Carol and I are killing some time in a $40 a night motel somewhere deep in Rustbelt America. We were twenty miles or so out of Pittsburgh in a one horse sort of town complete with a crumbling old factory and a bunch of boarded up shops. The Walmart car park was all but empty and the only sign of activity were the two shiny Marines who were out and about looking for recruits for Iraq and Afghanistan.
The TV was on and I was hopping my way through channel after channel bizarreness. Then I landed on a political interview with a guy I had neither seen or heard of before. And yet within about ten seconds the screen seemed to burst with charisma. Wow.
Who and what and where? It turned out he was a few months into a crazy long shot run at the White House. The interviewer chuckled at the length of the odds he was facing. And the candidate laughed along with the knowing smile of someone who knew he was going to win even if the rest of the world didn't.
I nudged Carol away from her book and pointed at the screen.
“You need the watch this guy. He's unbelievable.”
So we watched. Mesmerised. In a forty bucks a night motel in the midst of Rustbelt Pennsylvania.
Once again the interviewer indulged in an amused chuckle.
“Senator Obama, how do you feel about the fact that Hilary Clinton will have her husband Bill on her team in the campaign. Rather daunting, don't you think.....?”
The question provoked an amused smile. “I think you are forgetting that I'll have Michelle on my team. And Michelle's got some game, I tell you.”
When the show rolled onto the next item, I told Carol this Obama guy would be the next President. And Carol laughed at the idea of a black man being President. Not in my lifetime she said. Not a chance.
So we shook hands on a £1 bet which eighteen months later I duly won.
Watching Barrack that day for the very first time was one of those light bulb moments. His eloquence and charisma completely overwhelmed the fact he was an unheard of nobody out of Chicago. He was just so damned good it was inconceivable to me that he wouldn't win.
It was a light bulbs moment which won me a quid.
I mention this eight year old memory because I had a similar light bulb moment last night whilst watching 'Question Time'.
The evening news had carried footage of Nicola Sturgeon bringing the 3000 delegates to the SNP conference to their feet by announcing she was kicking off the IndyRef 2 preliminaries. Experts had been to quick to point out this wasn't an actual referendum. Far from it. It was merely the beginning of a road. It was packing the suitcases and leaving them ready by the front door. You know, just in case.
And of course it summoned up howls of outrage and derision from the usual Unionist suspects. Of course it it. These guys would lack the reason to exist if they failed to leap in front of the cameras to bay and mock the very idea of an independent Scotland.
So nothing new there then.
The Beeb had shown a bit of foresight and booked Alec Salmond in anticipation of this kind of thing. And Alec had obviously decided to foresake the SNP conference in Glasgow for a museum in Hendon.
And of course the Beeb couldn't have chosen a question along the lines of 'Does the panel think there will be another independence referendum in Scotland?' Of course they couldn't. Instead the question was a mocking little number talking about how those who lose a playground coin toss start begging for the chance of best of three.
So nothing new there then.
But from that moment everything was new. Edge of the seat new.
The UK has become a very different place in the post Brexit world. As the value of Sterling has plummeted, sales of Cross of St George flags have broken all records. It is the era of white van man in a land where racism is the new black. Bigotry isn't simply OK, it seems to becoming mandatory. Jeremy Hardy summed up Theresa May's shiny vision rather well on Friday Night Comedy. Her's will be a realm where everyone will have an equal shot be they black or white, straight or gay, tolerant of bigoted...'
The ever adaptable Tories are racing to catch up with the new reality. No longer do they need to keep their racist tendencies in the closet. Oh no. The time has come for them to come out and now they are testing the boundaries like toddling children working out what behaviour is deemed to be amusing and what behaviour will result in a smack and an early night. They take their lead from the front pages of the Daily Mail and the Express. The settled will of the British people is to be xenophobic and racist which means our gallant leaders deem it to be their democratic duty to be xenophobic and racist. They are spending their time gleefully testing the waters like teenagers experimenting with legal highs.
Of course they can only go so far. Amber Rudd found out the hard way where the boundary was when she tried out her big idea of naming and shaming businesses who employ too many foreign types.
Not to worry. A learning curve, right?
And what a heroic place Brexit Britain is. It is a place where you can be murdered on the street for the crime of being Polish or being an MP showing too much love for Johnny Foreigner. It is a place where you can have your Hijab ripped clean off your head.
