in politics has been encouraged by mum Eleanor, an activist for mental health rights, who is a regular attender at local authority meetings. She said it led to interesting conversations at the dinner table in their home at Wood Hill House, although admitted little brother Theo (10) didn’t often join in.

Having watched the leaders’ debates on television, she said that Nicola Sturgeon had impressed her the most.

“I think she did a really good job and is an amazing politician.”

However, she stresses her praise for the SNP leader isn’t an indication of how she is going to vote, admitting: “I’ve still not made up my mind.”

Having recently left Graeme High School, Robin believes that education is a key issue in the 2015 General Election. Although it is a devolved issue to the Scottish Parliament, she thinks that if, as many pundits are forecasting, the SNP has a strong presence in Westminster it can influence decisions for the whole country.

“It would be good if there were no university tuition fees anywhere in the UK,” she added.

She also believes that the environment is a key issue for many voters and is disappointed that there isn’t a Green candidate standing in her Linlithgow and East Falkirk constituency.

Although she has only been working with the local authority for a matter of weeks, she has seen first hand all the preparations being made by colleagues for the important vote.

She has also been involved helping to open the hundreds of postal votes already received.

And one thing this General Election has done is fuel her interest in politics to the extent she even hopes to make it her future career.