There were four of us on the shortlist: three women in their twenties and me. We sat in a row while a Home Office cheerleader told us what a great life awaited one of us in the press office. The jolly-along lasted for perhaps ten minutes, and not once did the beaver pause in his smiling and giggling, or for a single heartbeat remove his gaze from the girlies in skirts to glance in my direction. I didn’t get the job.
Not that I’m bitter. It is entirely reasonable that nice Mr Blair should wish to fill his ministries with the young and personable, rather than middle-aged candidates for new-face transplants. But it is irksome that the government expects to be congratulated for its ‘Age Positive’ campaign, including the snappily titled Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment, while its understrappers continue to send out the same old message: if you’re over 50, forget it. ‘The job specifications we take on do not mention age, but it is very evident from the language used in the ads,