23 June has spawned a new Nationalism which marches under the flag of St George. It's called English Nationalism and it doesn't look much like the Nationalism we have up here. It is a spitting, snarling, eight pints into a Friday night Nationalism. It is a Nationalism which harks back to a time of greatness when irksome wogs were dealt with by gunboats and Lancaster bombers firebombed German cities. Little England is getting off on the dream of a new golden age where foreign types will once again be trained to know their place.
Who cares if the pound is making like the Zimbabwean Dollar? Who cares if the rest of the world is starting to look at us like we are some kind of basket case of deluded losers? England is adopting the strut and swagger of Millwall fans.
'We are Millwall, we are Millwall, we are Millwall, from the Den.
No-one likes us, No-one likes us, No-one likes us, we don't care...'
Once again the dreams of Empire are coming alive. Once we rid ourselves of the Muslims and the Poles we can rule the world again. The cotton mills and the steel mills will all open up and run 24/7. Soon the shipyards will be clanking with the sound of thousands of highly paid white men making a new fleet of gunboats to sail out of Portsmouth harbour to re-conquer the world.
But first there are enemies to be rooted out. The job stealers from Eastern Europe. The uppity Muslims who have the cheek to own busy Spar shops and drive better cars than their customers. And of course there is the hated Metropolitan Liberal Elite who are plotting to overthrow the greatest democratic moment in our nation's long and proud history. What has come as a shock to one and all is the terrifying truth that this despised Metropolitan Liberal Elite is sixteen million strong. The hard truth the new heroic flag carriers of Brexit Britain are having to deal with is that 48% of us are democracy hating 'Remoaners'.
So where in all of this was my light bulb moment?
Oh it was there all right. And it was a hell of a light bulb. It was the kind of light bulb you expect to find hanging from the concrete ceiling of a torture room. Bright enough to burn the back of the eyes.
More or less as soon as the 'best of three' IndyRef 2 question was asked, the flag of St George brigade in the studio audience started to bristle. Their mood was crystal clear. The Scots were well and truly on their list of bad people along with the Muslims and the Poles and the namby pamby tree huggers. And the panel jumped onto the back of the prevailing mood with evident glee. There was no hint of the 2014 love bombing. We love you Scotland.... we really, really do. Please don't leave us. Please stay.....
Oh no. None of that. Instead there was mockery and derision. Leave? Oh yeah. Dream on you pathetic bastards. You lot are poorer than Greece. You're a complete joke. Leave? Dream on.
They were Queen Victoria and we were the Matebele. Independence? Oh come on. You lot couldn't manage for a week. They are the all knowing parents and we are the thirteen year old having a tantrum and threatening to run away from home.
And you could sense Alec was finding it hard to conceal his smile of joy. Because when IndyRef 2 rolls around, this will be the new Better Together. No more Mr Nice Guy. No more parents worried sick at their treasured child making a truly terrible life choice. Instead it will be unconcealed mockery and derision. Want to go your own way? Course you do. Like you want to be pathetic and poor, right? You lot? Don't make me laugh. Yeah, go on then. Have your poxy little vote. Like we give a shit. Like we are supposed to be worried. As if! You haven't got the bottle. You'll never have the bottle. Piss off and sleep in a doorway for all we care.
This time the words from south of the border will be very different. This time we will be lined up alongside the Poles and the Muslims. When I was growing up in the seventies, Saturday night prime time was filled with comedians who made a handsome living out of cracking Irish jokes and Nigger jokes and mother in law jokes. Then that kind of thing was deemed to be beyond the pale. But now we live in suddenly different times. IndyRef 2 will be a time of Scottish jokes and the millions who have wrapped themselves in the flag of the Cross of St George are all primed and ready to laugh along.
Well, the Scots don't tend to react well to this kind of thing. Never have and never will. The response will be pretty straight forward. The response will be 'away and shite'. The response will be 'Yes' by a country mile. And there will be nothing anyone will be able to do about it. Nobody will be able to persuade the Brexit brigade to make nice. I very much doubt if anyone will even bother to try. Last night Little England had it's say and it will continue to have it's say.
And we will also have our say. This time we'll say thanks, but no thanks. This time we'll say 'away and shite' with the lot of you.
This time we'll say yes.
Anyone want a quid on it?