In the 1970s, there were three changes of government.

In the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, there was one.

This is how they did things in 1974 – the combination of constitutional theory, soap opera and gossip column in this account by the prime minister’s private secretary is quite extraordinary. But the two elections of 1974 represented the end of an era in a way which could not have been recognised at the time:  the UK has now had thirty years of stable governments (even the whittling away of John Major’s small majority didn’t really change that).  Directly and indirectly, that fact has done a great deal to shape political institutions, political processes and, more pertinently to the subject matter of this blog, the ways in which the business of government gets done and the ways in which people interact with government as citizens, participants and customers.  It is entirely possible that that environment will continue in the next parliament. It is entirely possible that it won’t.