Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Too old

The leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Menzies Campbell, has resigned. And although it's all over the UK news, American readers will be forgiven for not knowing or caring. The political equivalent in the US would be Dennis Kucinich dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination. It would be Who, Who Cares, and Just how do you pronounce that anyway? (As far as I can make out Menzies is pronounced Ming - like the Dynasty).

But what is interesting about the whole thing is how this came to be. For a long time, almsot since he took over the party leadership 18 months ago, critics inside his own party and the chatterati have been saying he's too old to lead the party and would be too old to fight a general election. It's true that the guy looks about 80, but he's actually only 66. And while 66 is pretty old, really, it's not exactly ancient - and there are many, many successful politicians that age and older.

Now my personal opinion is that the guy was just lame. It wasn't that he was too old, he was just wrong. Maybe his slightly quirky, fuddy-duddy manner is a winner inside the Lib Dems, but to everyone else, he just seems dull as a cardboard sandwich.

So why is everyone ducking the issue of his incompetence and lack of charisma and blaming it on age? Are baby boomers trying to push out the last remnant of the pre-1945 generation? Do folks think that somebody's too old is somehow nicer than saying they just can't cut it? Maybe Menzies Campbell is too old to be fooling himself about his abilities.


Anonymous said...

I saw him on BBC World News last night. I didn't think he looked that old, and believe me 66 is young (ha). British politics is just a Mystery. VolMom

Chris in Oxford said...

I was hoping that you would explain why his name is pronounced Ming. I heard on the News Quiz a comparison between him and Grandpa Simpson which was pretty damn funny.

I thing comparing him to Kucinich is pushing it a bit. It would be better to compare him to the Libertarian or Constitution Party presidential candidate - or Ralph Nader!