I can hardly believe it was 21 years ago today that I celebrated the election of a Labour government after 18 years of Tory rule.
Thursday, 1 May, 1997 was a glorious day. The sun shone, everyone was smiling – except the Tories. It truly felt as if a new dawn had broken, had it not?
I won’t list the many achievements of Tony Blair and his New Labour government here. There are scores on Google. Here are just three to whet your appetite: devolution, the minimum wage and peace in Northern Ireland.
Fast forward to 1 May, 2018 and it feels as if that day, and the good years that followed, were nothing but a dream.
The Labour Party is eating itself, led by a crusty old leftie who has no real idea of what he would do as Prime Minister.
We have the worst Westminster government in living memory and Scotland is still suffering the after-effects of the divisive indyref. I can’t even bring myself to mention Brexit.
Wages have flatlined since 2008, making life tough for working families. Really tough. There is a New York hustler in the White House and climate change is all too real. But, and this is where my eternal optimism kicks in. I remember, all too vividly, the disappointment of Labour losing the 1992 general election to a hapless John Major.
At the time I thought we were condemned to a life time of Tory governments, of division and greed. I began to think an electoral pact with the Lib Dems was the only pragmatic way to secure a progressive future. Five years later Tony Blair won an overall majority of 179. Things can only get better.