Are older MPs the answer?

March 9, 2010

I suppose in many ways it depends what the question is.

On Monday’s Jeremy Vine – the Radio 2 presenter asked whether MPs aged over 55 would be a good thing.

You can listen to the show (until March 15th) here – Jeremy_Vine_08_03_2010

My view is that, like with so many things, age itself doesn’t matter. However, age would appear to bring certain benefits that the electorate seems to be looking for – mainly more experience and less self-centredness.

We want politicians that will put us, their constituents, first. We should go before their party politics and definitely before themselves. We also want politicians that have had some life experience. Maybe they know what it is like to bring up a family when times are tough, or possibly they know what it is like to run a big organisation with many employees and market pressures. Both are important when it comes to helping to run the country. And both are more ‘real’ to us as voters than being the junior researcher for another MP before being selected to stand yourself for a constituency you’d never heard of before.

The fact is that most, but not all, of the independent candidates I’ve met and spoken to are … let’s be fair and say ‘experienced in life’. But age is not important – what’s important is whether they’ll do a good job and an honest heart, an understanding of what the voters actually want and some experience that will be useful in Westminster are all more important than how old they are.