WHAT would you call a man who stands resolutely against an issue, yet later appears on television gushingly supporting the very same cause?
I can think of a few. ‘Chancer’, for one. ‘Unprincipled’ too. ‘Politician’? Certainly.
I am referring to the Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, who recently took to the airwaves to bleat about how he ‘very much’ supports reducing the voting age at General Elections to 16. It is, he claims, a move that would ‘strengthen the bond between the people and the state’, a change of which he hopes his party will be at the ‘vanguard’.
His justification is that people are able to wed at 16, and so therefore should be able to vote. I must confess I do not entirely understand this argument. So what if you can get married at that age? Outside Mormons and gypsies nobody does, and there is no set age at which one enters ‘adulthood’ – presuming that is the metric by which we are judging being able to have the vote.
You can’t buy alcohol until you’re 18, at least in theory, but you can have a beer, wine or cider if you’re 16 while eating a ‘table meal’. Nor can you smoke, for that matter, until you’re 18 (it was 16 until a few years back). You can’t be deployed to the front line until 18 either. But you can drive when you’re 17. Clearly, it’s a bit of a mess.
None of this really matters though, and perhaps we should not give it much thought as it is clear that Mr Ellwood has not done so either. Despite being a vocal proponent of the measure, Mr Ellwood has a 100 per cent record of voting against measures to lower the voting age. https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11437/tobias_ellwood/bournemouth_east/divisions?policy=842 The most recent was, admittedly, in 2015, and as we know yesterday’s Leftie is today’s Conservative, explaining part of Mr Ellwood’s transformation. When one remembers that he was a big cheerleader for the Cameroonian cause, it all makes total sense.
The whole stunt is designed to ingratiate politicians with the yoof, pathetically courting their vote. It reminds me somewhat of Gordon Brown’s dire – or, rather, par-for-the-course, considering the man – attempt to brown-nose da kidz by saying how much he loved Arctic Monkeys in 2016. For those not in the know, the Arctic Monkeys are (or were? I begin to show my age) a popular beat combo.
I’m afraid I must disagree with the proposed policy. That 16-year-olds are generally idiots is a given, and is something that society took as such until about 45 minutes ago. Until that point, we were aware that the acne-covered were not yet ready for all the responsibilities of adulthood: how can one make a good judgement on government policy when mum still makes dinner every night and you’ve yet to master the hundreds of modes on the washing machine? This is not a slur against the young, merely an acknowledgement of the human condition at that tender stage of life.
However, in the present age we worship the cult of youth, where the young are the ones who really ‘get it’. Just look at Greta Thunberg, the modern reincarnation of a medieval child saint. Whereas in the good old days she would lead an ill-fated crusade to the Holy Land, proselytising en route full of saintly fervour, today she yachts across the ocean, powered by the vigorous wagging of her finger and the voluminous inert gas spouted from her mouth. Politicians and media wait for each pronouncement of this pint-sized prophet as if she were a modern Delphic oracle.
This cult of youth is also reflected in the graceless ageing that surrounds us constantly, with many clinging desperately to their youth despite the inexorable conquest of time. Pumping their faces full of chemicals to give them the visage of a Japanese puffer fish while wearing clothes suitable for someone a third their age, they cling to the impossible mirage of ‘youth’ while eschewing the dignity and class that accompanies ageing gracefully. Mutton dressed as lamb abounds.
That said, maybe revering the youth makes sense. The ‘adults’ have so clearly made a hash of things that they forfeited the right to demand the youth’s respect. In fact, it’s worse: the dominant strain of thought in controlling elements of society states that respect for one’s elders is to be cast aside in favour of endless dissent. ‘Question everything, believe nothing’ is the false philosophy pushed by too many in positions of power who would know better if they were not acting as battering rams for Marxist revolution. The unspoken postscript of such encouragements is of course: ‘but believe me and keep the pay cheques coming’.
Lacking perspective and being unexposed to the realities of the world – with the added disservice of receiving an education entirely unfit for purpose – the young rush headlong into issues armed only with boilerplate post-modern voodoo. Having been told their wisdom lies in their youth, they reject the possibility that the accumulated wisdom of ages is anything other than a repository of oppression, cutting themselves off from untold generations of knowledge and understanding of human affairs.
Naturally, this is all the stated goal of Leftist ‘educationalists’, who wholeheartedly embrace the Jesuit maxim of ‘Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man.’ See communist China and the USSR for other examples.
Being young in itself doesn’t prove anything. However, holders of youth tend towards naivety owing to a lack of life experience – am I really having to spell this out to sitting Members of Parliament? – and as a consequence their political views may not be geared towards the long term. Teenagers act rashly and on the spur of the moment, that’s the point of youth, but it doesn’t lend itself to questions of state. It’s this same recklessness that leads to the young being among the most likely to die in car accidents.
But all this talk – wisdom of ages, responsibility, respect – is foreign to the modern conservative politician and pundit alike. I may as well be speaking in ancient Hittite or Sumerian. Much better for them to ride just behind the crest of the Leftist wave, hoping not to be drowned in a deluge of their own making.
In contrast, I propose to raise the age considerably. I would suggest 30, but people may accuse me of raising it to my own age so I may still have the right to vote. So better 35, or even 40, thereby happily disenfranchising myself in the process.
By giving ourselves this breathing space, perhaps we could roll back some of the untold damage that countless years of relentless indoctrination have done to the youth of the nation: a youth who know infinitely more about George Floyd than Disraeli or Gladstone, and whose conception of British history is limited to The Bad British Empire and slavery, with some Holocaust and Henry VIII thrown in along the way.
Maybe even that wouldn’t help, though, as we’d still be stuck with the same chancer politicians who throw themselves at any policy that they mistakenly believe will give them the popularity they so disgustingly covet.
The only way we’ll cure that is by turfing the whole rotten lot out.