“Last The last issue of The Economist implies its extinction; prefer last week’s or the latest issue.”
–The Economist Style Guide
Does it imply that? Oxford New American Dictionary concedes that “last” can mean “most recent in time; latest”. But that’s definition #2. #1 is “coming after all others in time or order; final.”
No one would fault the preference for #1, but the Style Guide is speaking with a conspicuous lack of British restraint in trying to strike #2 from the lexicon.
The context would need to be nonexistent or at least very specific for any intelligent reader to think that “the last Bagehot column was a bloody disgraceful wankfest” means that the bloody disgraceful wankfest was the final Bagehot column.
It seems here that the E is trying to impose order on a snowflake by pushing for a style rule on “last”. The system is policing itself, don’t tread on it.