Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Grey List is as Important as the 'A' List

In January I wrote an ARTICLE for ConservativeHome on the desirability of the Party selecting more older candidates. Today, the Sunday Telegraph carries an article speculating that most of the older MPs on the Conservative benches are not going to stand down at the next election. This does not surprise me. If there is a likelihood of a Conservative government I do not expect there to many safe seats becoming free at at all. Indeed, just as it is desireable for a Party to have a scattering of MPs in their twenties, it is equally as important for the upper age groups to be represented too. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that there are two few septagenarians or even octaganerians in Parliament. if the Conservative Party's aim is to make its Parliamentary party 'reflect modern Britain as it is today', we should be recruiting many more candidates in their fifties and sixties. Hattip to ConservativeHome for the graphic

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

But Iain, did you not know that representing modern Britain actually means having more people that are less like average Joe!

david kendrick said...

I'm pleased to disagree for a change. With an 'A' list trying to get away from middle-aged, middle-class white males, the tories can't afford any geriatrics.

They have few enough able 'young legs' to do the running as it is.

The civil service is there to stop 'wheels being re-invented'.

Loco said...

I could be wrong, but squinting at the caption for the picture, it looks like the Telegraph has mistaken Nicholas Winterton for his wife...

Johnny Norfolk said...

We dont want any age discrimination do we. I think the A lists break the law as there are not enough older candidates.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

No its not because I will be working for you that I am agreeing - but you are right. If the party want to be more representative then it isn't just about what sex or race or indeed what sexuality you are. At a time when employers are recognising the benefits an older workforce brings it would seem a little perverse if our party decided to discard with some of our more older members.

I'd like to see the party looking at other areas that I feel we haven't always been good at representing. Where are all the candidates with experience in the public sector? Where are all the candidate who have fought the fight in the North? Some good work has been done - but there is still more to do.

Lady Finchley said...

How old are you David Kendrick? You sound like a callow youth to me, dismissing older MPs as geriatrics. So just what should we do with them and indeed other older people - gas them?

Happily the Age Discrimination Law is just coming into effect and I am sorry to say that Conservatives never saw fit to support it. From what I see of working with so many 'bright young things' in the Party, many of them are clueless, others barely literate and mostly all with a breathtaking arrogance not matched by their abilities. I for one will be delighted if the 'geriatric' MPs resort to the law, should they be pushed out.

The Conservative Party is supposed to be a broad church which should include those of us over 40 who have the temerity to live and breathe.

Mark Williams said...

When did any of these geriatrics last contribute to anything at Westmintser? Whilst individually they may have held seats that could be won by a donkey with a blue rosette, collectively they are three time losers who haven't won anything since the early nineties. In any other organisation, a wholsesale clearout would be long overdue.

Life is a paradox said...

Politicians get into politics to change the world. They stay in politics to change their own world to one with a higher status and reward.

This is called politically growing up. A very few amount of older politicians, like for example Tony Benn, do not end up doing this.

Hard reality is that young people and women have a better ability to do as they are told to get what they want. Middle aged and older men have enough confidence status and cash not to do as they are told. So are far more likely to throw their rattles out of their prams.

Unless the whipps office has the "goods" that is. But as being a compleatly corrupt lier and/or openly gay or just a randy hetro spouse is now socially acceptable, the power of the whipps office could be challenged.

The A list is a sign of the times we now live in, and it is not in all ways a bad one. But it is still one more nail in the coffin of our liberal democracy.

We just now need the state financing of political parties, and it will finally be ready for the short drive to the church yard.

verity said...

This notion that somehow Parliament should "represent the make up of Britain" instead of representing its constituents in the debating chamber is straight from the sociology department.

As long as my MP were in broad accord with my own views and spoke up for me and his other constituents in Parliament, I would be utterly indifferent whether this individual were a man or a woman, Christian, Jew, atheist, Hindu, Sikh, white, black, oriental ... Can he/she represent me? (And did they fight their way into Parliament of their own will and volution?) That's all I care about. My only caveat is, I would be wary of someone too young. You make some daft decisions when you're in your early 20s.

