POLITICS, they say, is history in the making. And I have been privileged to discover that journalists get to write the first draft.
We take our duties seriously, but with an occasional belly laugh. Even former EU president Jacques Delors managed to smile at one of our most famous headlines — the 1990 classic UP YOURS DELORS.
At least, I think he smiled. We were on Tony Blair’s plane at 29,000ft somewhere over Europe and he might have been fantasising about pushing me out.
The Sun is shackled to no political party. We choose to support those most prepared to act in our readers’ interests. At times over the past 50 years we have switched support for the two major parties — and clashed furiously with both.
We backed Labour in the 1970s until they surrendered to the union barons. In 1972, we backed the miners’ strike against a snooty Tory government.
Twelve years later, we denounced Marxist Arthur Scargill with our front page headline MINE FUHRER for trying to destroy the Thatcher government. When I joined the paper in 1978, trade union dinosaurs were running rampant.
In what pioneering Sun Editor Larry Lamb famously branded THE WINTER OF DISCONTENT, sullen strikers set out to sabotage nationalised industries.
Margaret Thatcher charged to power in 1979. As a member of the Westminster Lobby, it was my privilege to travel alongside her. We got lost in Kremlin corridors, ate sea slugs in Beijing and chatted with US presidents in the Oval Office.
It was her deep suspicion of the EU’s grandiose plan for ever-closer union that drove Mrs Thatcher and ultimately led to her destruction.
The Sun was the only paper in Fleet Street to reveal her midnight decision in 1990 to resign days later with MAGGIE GOES TO THE BRINK. Approaching the 1992 election, Labour under Neil Kinnock looked to be ahead of John Major.
Our election day splash captured him in a lightbulb, asking: WILL THE LAST PERSON TO LEAVE BRITAIN PLEASE TURN OUT THE LIGHTS. Major scored a shock victory.
In 1992, Britain was ejected from the PM’s beloved ERM currency mechanism, the precursor to the euro. It cost the Treasury billions. In 1997, New Labour swept to power under charismatic Tony Blair.
The Sun supported Blair through three election victories and the second Gulf War. But it is Europe, and its arrogant crusade for ever-closer union, that has kept Sun readers talking for the 40 years I have been on the paper.
When the euro was conceived in 1990, our journalists and a battalion of Page 3 girls boarded a former Army personnel carrier to cross the Channel and invade Belgium.
It was just a bit of fun, but deadly serious fun. The battle to escape the EU’s clutches continues to this day.
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