Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Eligible To The Office?

To guard against contamination, the written Constitution of the United States requires that the President be a natural born citizen. And to guard against contamination, the unwritten Constitution of the United Kingdom requires that the Prime Minister be privately schooled.

All three parties now adhere to this, as all three usually have done. Such schools have provided two of the last three Leaders of the Labour Party, three of the last five, four of the last eight, and six of the 12 since the War. Although it hardly matters, since the only Party Leader who going to be Prime Minister for anything like the foreseeable future is going to be the one who almost always has been in the past.

What, then, might I possibly have cost the man who has made me his midlife crisis? Mexican and Colombian drug cartels are good payers, so have I cost him a cut in income of at least a third to become the Member of Parliament for North West Durham? Wrong party. Leader of the Labour Party? Wrong school. Prime Minister? Wrong party and wrong school.

All right, then, Councillor for Lanchester? If he had hung around for that, then he would still be waiting. Both of his party's incumbents are retiring this year, one of them after 25 years, but he is still younger than both of its nominees to replace them.

He will almost certainly be younger than every candidate on the ballot paper, as he always has been whenever neither he nor I has stood. 23rd September 1977, my date of birth, remains the latest date of birth of anyone who has ever sought election above Parish level in Lanchester, and that is not expected to change this year.

As old as two Prime Ministers of your adult lifetime. Older than the Secretary of State for Local Government. Older than the Secretary of State for Health during a pandemic. Older than his Shadow. Older than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Older than his Shadow, too. Older than the Shadow Home Secretary. Older than the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Older than the candidate who came second in the Labour Leadership Election. Older than the MP for this seat. A full 10 years older than the last one.

But still far too young to be a Councillor for Lanchester. That is the most special and precious political office in the world. As surely as the natural born citizen clause, the level of "experience" required would disqualify Henry Kissinger.

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