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Mick Temple’s Blog



Veteran politicians are an endangered species with opposition parties opting for youngish, Blair-lite politicians. What’s wrong with a few grey hairs wonders Mick Temple.

A geriatric American politician has been in Britain this week, on a ‘fact-finding tour’. Our young and dynamic political leaders couldn’t wait to be seen sycophantically sucking up to someone who could be the next leader of the free world.

Sharp-eyed readers will remember my informed analysis of the early race for the White House when, in search of a cheap chuckle, I asserted confidently that McCain had had his chips. Oh, how we laughed.

Now he is just a hanging chad away from the Presidency.

In defence of my feeble joke, I honestly believed that the American people would resist the appeal of a man who would be nearly eighty by the end of his second term.

Instead, the American public have displayed an admirable maturity themselves.

Our own political elite clearly believe that we are incapable of looking beyond the wrinkles and receding hair to vote for experience rather than callow youth. Admittedly, they may be right.

David Cameron and his LibDem clone, David Currant-Bun, lack gravitas and experience of high office. No matter, it was decreed. They look like Blair, sound like Blair and by golly they act like Blair. Be all things to all men. Offer nothing distinctive. But do it with a smile that says ‘trust me, I’m a pretty straight kinda guy’.

Our media are obsessed by image. ‘Young’, ‘new’ and ‘change’ are the magic words of the PR people and admen who now seem to determine the electoral strategy of our major parties.

The fate of Ming the Mirthless was used as evidence that Britain was no country for old men. But Ming’s flaw was not his age but his inability to galvanise potential LibDem voters.

It’s not age that matters, it’s the ability to inspire the country with your vision. We are still waiting for any of the big three parties to do this.

Both Cameron and Currant-Bun have yet to tell us what they think our future should be. Gordon Brown’s ‘vision’ increasingly appears to be of a grey and uniform system of state control in order to counter the menaces he sees in every arena from cyberspace to your local mosque.

His ‘national security strategy’ portrays the paranoia of a man who’s spent the last decade worrying what the bloke next door is saying about him.

They say you get the leaders you deserve. Britain deserves better than our current crop of Grumpy, Happy and Dopey.

Truly, political dwarves who make John McCain, for all his failings, appear like a political giant. Vince Cable, William Hague and John Reid may not have been past it after all.

Is age an asset for a politician? Or a liability? Leave a comment on the Message Board.

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