Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 08.30.02
Quebec City


I knew this would come back to haunt me

Have you ever said something and the moment the words left your lips you just knew you'd regret it?

That's exactly the way I felt back in 1968 when I uttered the fateful phrase "Never trust anybody over thirty."

In my defence, at the time, I was deeply under the influence of Abbie Hoffman's book "Revolution for the hell of it."

More importantly, as with most young people, I couldn't even imagine being over thirty myself.

How times have changed.

Today, not only am I heading into my own dotage, I've got several articles of clothing that are well past thirty and very few close friends under fifty.

I say this because, of late, we're hearing more and more about age as a political factor.

If you listen to the press, Jean Chretien, who is yet to turn seventy, might as well head to the nearest rest home and take up tiddly winks.

His nemesis, Paul Martin, is no better off.

Last month he was the man of the hour, the next liberal leader.

This month he's the man who can't afford to wait eighteen months for the PM to retire.

Apparently, by then Martin will have lost his hair, his teeth, his mind ,and his one shot at the leadership.

Joe Clark is leaving as well.

We forget Joe is only sixty-three. That's because when he first became prime minister way back in 1979, he acted like he was sixty-eight.

Word is that the Tories will also be going the youth route when they replace Clark.

Ideally, they'd like somebody who knows MTV isn't a British sports car, and who never knew, worked for, or sang with Brian Mulroney.

No word yet about the NDP leadership race.

But, considering the party's platform is still based on good, solid, 1930s social democratic theory they might buck the trend and opt for a little maturity.

The point is --- Abbie Hoffman and all the 60s radicals aside -- human beings don't necessarily hit their best-before-date at the age of eight.

There is life after fifty and sixty and seventy.

Winston Churchill ran a pretty good war effort and he didn't come to power until he was sixty-six.

Conrad Adenauer didn't become chancellor of Germany until he was seventy-three and still managed to bring Germany into Nato and establish the European Common Market.

He resigned as chancellor at the age of eighty-seven.

Even good old John A. Macdonald was still managing cabinet meetings and a quart a day of the highland's finest when he was seventy-six.

Nope. When it comes right down to it, who would you rather have in charge?

Wilfrid Laurier, who ran things until he was seventy, or Dan Quayle who could have been president at forty-one?