I KNOW it’s not really the done thing to split newspaper columns into different topics, but before I go into the main topic of this week's column which is, very surprisingly, about Brexit I am afraid I have to mention that I took part in a debate on lowering the voting age in the UK as a whole to 16 this week.

READ MORE: Mhairi Black calls for votes for 16 and 17-year-olds

Debates that aren’t on Brexit are struggling to find room for discussion at the moment understandably, but I’d like to take this opportunity to shine a wee light on this topic.

The Scottish independence referendum showed us that young people can make a huge contribution to politics.

Young people are knowledgeable, insightful, and often far less cynical than the older generations. For those reasons alone, the franchise should be extended, but it should also be noted that 16 year olds are able to work, marry, live alone, pay tax, join the army and so much more.

It seems so wrong that we expect young people to participate in all these things yet refuse them the right to actively participate in our democracy.

I believe the mood of the House of Commons is turning, and that soon it may be possible for this change to be implemented.

The National:

Now on to the main event of the column (again, sorry it’s Brexit, but it all really has to be said): EU nationals play a huge role in this country. It shouldn’t need to be said, their contribution should speak for itself. EU nationals are our neighbours, friends, colleagues, doctors, nurses, teachers, our family and also much more than that.

The Brexit debate wound its way back to freedom of movement this week, in particular because the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn met to try and find a Brexit they both found palatable.

You would expect the radical socialist Jeremy Corbyn would be extremely keen on freedom of movement, but apparently not. Not long after Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn’s meeting, a Labour spokesperson released a statement reiterating Labour’s clear position.

They said: “Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union.”

I will grant you that it’s quite refreshing to hear a straightforward Brexit position from Labour.

READ MORE: People are furious about Labour’s anti-immigration stance

Since the referendum result was announced, and even now, the Labour leadership flip and flounder between obscure and unsubstantiated positions that most of the time seem nothing but bewildering.

A very recent example would be the leader of the opposition calling again and again for a hard Brexit to be taken off the table, but then whipping his MPs to abstain on my colleague Joanna Cherry MP’s motion, which would have prevented hard Brexit, during the last round of indicative votes.

The National:

But, refreshing as a straightforward statement from Labour is, you have to wonder why this issue is the one they choose to be so clear on and why they have it so wrong.

Freedom of movement is a huge boost. It has helped create diverse thriving communities, where people have been brought together who may never have met, who formed families and opened businesses and played a huge role in our local areas. EU nationals work alongside us and help make Scotland the wonderfully diverse country it is.

That doesn’t even touch on the huge role immigrants play in the NHS, or the contribution they make to the economy. Freedom of movement is an entirely positive thing, and for the shiny new anti-capitalist left wing Labour to take a hard stance against that, while stating a clear preference to retain free movement of capital seems deeply conflicting.

I’ve said in these columns in the past that the left has been too timid when making the case for immigration.

READ MORE: Immigration plans could see some rural communities disappear

Often, when you watch a show like Question Time (if you dare put yourself through that), there will be a left wing politician or commentator who will listen to anti-immigration arguments and sort of, kind of, but not really, disagree with the argument while sounding sorry that they’re making the pro-immigration argument at all.

Almost as if it’s a foregone conclusion that the anti-immigration arguments are correct and that anyone making the case otherwise is simply doing so to be contrarian.

In recent months I thought I’d seen this change. I thought that Brexit had emboldened those who make the argument for immigration. Unfortunately, it looks like I was a bit misguided. Or at least, I was misguided in believing Labour were going to join us in making the case. It’s deeply disappointing.

My colleague Kirsty Blackman made the case most clearly on Twitter recently when she said: “Freedom of movement is good”.

She is, as she usually is, completely correct.