The future was written, the future is passed

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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In ordinary circumstances any columnist who correctly predicted the outcome of a given ballot would waste no time in gobbing off about their prescience at first time of asking once that forecast had been proved sound.

Expect no such braggadocio from yours truly today, despite having last week called the outcome of Thursday’s Scottish referendum on independence.

First and foremost, obviously, because such a prediction in truth represented a feat of foresight to rival pointing out that if you wish to read in bed tonight you’ll definitely need to switch on a light.

Fish in a barrel? Hardly. More like plugging a stunned terrapin in a pint-pot with a sawn-off shotgun.

Every poll bar one freak You Gov effort – which prompted the most vociferous full media spectrum campaign of scaremongering and barefaced bribery I have ever seen – gave No the win, in most cases quite decisively.

The politically callow-minded, the fearful, the party faithful, the downright gullible – these were Better Together’s barreled cod.

A second, more crucial, reason for declining to play the strutting ass, however, is that Friday morning
was comfortably the most bleak political dawn, for me personally, since waking one April day in 1992 to see the plank John Major doing a Cheshire Cat impression on the steps of 10 Downing Street.

Gnawing disappointment at an opportunity for change passed up, yet another victory for the tireless, timeless forces of reaction.

The Establishment endures.

The self-interested prevail. The monarchy, the great landowners, the burghers of our ruling city state, Westminster’s Old Boy network – nodes of rapacious venal power, overdogs dating back centuries, millennia, which, for a moment or two in early September, displayed – for the first time in my adult life – something approaching fear.

Hence the negativity blitzkrieg. Hence the hastily pledged ‘new powers’ and opened chequebooks which will do nothing to close food banks or save the NHS or stop the cross party neo-liberal stampede towards new depths of inequality.

No bold experiment in greater fairness, social decency – difficult, doomed or otherwise – will now take place right on our doorstep.

No rival to City of London rule by dictat will rise in the North.

No end to the status quo. Down, down, deeper and down.