What were your hopes for today?

Back to the Future film series logoThis is a post aimed at those of us who were around in the ’80s when the Back to the Future films first came out. Today, of course, is the day Marty McFly and Dr Emmett Brown arrived in the future. People are marking the occasion in all sorts of ways. One of my favourites was Ayrshire Police’s post this morning – although it was in fact 12 hours early, it was a savvy use of social media. They posted on Facebook:

About 0728 hours today, Wednesday 21st October 2015, police received reports of a suspicious vehicle causing concern in the car park of an Irvine supermarket.

Witnesses report the stainless steel DeLorean vehicle to have been damaged and two men to have been within the vehicle. One man is described as being around 17 years old, slim build with dark hair while the other is only described as being older with grey hair and wearing a white coat.

A spokesperson for Ayrshire Police Division commented “on arriving at the location the vehicle almost collided with two members of the public on hover boards. Luckily the hover board’ collision avoidance system prevented any injuries. We are keen to speak with the two men seen within the vehicle.”

#JustForFun #BackToTheFuture

My Facebook timeline was full of comments about hover boards, but my feelings were mostly mild discomfort. After all, a day that I had thought was a very long time away when the film first came out in 1989 is now here. I wonder if people who read 1984 when it was first published in 1949 felt when that date finally arrived. 

Someone said on my Facebook this morning that they were disappointed, having grown up with Space 1999, that there was no moonbase when that year came around.

I never thought we would have hover boards by now, to be honest. They never seemed to me to be a particularly efficient mode of travel in any event. However, way back in 1989, I had high hopes for the future.  The Berlin Wall came down. South Africa was getting very close to releasing Nelson Mandela and there was a feeling of optimism about the future, at least internationally. There was not much hope of getting rid of the Tories any time soon, though. Plus ça change.

Back in 1989, my hopes were around greater gender equality. Surely by 2015, men and women would be equally represented at the highest levels of our civic and political society. I certainly never would have thought that progress would have been so slow that we still wouldn’t even have reached 30% female representation at Westminster. There has been progress since then, but I do hope that the next generation does not face the same barriers but I fear that there will always be an excuse not to do anything that actually works.

While there has been some improvement in legal protection for women – for example, way back in 1989, the idea that women could be raped by their husbands was a ridiculous notion to some judges – in some ways society is much more menacingly misogynistic than it was then. The Everyday Sexism project has certainly lifted the lid on the nonsense that women put up with all the time.

Back in 1989,I wanted life to be so much better for my lesbian and gay friends.  Even today, some people are cautious about being open about their sexuality in case it impacts on their job or family relationships, but back then, such worries were commonplace and there was no legal protection. If you had shared your life with someone for decades, you could easily and legally be airbrushed out of their lives by their legal kin if they died. There was no prospect of your relationship being recognised in law. That’s still a pretty basic freedom, though. There is so much more to be done to give LGBT+ people the acceptance and equality that they should have.

My question for you is what did you hope for back in 1989? Has it happened? If you weren’t around then, what do you want life to be like 30 years from now?



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Ruth Bright 21st Oct '15 - 3:30pm

    Caron – I joined the Liberal Party 30 years ago this month when I was 18. I wanted to get a 2:1, meet the great David Penhaligon and become an MP. Two out of three isn’t bad!!

  • To give every by election the full treatment. This did not happen over the past 5 years, in many cases the opposite. Now we have Oldham West. We must throw the kitchen sink at it and try to recover from the terrible result there in May.

  • The original movie was in 1985. My hopes were to see the end of the Thatcher government.

  • Charles Rothwell 22nd Oct '15 - 7:51am

    I wanted to see a reformed House of Commons elected by proportional representation, a House of Lords which had been abolished and replaced by a second chamber (elected on a different basis and on a different timescale to the Commons) which would represent a federal United Kingdom in which power had been radically devolved throughout the entire country and with the regions flourishing. I also wanted to see a massive reduction in wealth inequality and Britain moving into a new era of economic advance, at the heart of a prosperous and confident European Union which was easily capable of competing with the USA, Japan (now China, of course), Russia etc. in terms of dynamism, creativity and economic innovation which brought wealth for everyone without avoiding obscene accumulations of wealth in just certain sectors. I also wanted to see Britain having made massive leaps forward in overcoming inequality in other ways and human capital being utilised to the fullest possible benefit of society as a whole rather than having to depend on which gender people were, which social group their parents belonged to, what their ethnic origin was or their sexual orientation.

    Oh well, I suppose that (“Dum spiro, spero!”) is why I am a Liberal Democrat!

  • SIMON BANKS 22nd Oct '15 - 4:21pm

    It’s hard to remember. Some of the things I hoped for in 1989, when I was a Waltham Forest councillor, I hoped for in 1966 when I joined the Liberal Party. Some things I hope for now I’ve probably foisted on my 1989 self or even my 1966 one.

    But I do remember hoping desperately for Mrs Thatcher’s downfall and the end of Thatcherite Tory government. I remember hoping for a reversal of the crushing of local government initiative, for peace, for a reduction of poverty and for stopping the destruction of the rainforest and ocean life.

    So not much change really.

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