Monday, January 07, 2008

Age is the Thing

John McCain is 71 and is a serious contender for the presidency. Ming Campbell, in his 60s, was seen as being too old to be leader of a party that is unlikely to form a government. The main opposition leader, David Cameron, is 41, as is the Liberal leader, Nick Clegg. Hence, an interesting bit of musing by Newsnight's Michael Crick here about the vagaries of age in politics. To be honest, we should be wary of callow youths seeking office before they've experienced the world in all its glory. Hitler was 44 when he became Chancellor - a real advert for virulent youth, and he was of course the ultimate youth worshipper with his interminable youth brigades. But who was it who brought him low? Winston Churchill, 65 when he became Prime Minister. Still a bit young, but needs must.

3 comments:

Marc said...

65 was a bit young, thats why we got rid of him after the war and brought him back when he'd actually got some experience under his belt at 76.

DCarnell said...

I see Michael Crick at the BBC clearly reads your blog, Giles. And you deemed him worthy of a comment. Bravo.

Thr trouble is that the older your leader is, you need an older demographic to associate with them. Weirdly, the trend in the UK is the reverse. Whilst we have an ageing population (who, you would think, would quite like Ming and any other slipper-wearing leader) we continue to elect those in the first flushes of youth.

The fact that Cameron resembles a Somerfield store manager doesn't seem to matter at the moment but come the next election, I think the electorate still want gravitas and experience in their leaders.

Whilst referencing Hitler in an argument always shows a real grasp of the issues it's probably worth highlighting the succession of leaders of the USSR after Stalin's demise were all creaking old men until Gorby. They didn't exactly have a record of a go-getting premiership did they?

GM said...

Hmmmm. Thanks for the Hitler jibe - deserved I suppose. And I suspect Crick goes nowhere near this blog - I wrote this after seeing his piece first!