Fifty years ago, most MPs sitting in the House of Commons had participated in one form or another in the Second World War. There was a natural bond between them that for much of the time overcame class divisions. The NHS, introduced by the Labour Party, had come of age under the Conservatives and was on its way to becoming an inviolate national treasure. Much the same was true of social housing, or “public” housing as it was known. Council estates dominated the rental market. There was an expectation that one of the duties of the government – any government – was to house the people. Secondary education was evolving. The comprehensive revolution was underway, but most towns and districts still had grammar schools, providing a vital step up for the children of the poor who, by way of examination, had shown themselves bright and hard-working.

There were clashes, of course, on levels of taxation, pension provision, public sector pay and the unevenness of the education system.