This morning I heard Jeremy Corbyn's speech at the Labour Conference. Here is a section of that speech. Can anyone tell me what tense he is using and why? "Now is the time that government took a more active role in restructuring our economy. Now is the time that corporate boardrooms were held accountable for their actions, And now is the time that we developed a new model of economic management to replace the failed dogmas of neo-liberalism …" Is this a Britishism? (I am American.) Thanking your all in advance for any insights you can offer.
I am a US speaker—my native dialect is southern—and Mr. Corbyn employs this construction in the only way familiar to me, with the verb in its past form:
It's time we went home.
It's time we were going.
I cannot recall ever encountering this with a present-form verb, although a version with a marked infinitive is common:
It's time to go home.
It's time to be going.
"It’s time + subject + past verb form" can be used to refer to the present moment, which is the case here I think.