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Spring elections, spring chickens

Betsan Powys | 15:24 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

The former chairman of Plaid Cymru was not amused.

He looked down at his feet. No sandals. In fact, he insisted, he never wore sandals.

I could have sworn that John Dixon did wear sandals but no, absolutely not he argued. What he did have on was - um - well, a pair of comfortable shoes. I'm treading carefully here having got into trouble the last time I used those words on this blog. All I mean is that he was wearing the sort of sensible shoes my Dad wears - and that, it seems, was part of the trouble with him standing again for Plaid Cymru at next May's Assembly elections.

The problem is with the Dad reference, not the shoes.

He was, or so he says his party leader insisted, too old. Here's how John Dixon puts it himself on his blog (my Dad would never have one of those, by the way ...) in his response to former Plaid MP Adam Price's comments about the quality of Assembly Members.

"I cannot, of course, speak in detail about the selection processes of other parties, but there does seem to be something of a 'cult of youth' affecting all parties. There's an increasing tendency for people to go straight from university to politics, with no wider experience of the world outside, and I've never been convinced that's an entirely good thing. Some adapt well, but others can sometimes appear to be stuck in a rather more simplistic approach to politics, and, as Adam suggested, lack that broader background which comes from outside experience.

"That cult certainly affects Plaid Cymru. When Ieuan told me in June that he did not want me to be a candidate for next May's Assembly elections, my age was one of the issues he raised. It was his view that, with Ron Davies likely to be selected in Caerffili, the party simply couldn't afford to have any other old men standing as candidates where we might win, because that would send the wrong message about what sort of a party Plaid Cymru is".

You wonder where Mr Dixon was tempted to stick his sensible shoe on hearing the message. We already have one old guy standing. Can't really have another. I bet he was tempted to ask after the spring chicken who's standing for Plaid in Anglesey ...

So voters are getting older and it's older voters who tend to turn out on polling day but these days, parties don't feel they can have too many candidates who look like them and are like them?

I'll stop there. I have, after all, just stopped ticking the 25-44 age bracket in questionnaires.

Sore subjects probably make very, very bad blog entries.


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