by Dick Puddlecote
Nearing Your Pension? You’re Too Old For Politics, Then Who would you trust more to understand or run a country? A 65 year old who has seen life in all its glory and desperation over many decades, or an 18 year old straight out of a history and politics degree?
You see, I struggle to see how this kind of unimaginative tittering from a Europhile against Ukip is in any way helpful.
We see this attitude in many areas of life. Every time some group or party is seen as being predominantly populated by people past 50 years of age, it is derided as if it is irrelevant. And Lord help them if they are comprised of white, middle class people who still represent a sizeable percentage of the population.
Golf club frequenting racists and blue rinse crazies all, obviously.
By reply, another camera view showed that there were quite a few younger attendees amongst the crowd (the pic.twitter link), not that it was met with a mature response, mind.
Yet pop over to Twitter and you’ll see the most enthusiastic of Ukip members are so young that they scare me – someone at least a couple of decades away from retirement – with their unstinting energy. You could say that that youth are a feature of Twitter, but that further proves that it mostly depends on where you look. While twenty somethings chatter away sharing ideas on social networks, older people still tend trot to public meetings … the daft old crones. Let’s just send them back home with their Horlicks and Humphrey Bogart films, eh? No-one should have to listen to their life-drawn opinions in this new ‘enlightened’ world, eh?
Now, this isn’t an advocacy of Ukip policies (even if I agree with a lot of them, especially this), I’d be saying the same if other parties were being marginalised on the basis of attendees at one of their meetings. It is lazy, ignorant and puerile, whoever comes out with it. The argument seems to be that Ukip can’t be taken seriously because their followers tend to be older than the general demographic.
We are waging costly and deadly wars in the Middle East based on lies; have seen centuries old civil liberties ripped from us; are witnessing election turnouts so low as to be derisory; watched as MPs were jailed for stealing our taxes; seen the rise of health bullying on a grand scale; are festooned with regulations which stifle every business in the UK; been disgusted as manifesto commitments have been routinely desecrated; laughed as a Chancellor argued about the temperature of a Gregg’s pasty; sat astonished at party leaders squabbling over the cost of a fucking Chocolate Orange; are currently mired in one of the deepest and longest economic stagnations in the country’s (and Europe’s) history; and are saddled with eye-watering debt that it will take decades to pay off.
Yeah, go the youngsters! That’s fucking stunning success and no mistake, ain’t it?
A basic pillar of democracy is supposed to be one person, one vote, with each crossed box afforded equal gravity irrelevant of age. Last I looked, older people were just as entitled to vote as a right-on teen LSE grad with acne, goat hair scarf and a penchant for fair trade Arabica. I know modern politics is all about thinking of the chiiildren, but aren’t we getting a bit pathetic if we assess a party’s credentials on the percentage of their supporters who can still remember the names of all their schoolteachers? A party which came second in the UK at the last EU parliament elections can hardly be dismissed as a joke simply because many of the millions who voted had varying percentages of grey hair – or even no hair at all – on their bonces?
In my opinion, there’s something quite comforting and socially beneficial about respecting elders. It’s a model which has worked well over millennia to make sure that experience of life is passed on to the young for advancement of the common good.
Now, though, if you’re wet behind the ears; utterly ignorant of economics or business; are still trying to work out how a condom works; and were thrilled with a Harry Potter video game at Christmas when you were 12, your attendance at a political meeting is proof positive that the party is sound and that democracy is safe in your hands, apparently.
Gives a whole new meaning to the term “playground politics”, doesn’t it?