Sunday, 6 September 2015

10 things I never thought I'd see in 1999

It'll never happen! How many times have we said those with absolute certainty? How many times have we been proved horribly wrong. So join me in my Tardis for a trip back to dear old 1999. It was a happy time for me. My dear old mum was not only alive, but she was in good health, we went on a rather nice cruise with her and her then partner Mike to Norway. We took my dearly departed mother in law and he best friend (also dearly departerd). My daughters were four and two and it was a pretty blissful familiy time. Nationally Tony Blair was in the first wave of his rule. Gordon Brown was building a reputation as a "the iron chancellor". Barnet Council was being run by a Lib/Lab coalition. In football Manchester United were rampant, winning the Premiership and the European Cup. Manchester City were in the third tier, playing in a playoff final at Wembley.  Pope John Paul II was in the twighlight of his life, on a sad, painful decline. Saddam Hussien was in charge of Iraq and Bill Clinton was President of the USA.

The world has changed. If you'd asked me to get out the crystal ball, so many things have happened that we couldn't possibly have predicted.

1. Manchester City winning the Premiership. Back in 1999, such a concept  seemed unbelievable. But then again, I never expected a bunch of Arab Oil zillionaires to buy the club.

2. Gordon Brown to become Prime Minister and be a complete disaster at it. At the time, Blair seemed to be sweeping all in his path and Brown seemed to be the brians behind the organisation. Just about everyone assumed that when Blair eventually went, Brown would step up and do an even better job. Sadly the pair of them are more or less completely discredited. Far from destroying the Tories, which seemed likely in 1999, their legacy may actually be to destroy The Labour party.

3. The Pope to be speaking common sense about matter of sex and morality and my non Catholic Friends to be liking his pronouncements on Facebook. John Paul II was anything but a Liberal. Pope Francis seems to have an uncanny knack for saying the right thig at the right time.

4. Michael Portillo to be regarded as an all round good egg. On the day of the 1997 election, the defining moment was the downfall of Portillo. He was widely disliked. Unlike many politicians (no names here), a good kick in the balls from the voters did him a power of good.

5. Ireland to vote for same sex marriage. The Catholic church lost the love of the Irish people. I suspect the vote was as much to send the church a message as anything. I suspect the message was much needed.

6.  People to say that Colonel Gaddafi may been a stabilising influence in the Middle East. Gaddafi was a bogeyman. Rightly so. It is however starting to look as if he was the best of some bad alternatives.

7. Barnet Council putting making profits for large corporations before giving old ladies dinner at home. Back in 1999, Barnet Council was run with compassion for the people who lived here. Services were good and the Council seemed to want to make the Borough safe and pleasant. That ethos has been well and truly buried. The defining moment was the Palace Coup that replaced Brian Salinger with hard right Mike Freer.

8. Pubs to be smoke free places. In 1999, pubs were smoke filled and vibrant. The smell of smoke has largely been replaced with the smell of stale beer and wee wee. Personally I preferred the smoke.

9. German football clubs to have campaigns to welcome refugees. The recent pro refugee displays by German football clubs has restored my faith in humanity. The world has become very odd when we look to German footie teams for moral leadership. Sadly our own clubs seem to be stuffed full of selfish, over paid brats.

10. Donald Trump to the favourite to win the Republican nomination for Presidency. At the time Trump was mostly known for his overblown Towers and his over inflated ex wives. Whatever he was seen as, with Clinton in charge, he wasn't exactly seen as presidential material.

How times change. So if I am writing this in 2020, what will the list have expanded to include? Maybe Jeremy Corbyn PM? Maybe Barnet FC winning the FA cup? Maybe the Leaders of Israel & Hamas  being jointly nominated for a nobel peace prize? Or maybe I won't be writing it at all as Presidents Trump and Putin will have destroyed us all in a nuclear apocalypse. Lets hope that whatever happens, the last one is way off the mark.

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