COMMENT

It's not Todd Barclay's fault he got shunted. He should never have been put in that position. He was too young to enter politics and his party forebears should've known better than to let little Toddy out of the cot to try and roll with the big kids. The nation grieves for Baby Todd.

I'm joking, of course. That's all a load of bollocks. But consider some of the 'Debarclay' response and you could be mistaken for thinking Todd Barclay's greatest mistake was being born in the 1990s.

Let's begin from within his own party, where since the story broke, Barclay has barely been mentioned by his colleagues without them reminding us of his tender age.

Upon Barclay's resignation, the Prime Minister described Barclay as making a difficult decision, "for a young man".

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Judith Collins described him as being a "very, very young man to be in a place like this".

Across the aisle, three months from the election, Labour's Andrew Little was handed the delicious kind of scandal that opposition leaders dream of, and yet responded initially with supreme condescension.

"Without being patronising about it," he said, "there are always questions of maturity when you're an MP at that sort of age."

Here's a heads up for Mr Little: "Without being patronising," is about the most patronising caveat you can ever apply.

In the most irritating commentary of the whole sorry saga, Raybon Kan's deliberately inflammatory (and yet I can't resist!) column, Note To Govt: Don't Hire Till They're Past Puberty made a weak puberty joke and suggested a law whereby politicians are forbidden from entering parliament before the age of 30.

Here's a better idea: you can't enter politics and pass any laws if, on the balance of life expectancy, you're not going to be around long enough to deal with the consequences.

Ever wondered why young people care more than old people about the projected impact of climate change?

Why young voters crave better public transport infrastructure? Ever wondered why the majority of young Brits want to remain in the EU?

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Simple.

Theirs is the generation that will actually experience the repercussions of today's policy.

Dover Samuels. Graham Capill. Donna Awatere Huata. Taito Phillip Field. Shane Jones. Chris Carter. Tuariki Delamere.

Weird, don't you think, how age and experience apparently didn't save those politicians from scandal?

Todd Barclay. We need young politicians, just as we need old politicians too. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Todd Barclay. We need young politicians, just as we need old politicians too. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Oh no, but Todd Barclay's young. That's why this happened.

As the Todd Barclay of TV, albeit (touch wood) without the scandal, I should remind the osteoporosis'd haters that youth is nothing to be wished away.

No one is suggesting we fill parliament with teenagers. But surely we want our elected officials to reflect the society they represent. We need young politicians, just as we need old politicians too. The glory of MMP is representative diversity.

The best political leaders are aware of their shortfalls and inexperience.

The best leaders seek advice, and the best leaders often delegate and defer.

No leader, regardless of age or life experience, gender, education, or creed, can ever have the answer to everything.

And any politician to win enough support either internally within a party, or in an electorate, is entitled to the same respect as his or her peers.

Age shouldn't be a reason to deny a politician responsibility, nor an excuse for when a politician stuffs up.

Todd Barclay didn't ruin his political career because he's young and inexperienced.

Todd Barclay ruined his career because he acted like he was arrogant and entitled. Please, spare the rest of his generation any more ageist crap.