Gray Power

Author

There may be 50 shades of grey, but in years to come, they will remember only one shade.  Gray power.

Full cycle.  Roll back the decades or even a few centuries, to the earlier days of democracy.  A political career was not a “school to retirement” undertaking.  Politicians were typically successful people in society who decided to contribute.  They took the skills they had learned in the real world into the political arena in order to give back to society.  Some were successful businessmen.  Some were doctors.  Some were even lawyers.  Politics was the crowning achievement.  Not in terms of power, but in terms of making their society a better place.

Were there people who misused that power?  Of course.

The attitude to government was different.  It was a guiding force.  A guiding force directed by people who had learned those lessons from different sections of society.  There was a degree of trust in the government.  A degree of “these people know what they are doing because they have been there, done that”.

Where are we today?  Government run by people who are more focused on power than on direction.  More focused on focus groups than on what is right.  More focused on scoring points than on leaving a legacy. I worry about a 22 year old leading the Australian Rugby team.  I am terrified of a political adviser in their 20’s writing national policy.

So what is likely to happen if people like me start to show enough concern.  Gray power.  At some point enough baby boomers are going to get pissed off.  Pissed off enough to do something.  Maybe start their own political party.  Think of the retirees they could recruit to fill the ranks.  Retired successful business people; retired judges; retired doctors and medical workers.  People who have been there, done that in multiple fields.  Not someone who studied the subject at uni, but people who featured in case studies or were professors at universities.

Who would you have more confidence in?  Is it the focus group driven career politician or the retired, successful person from outside politics?  If that happens it could take us full circle to the days when a politician typically had a successful career outside politics before starting their political life.  If Liberals and Labor think about this, it will scare the pants off them.

So what could trigger this revolution?  The baby boomers are good at revolution.  Whilst our parents slipped complacently into retirement, we are not likely to go quietly into the night.  Push too hard, and we will react.  Social issues are important to the baby boomers.  We fought for decades for a more equitable world.  With the gap between the top and bottom of society stretching, it will eventually snap.  That is when gray power will be unleashed.

You have been warned.