December 26, 2012 1 Comment
At 53 I am probably a member of Last Generation Labour, although if it is more about attitude and ideas than years then I may be able to describe myself as Next Generation Labour.
For many years I was one of the younger persons at Labour meetings in Southend. Politics, it seemed to me, appealed to the mature in far greater numbers than it did to those who were in the earlier stages of life’s journey. It is perhaps a perverse truth then that political decisions affect the young far more than it does the old, if for no other reason than that they have to live with the consequences for longer.
When I was younger I was too preoccupied with living to find time for serious political engagement. Married at 23, a parent at 24, a home owner at 27, and my own boss at 31 – add in life’s other distractions, and even someone as interested in politics as I was did nothing about joining a party until I was 36.
In our Labour Group on Southend-on-Sea’s Borough Council I am the fourth oldest of six. I think ours is a (comparatively) young group with just the one retiree. In about six months or so I would imagine that we would begin selecting for the 2014 elections, and if things go our way we should see the age profile of the Group shift downwards. As it is, our youngest councillor is the Group Leader.
Does age improve you as a politician? Age sometimes brings wisdom. Age can also bring gravitas. It certainly brings experience. However, age can make one less acceptable of change, and certainly energy levels diminish. What is best, I think, is a broad age range in our elected representatives. and whilst we encourage the young let’s not neglect those who have accumulated a few years.