The Week Unwrapped: Age and youth in politics, Cambodia and opera

What’s the right age for a politician? Have Cambodians given up on democracy? And has everyone given up on opera?

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days. With Rebekah Evans, Mariana Vieira and Arion McNicoll.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

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Age in politics

This week, Keir Mather became the “baby of the House of Commons” as he was elected at the age of 25. The simultaneous elevation of Baroness Owen, who is just five years older, to the Lords has led to a debate about youth and experience in politics. In the US, meanwhile, politicians seem to be increasingly elderly: the next presidential election is likely to pit an 81-year-old Joe Biden against a 78-year-old Donald Trump. Does age matter, or should we prioritise other issues?

Cambodia’s election

This week an election described as the least competitive in Cambodia’s history returned Hun Sen to power with an overwhelming majority. But are voters as enthusiastic for him as that result would suggest. Amnesty International has accused the government of human rights abuses, and suggested that democracy is under threat in the country. A new generation seems ready to take over, but are they just offering more of the same.

The slow, melodramatic death of opera

Tickets for the Bayreuth opera festival in Germany were still available this week, in what The Times described as “a warning for the world of opera”. Audiences once had to join a years-long waiting list for the celebration of Wagner’s work. In Britain, too, the status and funding of opera has been questioned by politicians from both the left and the right. Are its days numbered, or has it already evolved into other formats?

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