Cityvisitor blog

The beginning of the end for ageism?

A few years ago, the idea of the three main political leaders being over the age of 60 would have seemed preposterous.

But with 74-year-old Sir Vince Cable currently being the only candidate in the running to take over from Tim Farron as leader of the Liberal Democrats, he would complete the oldest line-up of political leaders since the 1950s.

Current Prime Minister Theresa May is 60 and Jeremy Corbyn is 68.

In an era when everybody is obsessed with being young, and doing what they can to either appeal to the young or grab hold of their last vestiges of youth, it is refreshing to see some older politicians taking the reins of the big political parties.

Jeremy Corbyn is a perfect example of why being a pensioner doesn’t matter in terms of appealing to young people. He has surged in popularity largely because those who are just above the voting age absolutely love him.

He has passion and enthusiasm for his work – you cannot deny that – and that appears to be striking a chord with the younger generation.

It all points to the end of an era when people thought you had to be of a certain age to identify with people in their 20s and younger.

Tony Blair was the youngest prime minister since 1812 when he took office at the age of 43, and Conservative leader at the time William Hague was just 36. The Liberal Democrats leader Charles Kennedy was only 39.

Things have completely turned on their head now and that’s probably a good thing.

Young people have probably been patronised for too long. As with many issues, it is the content of the message that is being delivered, and the attitude of the person delivering that message, which has much more of an impact, rather than simply the age of the person saying it.

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