Monday, January 12, 2009

Too Young to be an MP?

Conservative Home have been listing the Tory MPs who are over the age of 60, by way of indicating which safe Tory seats might still be up for grabs by candidates on the grounds of the incumbent's retirement. there is no necessity, of course, for MPs to retire at 60 or 65 and interestingly, this has given rise, in the message thread, to a debate about whether there shouldn't be a minimum age for MPs. Last year, the grand-daughter of Labour veteran Tony Benn made the newspapers when she was selected for a seat aged just 19. Is it ridiculous to elect younger people to be a candidate? It's certainly true that a 19 year old can hardly have developed much perspective or maturity in their understanding of national and world affairs, but listening to some of our MPs one is tempted to wonder whether age brings any sort of advantage at all. And, of course, one of Britain's greatest prime ministers - Pitt the Younger - was a mere 24 when he became PM. As with the debate about what experience a putative US president should have, the issue is surely more to do with judgement than age. And there is nothing to say younger candidates can't possess sound judgement.

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