I joined the NUSWCH&DE, the union for sheet metal workers, when I was 15 at about the time that PM Harold McMillan stated that "you have never had it so good."
Like thousands and thousands of others I instinctively knew that to be a lie. True, at the time there was full employment, but there were also awful working conditions, long hours and low pay.
At least that was the case in engineering and manufacturing, where I served my apprenticeship.
I realised that the only way to challenge employers and governments was through a strong trade union movement.
In the 53 or so years that I have been a member of Unite and its forerunner unions I have witnessed the weakening of that movement in terms of numbers and influence - not, may I add, from any fault of its own, but through a series of retrograde legislation which was retained by Labour.
But I feel refreshed by the direction of our new union Unite.
Len McCluskey has spoken out for manufacturing and is willing to take the fight to both employers and government.
His outlook is not mired in the past but looks to the future, a different kind of future based on a vision of a union that is "for the community and part of the community."
He has stated that the Conservative-led changes to welfare damage the very fabric of our society, attacking children, the disabled and lone parents. Len also recognises that many people living on a state pension are suffering in equal measures.
I see this broad-based outlook on all the issues facing us as a sign of true political understanding that seems to be rare these days.
That's why I'll be voting for Len.
Not for decades has an election been so important.
Former national president, Manufacturing Science and Finance Union