Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday May 15 2006

I’ve been ruminating some more about that A-List of beautiful candidates, which I mentioned in my previous posting.

The usual assumption is that this A-List is supposed to appeal to Young People.  Young People, it is assumed, want Young People to represent them.  Maybe.  But if so, they may not be the only ones.

Consider in this connection those Old People adverts that they have on afternoon telly, and in Old People Products brochures.

In these Old People adverts, the people in them are mostly quite young.  Sometimes they are truly old, as when baths are being advertised for some reason.  But usually, and especially in the printed brochures, the models are quite young.  These models wear, use and decorate their houses with Old People stuff, but they are not themselves old.  They are young, but dress old, in cardigans, slippers and Old Person nighties.  They use elaborate Old Person exercise machines and back scratchers.  They have electronic devices for minding their pets in ways that they can no longer manage unaided.  They go on elaborate Old Person holidays.  They read books in leather covers.  They have shiny shelves for their CDs and DVDs, sometimes with Old Person doors on them.  When they use computers, they use them to play electronic Scrabble.  They are sometimes even quite young when they use stair lifts.

When they watch Top of the Pops, they don’t want to see people as old as they are bobbing about in the audience, or screeching away on the stage.  They want to see nice Young People like that nice Will Young and the even nicer Katie Melua.  Pop music is now advertised on Old People telly, with quotes from newspapers like the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times.

It’s the same with those Old People films that run in between the Old People adverts, the ones with lots of polite doctors in smart clothes, and with bunches of flowers everywhere.  There are generally Old People involved - being very gracious, generous, wise and well groomed - but they are not the stars, any more than Old People typically star in other movies.

The thing about Old People is that they don’t want to be reminded all the time that they are old.  This is why they demand Young People to enact their dreams.  They want to believe, if only for a while, that their values and tastes will survive them.  Old People liking their stuff and selling it back to them wouldn’t do that.

So maybe, I’m thinking, this is what that A-List is all about.  Or maybe: that wasn’t the idea, but that will be the outcome.  What the Conservatives are doing is lining up a bunch of Young People politicians who will spout Old People political opinions, in time for when Old People will pretty much be the electorate.

David Cameron is himself a classic Young Person of the sort who models cardies in brochures.

I’m off to have tea with my mum today, in Englefield Green Surrey, today being her ninety second birthday.  I wonder what she thinks about that A-List.  Very little, I suspect.