The quick answer is no, age shouldn't be an issue to when it comes to fulfilling the role of party leader. Both Ronald Reagan and François Mitterrand were older and led both their parties and their countries successfully. Age is not the issue here.
So, why all the fuss? It wouldn't matter if it was just coming from the usual suspects in the media. Its not. The is a large section of the Liberal Democrat party that is posing the question "Is Ming the right leader for the party?"
I believe the answer is "No, he is not."
I have heard Ming speak. I am not one to deny his abilities and they are many: intelligent, experienced, articulate to name just three. But charismatic? Not enough I think. There is a fair amount of showmanship in being a good leader and Ming simply does not possess this.
Ming was a great deputy leader when Charles Kennedy was in charge. Ming lent gravitas and authority to Charles' laid-back style. Now that the spotlight is solely on Ming Campbell, his virtues are not enough to gain and hold the attention of the public.
In the next election, whenever that will be, I expect Ming to lead us and for the party to hold its own. But that should not be enough. The Liberal Democrats have a great deal to offer Britain and the British public and we need to be pressing forward in the polls. I simply do not see that occurring. The party will do okay: sorry, that is simply not good enough. I for one am more ambitious for the party.
After the next election I want to see Sir Menzies in a leading role of the Liberal Democrats. The party needs his wisdom and experience. So will the new leader.