He goes on:
This is not altogether true of America where Republicans are (somewhat) enthusiastically embracing John McCain in his hope to become President and where a 66-year-old Julie Christie has received a nomination for an Oscar. The old dad or granddad in American movies is always a respected figure seated in the corner clutching a glass of whiskey and making sometimes comic but also determinedly wise judgments on life. The foolish behaviour of the young is usually his material, along with informed speculation on the Super Bowl.
In Britain, it is a different story. One of the few figures who acted like a statesman was Sir Ming Campbell. A life at the Scottish Bar had trained him in the art of asking apparently simple questions which could pierce and deflate pomposity.
But Sir Ming had committed a serious crime; nothing to do with alcohol or dangerous drugs or rent boys, he had knowingly achieved the age of 66.
Yet I think Sir John is on to something. The idea of respect for experience or the idea that years bring wisdom is now alien to our way of thinking. You can try putting it down to the speed of technological change nowadays - Grandad can't tell you how to use a computer - but I am not convinced that such change is any faster than it was in the 19th century.