PERHAPS after the awful year we have just lived through, we forget the momentous events of December 12, 2019, when a Tory tsunami swept across the region. It was historic: Bishop Auckland and Durham North West turned blue for the first time since they were created in 1885.

There were many reasons.

It was part of a long term trend. Ever since Hartlepool elected a monkey as its mayor rather than the Labour candidate, Labour majorities have been whittling away as the region grew estranged from the party which had been in power in many places since the 1920s.

Jeremy Corbyn speeded up that estrangement. His old-fashioned politics didn’t look forward, and the stench of anti-Semitism caused people to suspect there was something unpleasant at the heart of the party.

There was more. On the day after the election, on Sedgefield green, I was interviewed by Radio 5 alongside a local RAF veteran who had voted Labour all his life and had intended to do so again. But in that cold moment of truth, alone in the polling booth, he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t bring himself to vote for a party led by a man who he felt wasn’t patriotic, didn’t talk up the country, didn’t support the armed services.

Then he was in a moment of blind panic. He couldn’t go the whole hog, so he cast his vote for an independent – he couldn’t remember which one – and fled.

Plenty of people did go the whole hog. Some voted definitely for the Conservative Party – after all, a couple of years ago, they’d elected Ben Houchen as the Tees Valley mayor and the sky hadn’t fallen in.

Many, I think, gave – perhaps loaned – their votes to Boris Johnson personally and not to his party. Unlike grey Theresa May, he was a colourful character, an anti-politician, an untypical Tory (despite his background) who spoke positively about “levelling up” the regions.

And, of course, he offered hope. He would get Brexit done. How didn’t really matter; just his force of personality would boot it over the line.

Since the election, we’ve lived a year of suspended animation, locked in our houses, life on hold. Consequently, I don’t think opinions have changed much. At the start of the pandemic, there was enormous good will towards Mr Johnson, particularly when he fell ill. People realised it was an utterly unprecedented situation.

The Dominic Cummings eyetest outing changed that, particularly here where people pronounce “Barnard Castle” without an extra syllable. Our letters page glowed with anger.

For a while, I thought the bare-faced affair would turn people away from the new Tories, but I’m not sure it has. Yet. Andy Burnham's "civil war of the north" hasn't caused the country to break up. Yet.

One day, there may be a judgement on Britain’s high death rate or the distribution of contracts; one day, Keir Starmer may register on people’s radars.

But not yet. And that’s because the election was about Boris getting Brexit done, and he is still three weeks away from that. Who can honestly tell which of the dire predictions will come true after January 1. Perhaps, as Adam Ant once said, no-deal is nothing to be scared of.

We will soon find out. After a year of suspended animation, until Brexit is done, judgement on the Tory tsunami is suspended, too.