Column: It seems like yesterday, but now it’s history

Our columnist Helen Bach talks this week about some recent memories which are already being taught as history...

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 1:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:53 pm
Tony Blair

Tony Blair is history. Perhaps I need to clarify that statement - Tony Blair’s time as prime minister is now being taught as part of the GCSE history syllabus.

Now, I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a scary thought.

How can something which seemingly happened so recently be taught in history lessons?!

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I remember it all too vividly - the Blairs sweeping into Downing Street accompanied by their ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ soundtrack. But yes, I realise it’s actually over 20 years ago, so even though I might think of it as yesterday, it really does qualify as history.

I felt a bit like that watching the BBC Icons programme on Leaders too: not the segments on Churchill and Roosevelt, obviously - I’m not that old - but certainly the pieces on Thatcher and Mandela. This was history that I actually lived through and could remember clearly.

Although I did wonder why the Brighton hotel bombing by the IRA and the Falklands War were omitted from the piece about Margaret Thatcher - surely key events?

I think it’s safe to say that Mrs Thatcher was a fairly divisive figure at the time, so I wasn’t entirely surprised that she didn’t win the public vote to go forward to the final for the Icon of the 20th century.

But having heard Maggie’s achievements listed out by Sir Trevor McDonald, it was hard not to admire her grit and determination to rise from her humble beginnings and smash the glass and class ceilings of the Palace of Westminster.

We shall probably not see the likes of her again - which I appreciate some may say is a good thing - but you have to wonder what she’d make of the state of the nation currently, and how the history books will view it all in 20 years’ time.