Lord Lawson was chancellor of the Exchequer when I started as an economics journalist and his passing marks the end of an era. There are not many of the big beasts of Thatcherism left now.
His passing will bring great sadness to his family and friends. They will find consolation in the fact that he left an indelible mark on this country and far beyond. Naturally, New European readers will disagree strongly with his views on Brexit, and probably on climate change too.
Yet focus only on his time as chancellor and I would suggest that he, far more than even Margaret Thatcher, changed the way that the British public think and feel about politics and especially economics.
Even Margaret Thatcher thought Lawson had gone too far when he slashed the top rate of taxation to 40% at the end of the 80s, and she was right. The boom of red-brace-wearing, Porsche-driving, City types, the ever-increasing house prices and the surge in growth, based on bonuses and wheeler-dealing rather than a rebirth of export industries and sound investment, ended with a crash.
But the crash and the fact that under Lawson and Mrs Thatcher taxation as a percentage of national income rose rather than fell has never been able to displace the firm belief among British voters that you can have good public services and tax cuts as well.
That you can have a functioning NHS, strong defence, law and order, pensions and all the rest and despite the evidence that everything is crumbling around your ears you can still, just before a general election, always have a chancellor of the Exchequer who finds a few billion down the back of a sofa for a headline-grabbing giveaway.
Nigel Lawson, as was, could just about afford to do it for two main reasons.
Because of North Sea oil which he and other chancellors spent rather than saved or invested and because he and other Tory chancellors moved the burden from taxation on income to taxation on expenditure, increasing the taxation level but making the middle-class voters feel better off.
Ever since the 1980s and the end of the cold war, chancellors have also been shaving money off defence to fund tax cuts. That sleight of hand is coming to an end, but not the overall approach.
Nigel Lawson at least believed that he was doing the right thing – of that I have no doubt. But far too many chancellors since have ridden on his coat-tails using a short-term, cynical and increasingly misused and abused political tactic. They do that because it works, if by working you mean it wins elections.
We now have the highest tax burden since the 1950s, a failing state, a collapsing social and health system and higher taxes on the way and still, the political debate is framed by Lord Lawson’s legacy.
Will it last? I cannot tell. But 34 years after he left No. 11, you still live in Nigel Lawson’s world.