Monday, April 25, 2011

Brash "very old"?

Seventy is not "very old". In fact, believing that says more about the outlook of the person who said it than the subject of the claim. The statement tends to fall into that collectivist-thinking basket of ideas I hate so much. It's ageist. Some people in their seventies may be very old - near death's door because of physical and mental ailments and deteriorating health. Others have good health, sound minds and decades of life experience under their belts. Above all they have a living memory of a New Zealand when values were different. Some better, some worse. But some worth reviving as universal. Like possesion of a work ethic.

And here's another thing. The population is ageing. For those who don't properly comprehend that term - possibly the owner of the ageist attitude - the proportion of people over 65 is growing in relation to those under. And they all have a vote. And life expectancy is growing. So a growing percentage of voters are less likely to judge a politician on their age - at least, having too much of it.

Brash has been upfront about what he wants. There is only room for one party that wants less government involvement in the economy so he has to try and use the ACT vehicle first. Anyone that has been around ACT for any length of time knows the high regard supporters hold him in. So if he just went ahead and formed his own party he will decimate ACT's vote anyway. In that context his strategy is fair to current ACT players.

National's lines on this are eminently silly, as described by Whaleoil whose political opinion is worth rather more than mine.

If Brash assumes ACT leadership and runs a campaign based on the 2025 Taskforce recommendations I am in the camp that believes he can get up to 10 percent of the vote.

Disclaimer: I am not an ACT member and learnt about the leadership bid through the media.


Manolo said...

One of the recurring themes of political life in NZ is the fixation with youth.

At 70, Dr Brash has a lifetime of experience to offer and should not be ruled out simply because of his age. More so, if he is in good health.

Lindsay, you may not be a member today, but the bloody Dom Post will always label you as "an ACT ex-candidate". :-)

Just my opinion said...

The left do a wretched job labelling people like Sir Roger as a "zombie" and make fun of his age. It's a sick obsession and we should be looking up to people like Brash and Douglas.

By saying that, not sure I like the way this is being organised. Not too classy at all.

Michael said...

My Dad is almost 82 and is completing his Doctorate. He lives by himself (a double widower) and happily rides to Uni on a bicycle.

If my dad can do that at 82, Don can be an effective MP at 71.

P.S. The word verification for this comment is "Red I Fib".

Jacobz said...

I'm young. I want experienced hands running economic policy. Not people who think they are a long lost Kardashian, always posing for photos & flying around to weddings and drag races while racking up billions of dollars of foreign debt that I will have to spend the rest of my working life paying off (if I am stupid enough to remain in NZ that is). Don Brash is smart. I don't care if he has grey hairs. Go Don, you rock!

nasska said...

A strange thing has happened. Forty years ago I would have considered anyone Don Brash's age to be past it.

Now I consider that he is in the prime of life.

Lindsay Mitchell said...

nasska, My second point exactly. How we view age has a large relevance factor, hence the larger the 'aged' voting block, the greater the potential for an older candidate.

Stephen Franks said...

Lindsay - your dedication to understanding and reporting on the 'welfare' destruction of young New Zealanders, and your courage in sticking to your guns, and the absence of any "young" person with similar importance, is the best illustration of the stupidity of the current media worship of youth. Age is trivial compared to courage, focus, wisdom, and most other virtues.

John Ansell said...

And what do the kids at ACT on Campus say about being led by a 70 year old?

35 comments, most ranging from positive to ecstatic:!/actoncampus/posts/220597237957289

My 91 year old dad has just published a book.

John Ansell said...

"I want you to know that I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience." Ronald Reagan

Playing the age card is a dopey tactic. After all, who would you turn to in a crisis: a play-way PM who's all spin and no spine, or a mature thinker who's been through the fire? Churchill was winning a world war at 70, Reagan was at the height of his powers, etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

My mother is 82 and I acknowledged her wish last Christmas and bought her a chainsaw for use on her land where she is self-sufficient in firewood! Age is a number not a statement of personal ability.
I regard Reagan as the most effective President since Gerald Ford and I recall Ronald was 80 odd while in office.

he tangata said...

Umm, you fullas do realise Reagan had Alzheimers in office, right?
Also, he raised taxes.
I'm pretty sure Reagan was pro property rights, something Don Brash has a sub-par record on.

Anonymous said...

Uh, he tangata

also Reagan won the cold war, ended the Carter malaise, and ushered in 20 years of unparalleled prosperity.

If Brash could do that, he'd have my vote, and think that Reagan did all that and still found time for an afternoon nap...

Hell, Brash has my vote anyway. A man with principles - one man one vote, self reliance, classical liberal economics, and a track record.

On a serious note, Reagan started to go downhill halfway through his second term in office. Look at the man's achievements. Plus, did his government continue to succeeed - of course it did, again, good management and a good VP, who went on to be President in his own right.

Anonymous said...

Brash is now the leader of the ACT party - and in seven short months will be Deputy PM and Minister of Finance.