Oh dear, the first sign of aging, tis said, is when police start to look young. You know the sensation. You interact with an ordinary pc on the street and instead of being impressed by the grizzled veteran, you find yourself having to handhold a callow youth (of either gender) through a series of baffling procedures.
But when politicians start to do so, it is decidedly rum.
Though that was yesterday’s slightly disconcerting experience up at the latest Westminster eForum, focussing on ways and means to protect children online. It was a high-powered event, with a bevy (is that the right collective noun?) of parliamentarians in attendance. Lynne Featherstone, lately elevated to having responsibility for this sort of stuff at the Home Office. Helen Goodman, Caroline Dinenage.
And Claire Perry, member for Devizes and someone whose views on tightening up controls on the internet were of interest to me.
Oh dear. Had things gone differently a decade or so back, it is just possible that i would now be her parliamentary neighbour. But that’s a different story: I was invited to put my name forward for a particular (south-western) constituency, turned it down, and then listened in horror on election night as the result suggested i might have made it.
I’m glad, now, i didn’t. First, because i feel sorry, mostly, for MP’s hemmed in by parliamentary process and every day forced to live up to a role i would find quintessentially constricting. Too, while i suspect that parliament is now ready for a trans MP…it would still have difficulty with a transitioning one.
Far too many opportunities for the red-necked tendency on both back benches, to make stupid jokes about “Members”. Not that long back, either, since some Tory backbenchers were barracking speakers during debate on the Eqyuality Bill with disgraceful comment about “men in dresses”.
I digress. As always.
Ms Perry gave an interesting talk on internet controls. I then slightly floored her with a quite detailed question on the law. Naughty of me: its my specialist area…and not fair to expect an MP to opine in open forum on a matter they have had no prior warning of.
She ducked politely and charmingly…and we will talk again later.
Still, my principal beef remains how utterly unreasonably youthful she still looks. In the flesh as much as in her campaign pics. No photo retouching for her – unlike several of her fellow parliamentarians, both male and female.
Though probably not Vince Cable: the very idea of “retouching Vince” sounds faintly perverse.
I did check out her age on wikipedia last night and was…stunned. My lips remain sealed: check for yourselves if you are sufficiently curious.
Sadly, though, this is another milestone on the road to batty retirement for me. Now that MP’s are starting to look young, there is only one more station to pass on my descent into senility…and that will be the day when LORDS actually start to look youthful.
Can it be that far off?