Head back thirty-six years to 1983 and you’ll find a number of ‘lasts’. The last year in which Britain ran a balance of payments surplus, the last year in which Margaret Thatcher’s government was defeated in a nationwide strike (that of the water-workers), the last time the world came close to nuclear war.
For me, it was a time of both firsts and lasts, marking both the first time I voted for the Conservatives and – I was quite sure – the last.
Then, the prompt to support the Tories was Labour’s policy of unilateral disarmament. Today, it is Brexit.
I have supported British withdrawal from the European Union all my adult life. The Conservatives are a pro-Brexit party, especially in the wake of Boris Johnson’s purge of Remainer MPs. All the other major national parties are anti-Brexit parties, without exception.
It is hard to know which is more dishonest, the Labour Party’s claim to be able to cut a better deal, which it then may or may not support in a second referendum, or the Liberal Democrats’ assertion that their plan simply to cancel the referendum result gives people a ‘democratic choice’.
I won’t even bother with the Greens or the Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties, save to point out the irony of an environmentalist party supporting the growth-crazed EU, and the sight of supposed freedom lovers begging to remain shackled to a supranational empire.
So, Boris it is, although it may make little difference in true(ish) blue West Sussex. Funnily enough, voting Conservative in 1983 may have helped safeguard Britain’s role as a nuclear weapons state, but at the cost of passing up on Labour’s plans to take the UK out of what was then the European Community.
My, how times have changed.