RORY THE TORY said...

The A List is designed to be DIVERSE and not in COMPLICIT AGREEMENT with the normality of the electorate. It is timely to be selecting some 40% of the population who are olde fogies.

Anonymous said...

There may be an argument for having some experienced heads around-particularly as the Etonian youth wing are now running the shop and will doubtless play big in the Midlands,North and Scotland.
Isn't it wonderful what five years in Parliament can do?

Fruning Graplecard said...

"geriatrics"??? try replacing that wordwith Jews, niggers, lesbians and gays.

How dare you use such abusive ageist language.

Iain is right. We must represent all elements of society. The population is ageing. Whereas I agree that dead wood should be sliced, using abusive language is not on, and I am not known in these parts for being politically correct.

Not only that, we should not allow anyone under 25 to vote. They are all stupid and on drugs anyway.

verity said...

Hey! We need twins! The twin vote is badly under-represented!

david kendrick said...

I'm 57, lady finchley. There are lots of areas where it helps to be old---you've seen it before. And that applies in some areas you might not have thought about(Eg surgeons, aircraft pilots and engineering fitters). In all cases, experience is more important than speed of reaction.


But in politics, there is a lot of slog, travel and unsocial hours. Its a young man's (I know, I know) game, as you need so much energy to even achieve a little. Geriatrics have experience---politics requires energy. Horses for courses.

Greg said...

MPs are not chosen by 'the people' - they are chosen by their local constituency parties: thirty-five men in grubby raincoats or thirty-five women in silly hats. The further 'selection' process is equally a nonsense: there are only 630 MPs and a party with just over 300 MPs forms a government and of these 300, 100 are too old and too silly to be ministers and 100 too young and too callow. Therefore there are about 100 MPs to fill 100 government posts. Effectively no choice at all."

Anonymous said...

David Kendrick

Winston Churchill was an MP in his 80s, Reagan was president in his 70s, Jean Marie Le Pen is 80 and will be challenging for the French Presidency, Donald Rumsfeld is in his 70s and is always flitting around the world. David Paisley is 79-80ish and leads one of the main NI parties, The Queen is 80.

The real issue is we have far to many mps that are your age or there abouts, babyboomers, all in their 50s. All with the same narrow PC liberal view of the world.

Scrap some of them for 80 and 30 yr olds.

Humph
http://www.ghostofhumphrey.blogspot.com

Vienna Woods said...

david kendrick wrote,

I'm 57, lady finchley. There are lots of areas where it helps to be old---you've seen it before. And that applies in some areas you might not have thought about(Eg surgeons, aircraft pilots and engineering fitters). In all cases, experience is more important than speed of reaction.

I agree, just look at John Prescot for example!

On second thoughts don't, Viagra was responsible for that.

Peter Hitchens said...

Iain as you are on the "A", grey and Gay list you are a guaranteed shoe in.

Lady Finchley said...

Speak for yourself Kendrick. At 53, I can slog with the best of them and so can the (gasp!)over 50's MPs I know. You may be in your dotage and slowing down but we're not. How dare you make such a sweeping assumption that we can't cope because you can't.

As far not knowing what these 'geriatrics' contribute to Westminster, Mark, perhaps you might like to consider that not all MPs care to be shining lights and that many are there to serve their constituents - shock,horror, probe! There are also the unsung jobs which Parliament can't do without, such as committee work.

What I do think is that if an MP becomes jaded (and that can happen at any age)they should consider another occupation. However, growing older doesn't necessarily equal becoming jaded.

No doubt, Mark, you consider yourself one of the upcoming bright young things. Shall I let you in on a secret - so many of the so called bright young things who do research for all of the Parties are jumped up little snotnoses with joke degrees and whose 'youthful energy' is disipated by constant partying. They are too hung over to get their work done during the day so that notch up brownie points by staying in the office late and then start the socialising all over again. While there are many diligent, hardworking ones there are just as many that I couldn't trust to pick up my dry-cleaning, let alone be an MP.

