If Kinnick Wins-stThe establishment’s campaign to undermine a Yes vote got properly underway last week: every day a new banker or corporate boss was wheeled out to say we’d all be impoverished by a Yes. The media as a mass appeared not to be familiar with the phrase “vested interests”: each new corporate attempt to stifle Yes voters was regurgitated undigested onto our screens and newspapers. If Scotland votes Yes we’ll face massive job losses, or at least that’s the spin, as our nukes and our banks vanish overnight, then the border guards will keep us out of England. Today it got ramped up again. We’ll face a full economic depression, said one bank. Only a zombie apocalypse awaits us.

It started to ring a bell with me. It’s the exact same election campaign that the exact same establishment used to run against Labour before Blair took over. The same threats, just with added border guards. Capital flight has been cited for decades to intimidate people against change, and if it doesn’t work, it occasionally gets used if the vested interests see no other way to avoid change. No wonder Salmond felt obliged to suggest the SNP would cut corporation tax: presumably he optimistically thought it might diminish this phase of their efforts.

Pre-Blair, of course, Labour were the closest thing the establishment had to a credible threat. And so they got monstered over and over again. The arguments of those doing very well out of Thatcherism, thank you, were presented as objective economic facts. Every ad hominem attack they could muster, they did. There was no pretence of fairness or neutrality. It’s achingly familiar. We’re just waiting for celebs to threaten to leave Scotland.

But now Labour’s threat to those interests has evaporated. They’re a party intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich. They privatised whatever they could, gave sacks of cash away to corporate donors through PFI, began letting the markets into the NHS, and all because those corporate donations helped make up for a hollowed-out party membership. The party of Keir Hardie became the party of Lord Sainsbury. Alistair Darling, the No campaign’s figurehead, explained to Scots that the NHS was safe in Westminster hands having himself accepted money from the private companies taking apart the NHS. Blair did such a good job of reshaping the Labour Party in the Tories’ image that he got the Sun’s endorsement in 1997. They’d been an attempt at the solution. But by then they were an almost indistinguishable part of the problem.

But now, much to the establishment’s surprise, there appears not only to be some sort of vote in Scotland, but it could in fact lead to a rejection of the entire Westminster-establishment-elite edifice. And who knows, if the Scots successfully reject it, how long before the rest of the UK might do so too? No wonder they’ve dusted off the Defeat Change playbook from the 1980s. The grid is almost unchanged: although the threat is deeper this time, because Westminster itself faces a loss of territory and power in a way it didn’t with a hypothetical Labour win in 1992. Pre-Blair Labour parties used potentially to be transitory change. Independence is permanent change. No wonder Labour have allied themselves with the Tories, with the bankers, with the corporate chief execs. The occasional stint of Westminster rule, provided they don’t change too much, is the accommodation they’ve made with the establishment.

I should say that 1992 was the last time I’d have defined myself as a Labour voter, although they’ve had the odd second or third preference off me since. Back then I was voting with the Labour leadership as the best hope of change, rejecting the threats from the bankers and from the establishment. In this referendum, I’m voting against the Labour leadership but again for the best hope of change. Those threats meant nothing to me then, and they mean nothing to me now.