It seems almost standard to say in the broadcast media things like 'He was a former Cabinet minister' or even 'You
were a former TV producer' (Woman's Hour just now). Surely this is a kind of double past and it should be 'you are' (still are, you are still alive). Why does this kind of duplication (redundancy, I think is the term) happen? Is it related to what I call 'word inflation'? Extra syllables, extra words, extra tenses?