I was walking through our local park the other day – I say park, but it’s basically a roughish piece of grass surrounded by nameless plants and bushes that are kept under control by the Old Library Park Collective.
You may be wondering what a Park Collective is. It’s a loose group of individuals who are trying to keep the park free of drugs and prostitutes. Oh, and litter. I am very much in favour of them. The council should do it, but they’re far too busy.
Anyway, I was walking in the litter-free park, and there were a couple canoodling on the grass. They looked at me, and I could see their minds working. “Look at that old guy,” they were thinking. “I bet he’s disapproving of us canoodling on the grass. He’ll never have done anything like this. He thinks we should be working.”
Actually, I was thinking it was rather nice to see a couple canoodling on the grass, because there was a time when I did that a lot, and I seem to remember that it’s very pleasant. I would do it now, but people would laugh, and I might not be able to get up.
On the whole, I like young people, not least because I used to be one. There seem to be an increasing number of young people, however, who think I never was young – who regard people of my age as a completely different species because we use words like “canoodling”.
In fact the main difference between young people and older people is that older people have been around longer. We have seen more mistakes made; we have seen where certain paths always lead. That’s why the surge in more younger people voting is not necessarily reassuring.
I have a lot of friends who despise Mrs Thatcher. They were not around (or not old enough) in the 1970s, and so do not know why Mrs Thatcher was voted into power, and why many of us were relieved when she was (though not necessarily delighted that she stayed in power so long). I have a lot of friends who hated Cameron and Osborne, but then suddenly decided Cameron and Osborne were right about the EU. Odd, to say the least.
It’s hard to read people’s minds, and as a result, many of us are wrong quite a lot of the time. Especially politicians. The trick is to make sure that those who could do the most damage never get into power. Unfortunately that trick is well-nigh impossible to pull off, because it’s hard to tell exactly who they are. Especially if you’ve never seen anyone like them before.