Plausibly mature?

Following my celebration of the passing of the Plausible Young Men, a brief note on the age of Theresa May‘s government appointees.

Across the cabinet as a whole, the average age – as compared to Cameron’s last cabinet – has gone up by just under two years, from 50.5 to 52.4.

Among the holders of the four great offices of state, the two oldest have survived from the previous regime: May herself and Philip Hammond. But the 49-year-old David Cameron and the 45-year-old George Osborne have left the front bench altogether, replaced by Boris Johnson and Amber Rudd, both of whom are 52.

And that means that the average age of the top four has increased by two-and-a-half years, from 53.25 to 55.75. It may not seem much, but it’s a significant shift upwards. (At least it is for me: it means that the people in charge of the government are now – on average – older than I am.)

One caveat, though. Both Cameron and Osborne were elected to Parliament in 2001, so had fifteen years apiece as MPs. Johnson was elected at the same time, but he then took eight years out from Westminster to be Mayor of London. And Rudd was not elected until 2010. Which means that the people filling the four biggest jobs now have, on average, 13 years in the Commons as opposed to the 17 years that the office-holders had up until this week. That’s a total of 16 years parliamentary experience lost between them.

It would be wrong, therefore, to see this as a generational jump upwards, but there is something happening. The departure of Cameron, Osborne and Michael Gove, the promotion of May and Hammond, the arrival of Andrea Leadsom, Liam Fox and, above all, David Davis – there is definitely a step being taken backwards from the days of the Plausible Young Men.

And on a final note of celebration: what a pleasure it is to have a prime minister who doesn’t pretend to support a football club.

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