When you start work the figures of authority you encounter are from your parents’ generation. They are significant to you and when they die it brings you up short.

In the past few days we’ve lost Bernard Ingham, at the age of 90, and Betty Boothroyd, who was 93. Both were big players in Westminster when I began as a TV reporter there in the early 1980s. If they had never existed out political culture would be even worse than it is today.