Some of it might have been that I got burgled for the first time and that changed my attitude to all that tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime rhetoric that I'd hated as glib and meaningless.
Whereas the millions of poor people burgled during the 1980s and early 90s were punitive morons driven by a tabloid agenda. But you were right, Spin. In practice they were glib and meaningless. Tough on crime ? Let's just forget about that, shall we ? Tough on the causes ? Of course - crime is caused by an absence of Sure Start schemes !
Then I began to see the reasons that had stopped people voting Labour weren't as selfish as I'd thought. A strong economy means being able to afford your home, means not losing your job, means being able to give your family a pretty decent start in life.
Hey ! Dad ! You're not a square after all !
I guess I was a little ahead - having looked at the crime figures before 1997, and noted what had happened under Michael Howard, I really thought those glib and meaningless phrases meant something.
Let me tell you all about it.
In the early hours of May 2nd, 1997 a heavily pregnant wife comes downstairs, wondering why her husband, whom she had left before midnight watching the election coverage, is still up. In the kitchen, the chatter of simultaneous coverage from the television and Radio Four. On the table, a half-empty bottle, a glass and an overflowing ashtray. At the table, her husband, with the kind of fixed ear to ear grin that comes from the conjunction of great joy and Glenlivet, slurring "It's fantastic ! They're being slaughtered ! Labour might finish a hundred seats ahead! Portillo's just lost - to a gay guy ! And they're saying Norman Lamont might not hold Kingston ! Every time I think about going to bed they announce another recount in a safe Tory seat - it's an absolute massacre !".
What a night. After 1978, 83, 88 and perhaps worst of all 1992, victory at last. Although I didn't carry things as far as an old Militant comrade who tragically drank himself to death in celebration, I sat and drank on, moist-eyed and maudlin as Tony Blair made his emotional victory speech.
Cut to almost exactly three years later. It's 5.30 in the office and I'm packing up to go home. I browse the late news items - what's this ? "Blair slow-handclapped at W.I. conference". I click on the item and smile as I read - 'seen this ? Brilliant !'. On the drive home I am full of an angry happiness as I listen to the speech faltering, hear the audience unrest - see ? You can't bloody well fool everyone ! A thousand Diana Goulds are telling you what they think of you and your New Britain ! And over the following days I lapped up the press coverage with an unholy joy, becoming aware as I did so just how much I hated the Government for which I voted and for which I had longed. I first campaigned for Labour (the 1971 Bromsgrove by-election – Terry Davis won) when I was at school and have been voting Labour ever since.
In the words of Talking Heads 'How Did I Get Here ?'. Is it just old age and parenthood, a comfortable job and a nice (though tumbledown) house, inevitable ossification and selfishness ? I have pondered these questions at length but it was bit by bit, policy issue by policy issue, and through my and my friends' personal experience that I found myself inexorably moving to what before I would have certainly called 'the Right'.
Time permitting, I'll pick up on some of these during the next week. Education, transport, the economy, welfare, crime, immigration. That's a long enough charge- sheet. And this isn't a Tory manifesto. Many of the disasters Labour preside over began in the 1980s.