The youth are no longer revolting.

Back in the day, youth were always revolting. Generically-termed "students", they would take to the streets on most pretexts, waving placards and railing against the establishment.

In Britain, it was workers' rights; gay rights; racial issues; cuts to student funding; and of course the war in Vietnam (even though Britain wasn't there). I even carried a banner denigrating a rising education minister called Margaret Thatcher who had stopped free school milk.

That was the 1960s and 70s and a bit of direct action was almost a rite of passage from youth to adulthood and the burdens of a mortgage, a family and a career.

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You don't see it much nowadays. What has happened to young people? Are they too absorbed in their world of PlayStations, Facebook, texting and Game of Thrones DVDs?

Is capitalism's ultimate triumph not over communism, but over dissent?

These thoughts came to mind when I watched the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement protest shuffle up Victoria Avenue toward its Majestic Square rallying point last Saturday.

No offence, but there were some grizzled campaigners out there, and if you took out the kids dragged along by parents and grandparents, the average age would have been well north of 50.

Perhaps they reflect that earlier era of youthful activism; perhaps having plenty of life experience under their belts has made them cynical about trade deals.

Either way, they deserve more than to be dismissed - almost with contempt - by the Government. They were part of a sizeable - and probably aged - nationwide protest that has some valid concerns about the TPPA.

Decent New Zealand people merit a courteous and considered response from the nation's leaders.

There is a whiff of elitist "we know what's best for you" about the way the politicians have dealt with these concerns.

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Of course, politicians don't know best - they just have opinions like everyone else.

As Neil Tennant said: "You don't have to be in Who's Who to know what's what."