The idea of giving children the right to vote - through their parents - is not new. Five or so years ago, a leftist British think-tank suggested it, along with lowering the voting age to 14. Now, the concept has popped up here in similar surroundings, through Labour MP Phil Twyford on his party's Red Alert blog site. Not surprisingly, it has been roundly scorned.

Mr Twyford says the Government's freeze on payments to the Superannuation Fund for 10 years is one reason we should consider parents having the right to vote on behalf of their children until they are old enough to vote. Baby-boomers' superannuation will now, he says, most likely depend on the taxing of their children and grandchildren.

There is some justification for this view, and for his advocacy of inter-generational fairness. But allotting voting rights is no way to address these concerns. The freeze on payments was a response, taken reluctantly, to a worsening recession. It aroused little criticism from those parents who Mr Twyford thinks would place a heavy consideration on their children's future, as well as their own wishes, if they also voted for them. There is no suggestion it will be a strong negative for National at the next election.

The assumption is that voters, non-parents excepted, do not already place an emphasis on creating a better country for their children when they enter a polling booth. In many cases, that is surely wrong. Worse still, it is obvious why the concept of a parent with eight children having nine votes has sprung from left-of-centre sources. Parties of that inclination tend to garner support from large families, if only because of the welfare packages. One person, nine votes would redraw the political landscape. Childless people would feel like second-class citizens. As proposals go, this is one of the more palpably absurd.