It seems that ageism is the last permitable prejudice. Shame on you both.

The Dowager Marchioness of Mulcaster-Minor said...

"there are two few septagenarians or even octaganerians in Parliament."

Whiuch two? Baroness Thatcher and Norman Tebbit?

Peter Hitchens said...

Fruning Graplecard said...
They are all stupid and on drugs anyway.
Makes you wonder why Dave is courting them doesn't it?
The young *pukes* have no interest in politics and do not vote, If this utter cad Cameron really does want the keys to number 10 he should be chasing the bitter twisted, seen it all, hang em , flog em and burn them at the stake market, a growing proportion of the population, not yooves and ethnics, and no gay man will vote for somebody that fat.

Anonymous said...

Well said Iain and congratulations for once again for stating the obvious against a perilously pc background in the party. I think the average age in the country at the last election was 40 and it's rising all the time. The obsession with youth is understandable (I wish I was 21) but misplaced and insulting. My father worked until he was 65 in a very demanding area (more so I would suggest than being a Tory MP) and I reckon could have continued to do so for another ten if required. And my father in law worked until 75 until retiring.

Anonymous said...

I think we've already got enough M.P.'s with "experience in the public sector". Actually, about 300 too many.

I don't expect my M.P. to have young legs. What on earth for?

A older M.P. is more likely to be independent. A younger M.P. 'on the make' is more likely to be compliant. This explains the drive for younger candidates.

We are being told that age should be irrelevant in the workplace. In politics it's probably an advantage to be older. I say 'so what if the snot-noses can't get a seat?' If they're that good they can be succesfull in another career and become an M.P. in 20 years.

wasp said...

Yes but Iain there is no scattering of MP's in their twenties. Your representative formula leaves out about 1/3 of the population of the country before you reach the youngest Tory MP.

verity said...

Well, Lady Finchley's certainly coming into her own. You go, girl!

Peter Hitchens has a good point about the avoirdupois. Gay men want to be represented who someone who looks good. And, preferably, is witty. We have never heard Dave say one funny - never mind spontaneously witty - thing since he started gurning for the cameras 10 months ago.

But Peter, who also said Iain's on the A, grey and gay list - I think Iain's hair is a lovely colour! And he's only 44, for heaven's sake!

Rick said...

This notion that somehow Parliament should "represent the make up of Britain" instead of representing its constituents in the debating chamber is straight from the sociology department.


The Volkskammer of the German Democratic Republic did just that...........

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkskammer

The Volkskammer also included representatives from the mass organisations like the Free German Youth (Freie Deutsche Jugend or FDJ), or the Free German Trade Union Federation. In an attempt to include women in the political life in East Germany, there was even a Democratic Women's Federation of Germany with seats in the Volkskammer.

david kendrick said...

Madam finchley, have another look at the photos. You may think that those people are going to make an important contribution in the next parliament, and it is illogical to even consider replacing them.

But it is not half-witted to take the opposite view.

Lagwolf said...

Bill Cash MP deserves a lot more respect that he gets especially for all the abuse he took during Maastrict. Its turns out that he was pretty much spot on about the EU and its Constitution.

CityUnslicker said...

yes, but will there be enough sex scandals with the over-60's over represented.

Otherwise Boris is going to have a lot more on his shoulders, so to speak....

Vienna Woods said...

I'm extremely happy that Nicholas and Ann Winterton are sitting tight. Both are extremely highly thought of at constituency level and have done a fine job for the Tories over many years. I remember Ann being first elected when I was a member of Congleton District Council during the 80's. Nicholas has also done a brilliant job supporting exporting industries.

I also hit retirement age in a couple of months, but I aint going nowhere. Don't trust these kids who all want to be managers before they can walk, hopping from company to company every few months before someone discovers what they've been up to! The slimy little creeps think they know it all after a few weeks training. Leave 'em in charge for more than a day and you can say goodbye to your business!

Lady Finchley said...

