Some comment are being made on the UKIP Members Forum about the age of the NEC Candidates and the need for a “younger” NEC. The youngest candidate is 40 and the oldest 73 (although two of the lady candidates have not given their ages, preferring to say OAP and Retired) giving an average age of 57. So as a mere 50 year old there are 9 candidates younger than me, 1 the same age and 26 older than me.
Quite frankly the sort of ageist comments I as reading on the UKIP Members Forum make me ashamed to be a member! If the comments were based on race or sex then there would be uproar! Why is it acceptable to dismiss someone on the grounds of their Age but not race or sex!
I know a few 40 year olds who are ready for their pipe and slippers and some 80 year olds who could give people 30 years younger a run for their money! My father for example was born in 1932 so that obviously make him well past it. If anyone would care to look at my Facebook page on my “Ground Source Heat Pump Project” you could see photographs of him driving a bulldozer! Hardly ready for his box yet!
I just did a quick calculation on the average length of UKIP Membership and it comes out at just over 6 years. The shortest membership before standing for the NEC is less than 6 months and the four of the candidates have been UKIP Members over 15 years. I come in right on the average, just over 6 years. On this comparison there are 20 candidates who joined the party after me, 2 at the same time and 14 with longer service than me! So does that mean anything? Looking at age against length of membership shows no significant correlation. The candidate who joined less than 6 months ago is only 54 and there are candidates in their 40’s and 50’s who have been members more than 10 years.
Of course there is a definite need for new blood and fresh ideas, but the benefits of experience shouldn’t be ignored. I remember when I was Head Of Elections I was constantly bombarded with helpful suggestions from new members, all painfully keen and determined to get their country back. Balancing this energy and determination without letting them slam head first into a reality check was always difficult. The standard idea was usually to do with newspaper advertising! “Lets take out full page adds in all the National Newspapers! That will let people know we are here!” Why did they assume no-one in UKIP had ever thought of that? I used to say “Great Idea let’s do it. I know some very good designers and copy writers who could put some ideas together. The cost for a full page in The Times is about £25,000. Will you give me the cheque now or should I just get their advertising people to invoice you?”
The other “idea” was to get on the TV more! Totally brilliant, why hadn’t anyone thought of that before! It’s so simple. The reality there is that you get on the TV through years of hard work, networking, and building relationships. You don’t get on by ringing the producer of Question Time and shouting at them! Which was what some new members have actually done and which has set back years of small gains in a few minutes! All political parties, pressure groups, Z list Celebrities and people looking for publicity for their cause want to be on the TV! You have to make yourself attractive to them so that they come and ask you to be on their program, you can’t do that by calling them names and reporting them to their bosses for bias when they don’t agree with you!
Anyway, that’s off the point. Regardless of how long someone has been a member it is patronizing in the extreme to dismiss people on the basis of their age. It is just as well I’m banned from the Members Forum for the duration of the NEC Election because I would really be letting rip! People who can be so casually ageist make me sick. They are the sort of pathetic, small minded and closed minded, bigots that UKIP can do without. Judge people as people, not by some meaningless criteria like their date of birth!