The voice of inexperience

JaydenSeeing this Photoshopped version of my great-grandson Jayden reminded me about a university lecturer talking on National Radio just before the 2008 election. She said that some of her students were discussing the forthcoming poll and one said:

“Wouldn’t it be weird if we had a man as Prime Minister?”

Think about that. A newly qualified voter in 2008 would have been 7 years old when last we had a male PM in New Zealand and 2 years old at the last First-Past-the-Post election. It puts in perspective the life experience gap between me and a quarter of a million voters.

What do they teach these people?

A poll of sixty 18-24 year-olds by the Dominion Post at that time was more disturbing:

  • They all identified the Tsarina, not surprising in that she’d opened every kindergarten and school fair in the country for 9 years – as long as it was televised.
  • Almost half couldn’t identify John Key.
  • A whole 2 of the 60 picked out Greens’ co-leader Dr Russell Norman.No loss. Russell who?
  • Just 7 of these 60 Wellingtonians could identify long-time Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs.
  • Most worrying. A third year political studies student thought Maori Party co-leader Dr Peter Sharples was a Labour MP.

These people can decide elections. It’s a worry. Little wonder a vanquished schoolteacher on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” was ignorant of David Lange’s “uranium on the breath” quote. We’d be lucky if anyone under 30 knew who he was. The future for newspapers, broadcast news and current affairs programming is looking uncertain. 😦

With Winston Peters lurking in the political Mirkwood waiting to bribe the students this all takes on a worrying significance.