There was a three year old general at Waterloo and Idi Amin had a slobbering aunt

The Devil has a pop at 17-year-old Emily Benn, a prospective Parliamentary candidate in the next election, whenever that may be.

Quite aside from the question of whether we need another Benn in Parliament, or whether she’s got a little too enthusiastic with her political past, the Devil raise a good point about age but is, I feel, a tad disingenuous to her on that front.

“What the fuck? Look, at the age of 30, I am pretty sure that I know what I believe in, but I have undergone a substantial change in the last few years. I was hardly ignorant, but I have learned an awful lot about politics, economics and history which has expanded my understanding; I have picked up figures and the best places to find others. I have raged and I have been corrected; I have entered debate and been educated.

What makes this little shit think that, at 17, she knows fucking anything at all? I didn’t. What bunch of lunatics selected her? She hasn’t even been to university, or held down a proper job. She has no idea what tax is, or what living on your own is like. In short, she doesn’t have a fucking clue what life is like.”

On the politics front, there’s a decent point. My politics have changed a fair bit since I was in my late teens and there’s a lot you can pick up that’ll inform your world view. I’ve no doubt my politics will change in the next ten years, and the ten years after that as I’m sure most of the rest of us will find.

Actually, I’m always a bit concerned when I meet people whose politics haven’t changed one iota in ten years. Holding onto your core beliefs is admirable but not taking in the world around you probably means you’re not the best-adjusted individual.

It’s true Emily Benn lacks a bit of life experience. I’m sure there’d be a slight change, in addition to a look of horror, when her first Council Tax bill arrives.

However, I still don’t begrudge her the chance to run for Parliament. Football fans are fond of saying, if you’re old enough, you’re good enough. When Ashley Cole was a mere whip-snapper, and before turning into an irritating, whining little diving prat, he managed to keep Silviniho, then a Brazil international, out of the side. And why nobody could deny Gareth Bale lacks experience, he’s also a darn site better than a large proportion of left-backs in the UK.

By the same token, Emily Benn could probably do a better job than a fair few politicians already in the House. Charles Clarke and Geoff Hoon spring to mind, for fairly obvious reasons. Whether she actually merits a place in Parliament is another matter altogether but she’s just as much right as myself, an 80-year-old or another teenager to run.

There’s also the possibility that she might actually be able to engage younger voters into getting interested in politics. I’ll qualify that with a *might*, as I’m pretty skeptical on that front. But what I have noticed is all the politicians I’ve met who’re closer to my age, I find it easier to relate to. Ok, so that’s using a very flawed inductive reasoning method, and I’m sure I’ll meet one who barely even comes from this planet. But if it gets a few more teenagers at least interested in politics, that’s got to be a good thing. Well, possibly.


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October 2007
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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com

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