"It’s ridiculous that politics in this country – and it’s almost unique to this country – writes people off at the age of 50. In Germany and America, most people go into politics once they’ve achieved something in their lives. But why would anyone over 50 go into politics in this country…?"
Iain is absolutely right in this. People are living longer, and keeping their minds clear, and yet are dismissed as active politicians when they reach 60. Contrast this with the US, where Arlen Specter (Senator, Pennsylvania), age 79, has just shifted the balance of power in the US Senate, and intends to run for a six year position in 2010.
To me, David Steel appears a much more balanced and experience politician than Nick Clegg; ditto Charles Clarke compared to, say, George Osborne; and (even though I find his politics too right-wing) Frank Field compared to, say, Ed Miliband.
I'm 48, so I suppose I am on the cusp. Apart from having AIDS, I could live another 40 years. Am I useless from now on?