Never Start A Land War in Asia

Quickly, my reaction on Blair and Labour being voted back in: meh. I can’t lie and say that I am overjoyed with the result, but in all honestly it was the best that could be hoped for. Labour’s majority severely reigned in and the Lib Dem’s gaining some ground to make them into more of a viable party. I lied when I said that there would only be one more political post – there will be at least one more brief one when all the seats have been called.

Michael Howard says he will stand down as the leader of the Conservatives at some point in the near future, because he thinks that 67/68 (the age he will be at the next election) is too old to run the country. Let me get one thing clear before I go on: I have no desire ever to see a Conservative government with its current platform. Unless there is a drastic switch and the Conservatives become socialists or something (it could happen, apparently the Republicans and Democrats did it – Abraham Lincoln was a Republican), but I can’t see it somehow.

The thing is this: in an era when people are living longer and longer, and we have a rapidly aging population (see here for some figures), why is it so important to have a ‘youthful’ and ‘dynamic’ leader? The main reason (other than policies) that I didn’t vote for our Labour candidate was because he was the same age as my brother, and far too young at that to be in charge of even a portion of the country. There is a movement ongoing in this country to give people the vote at 16. I can see both sides: at 16 you can leave school, join the armed forces, claim benefit, work full time, pay National Insurance; but you can’t go into a war zone, get married without at least one parents consent, drive a car, or leave home without your parents consent. (See a list of what you can/can’t do at a given age in this country). You can’t see films such as Terminator, Alien, Heathers, The Usual Suspects, Equilibrium, Interview With a Vampire, or Blade 2. It is an odd age, I will give it that, but personally speaking, I wouldn’t wanted to have voted when I was 16. I was far too young. Moose on the other hand feels that voting at 16 (for her) wouldn’t have been a bad thing. If you can’t sit on a jury to decide the fate of fellow beings until the age of 18, why should you be able to decide the fate of your country (albeit at a remove) by voting in an election? As I said, I’m not sure either way. At that age it is a very individual thing: one person would be seen as an adult at 18, others as exceedingly immature.

Which brings me, in a roundabout way, back to the point in hand. How old should a Prime Minister be? Tony Blair was mid-Forties when he took charge, and considered rather youthful for all that. He is now looking a bit rough around the edges, prompting calls for a new leader, but I think that is more to do with 8 years on the job is enough for anyone. Gordon Brown is 54, but (at the moment) seems more capable than the 52 year old Tony Blair. In the States it is more or less accepted that a President is going to be in his early to mid-60’s by the time he gets the job, having put in the time in the senate and so on. You can consider Clinton as the exception, according to the tame resident American Historian. Churchill was 77 when he was Prime Minister for the final time and FDR was 63 when he died (and he was fighting crippling health problems). I don’t really have a conclusion to this, though it is marginally odd that you can still run the country when you are passed the age for mandatory retirement, it just came to my mind as something to be thought about/discussed. So, talk amongst yourselves.

Other bits and pieces:

  1. Apparently, Zimbabwe has too many elephants. Times news story.
  2. Any archaeologists/anthropologists out there might appreciate this. Renowned anthropologist, Lewis Binford barking like a dog/wolf/hyena.
  3. Bryan Singer, he at the helm of the new Superman, has done some short video-blogs for the fan-site He comes across as a bit of an arsehole in a few of them though. For true surealism, watch This One. Very very odd.