If a week is a long time in politics, how long is 12 years? The last time I wrote this column was in September 1991. Tony Blair was just a front-bench spokesman on employment; Gordon Brown ditto on trade and industry. These I had at least seen and heard. But if anyone had said to me, ‘Geoff Hoon’, I would have had to answer, ‘Geoff Hoo?’ He was not even an MP, just a Derbyshire MEP with an improbably large moustache.
The biggest recent political excitement was the fall of Mrs Thatcher in 1990. (If people ask,