So, Mr. Kendrick, what is their sin beside being older?

Both the Wintertons have extremely healthy majorities, so your point is?

As I said before, just because your senility is setting in, don't tar the rest of us with the same brush. Half witted, indeed!

Shotgun said...

I agree the grey list isjust as important, because they bring experience with them.

The A list if left to be the only ones would be New labour mark 2...at least the grey list means we get people who work for the party, instead of people who work the party to their own advantage.

Mark Edwards said...

It is vital that we have a strong mix of representatives, old, young, pot plants, doctors, nurses a few less barristers (but still a few of those)etc. However those candidates have to be relevant to those they want to represent therefore male or female young or old they need to be able to communicate and understand the issues of that area. age is irrelevant.

Foot note: it was spot the A list at Bournmouth but you did not have to look far just use your ears . "I am on the a list" was ringing at every turn and as a humble b lister and proud it was getting more than a little irritating. Not that I am bitter!!

Mark Edwards said...

It is vital that we have a strong mix of representatives, old, young, pot plants, doctors, nurses a few less barristers (but still a few of those)etc. However those candidates have to be relevant to those they want to represent therefore male or female young or old they need to be able to communicate and understand the issues of that area. age is irrelevant.

Foot note: it was spot the A list at Bournmouth but you did not have to look far just use your ears . "I am on the a list" was ringing at every turn and as a humble b lister and proud it was getting more than a little irritating. Not that I am bitter!!

david kendrick said...

Finchley, the key is not what these people have done, but what they're going to do. In a senior job, most people have made most of their big contributions during their first few years. Indeed, some schools have the (sensible) rule that the head cannot serve for more than 10 years.

There will always be enough geriatrics in Westminster. Of course it is accepted that some old people can still be very effective performers.

Against that, 'Old so-and-so has done a good job in the past. If he wants to serve another term, let him', just feels wrong. If you'd pick him now against all the other candidates, fine. Otherwise, let him go and do something different, with his spare energy and wide experience.

Some people periodically have to re-apply for their own jobs. Why not MPs?

jimthechimp said...

The blond list is pretty important too. I would suggest that Michael Fabricant comes into this list but he also qualifies for a sort of albino-ish list too. And what about representation of the gingers? How can the Tory party call itself diverse? I can't think of one srand of auburn. So maybe some work needed there.

And since Aitken left where are the black rinses that put a raven's wing to shame?

Geoffrey Brooking said...

Very nice article on Conservative Home Iain that raises alot of questions.

I think that MP's should be made to stand down at the General Election after they reach the age of 68.

I grew up in Lincolnshire and in my old constituency of East Lindsey (now split to which half is now part of Louth and Horncastle) Sir Peter Tapsell has been the MP as long as I can remember.

He does a superb job but as has been proved with Mark Simmonds in Boston and Skegness and candidate Karl McCartney in Lincoln - there is lots of other talented people more than good enough to do the job out there.

Lady Finchley said...

Sorry, Kendrick - you have got it wrong.

MPs do have to reapply for their jobs - at every Election. If there is a problem then it is up to their Association to re-select.

To assume that one has done their best work in their early years is wrong, wrong, wrong.

You say you are 57 - worn out already? Doesn't say much for your staying power. My sympathies to the wife. I hope you have a nice big pension plan. Some of us don't.

As for you Geoffrey, your ageist remarks are disgusting - your little suggestion would have cut Churchill off - nice going.

Geoffrey Brooking said...

Lady Finchley.

That is what the Modern and Compassionate Conservative Party should be all about.

Modern - fresh and new!

Compassionate - Giving everyone the chance to succeed!

Lady Finchley said...

Your arrogance is breathtaking - who gave you the right to determine who is 'past it' and who is not?

Compassionate - what is so compassionate about your disgusting ageist attitude?

Modern? So should we gas everybody over 50 because clearly they have no value as far as you are concerned.

I'd really like to see how far you would get if you spewed this crap about another race, religion or minority group.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

I smell blue rinse.