Past verb forms do not always refer to past time.
When we want to talk about what we would like to happen we can use:
– it’s time/would prefer + infinitive with to
– it’s time/would prefer + subject + past verb form
– would sooner/would rather + infinitive
– would sooner/would rather + subject + past verb form
eg. It’s time to realise that we are all responsible for the environment.
It’s time we all made an effort to recycle.
I’d prefer to spend money on developing new forms of energy.
I’d prefer it if people concentrated on the small things they can do to help.
I’d sooner go myself to help out.
I’d sooner the government would do more to help.
I’d rather drive my car less.
I’d rather people used public transport more often.
NB: When we talk about past situations with would sooner/would rather + subject + verb, we use the Past Perfect or Past Perfect Continuous.
eg. I’d rather you’d done it yourself.