Ever since 16-year-olds were given the vote for the first time in British history, allowing them to have their say in September's referendum on Scottish independence, the question of the voting age has been a hot topic.

The pensioners have had their chance to shape Britain - now it's someone else's turn.

The move was greeted with predictable harrumphing by older generations at the time but, as passions cool, perhaps we should be turning the spotlight not on the under-18s but the over-65s. Isn't it high time we banned them from the polling stations instead?

Consider the facts.

Teenagers have their entire working lives in front of them and thus an extremely keen interest in legislation affecting everything from tax rates and house prices to healthcare and education. And, yes, Scottish independence.

They are considered mature enough to marry, raise children, spill their blood in foreign wars and pay taxes. And yet, more than 250 years after our former colonists across the pond campaigned under the slogan "No taxation without representation", they are denied any say in the way their tax dollars are spent.

Meanwhile, the bus-pass generation seems to think it's all about them, them, them.

They are preoccupied with pettifogging issues such as their monstrously overblown final salary pension schemes, subsidised hearing aids, and the winter fuel allowance. And that would fine if this naked self-interest was as far as it went. But where they do have a fixed view, it is all too often one calculated to make life miserable for the generations coming along behind them.

Take a trip down the golf club or, worse, the bowling green, and what is certain to be one of the key policies championed by these old codgers? A cap on immigration, of course. They are fed up with having to share public transport with people speaking funny languages. (And I won't even start on their other, more sinister motivations.)

Well, excuse me, but without large-scale immigration whose taxes are going to pay for all the baby boomers retiring at a record rate? In 2012 alone the number of people turning 65 rose by 150,000 year on year. And that's a figure that is set to remain sky-high for the next couple of decades.

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Even worse, these old timers won't have the decency to pop their clogs at a reasonable age. Medical advances and improved nutrition mean that they will hang on for years longer than their parents, sucking at the teet of state aid all the while. Not for them any concern for the hard-pressed young people whose taxes are covering their retirement benefits – benefits on a scale that we will never see again, incidentally.

The Economist once termed the pension problem "the most predictable slow-motion economic and social time bomb" in European history. And what did these worldly-wise sixtysomethings do about it before it became a crisis? Not. A. Lot. Japan's ageing population is seen as one of the man factors behind its "lost decade" of economic growth. Now we face the same experience, with knobs on.

Quite apart from their self-serving prejudices, we also have to ask to what extent the oldies are still in full possession of their marbles. The Alzheimer's Society reports that the number of people with dementia in this country is steadily increasing. The total is currently at 800,000. And how many of them are under 65? You've guessed it, not that many – 17,000 to be exact. The truth is that one in 14 people over the age of 65 suffers from dementia and this rises to a staggering one in six among people over 80. And they all have the vote!

Quite apart from their self-serving prejudices, we have to ask to what extent the oldies are still in full possession of their marbles.

Perhaps it would be an over-reaction to throw out all of these Methuselahs with the bath water, however. A clue to an appropriate way forward may be found in the policy of the DVLC to older drivers.

It wisely insists that all 69-year-olds apply to have their driving licence renewed before their 70<sup>th birthday. As the older driver's eyesight deteriorates, their reactions slow and they find the whole process more and more stressful, they may become a hazard to other road users. Even if a 69-year-old does succeed in renewing then, he or she is forced to repeat the process every three years for the rest of their driving career.

Let's face it, so many old people are useless on their own, forever losing their glasses, and always bumping into things at the shops. They need help, not voting rights. We retire from work, why don't we retire from the cares of the modern world. Housing booms, Ukraine, greenhouse gases: who wouldn't welcome the chance to tend azaleas rather than ponder such crises? It's a young person's game and, admit it old-timers, you are looking to the young to provide the answers.

Let's start screening out the sort of people the prime minister might call fruitcakes and loonies and replace them with 16- and 17-year-olds full of youth, vigour and, above all, a vested interest in the future.

Take the weight off your feet, gramps, they'll vote with the nation's interests - including yours - at heart. You probably won't.

Dominic Midgley is a freelance journalist and author, whose books include Abramovich, The Billionaire From Nowhere, the biography of the Russian oligarch who bought Chelsea FC.