1983

Jack's Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister proved less adept at seeing into the future.

Mr Allister was the DUP candidate beaten in the race for Westminster by Official Unionist Roy Beggs by a mere 367-vote margin. The Larne Times reported that he said: “We view the success of Mr Beggs as merely a temporary success for his party which assuredly will be reversed at the next election ... when the electorate will opt for the dependable consistency of traditional unionism.”

Actually, we’ll never know if Mr Allister’s powers of prognostication were McKeensian in their accuracy: At the next election, a DUP-UUP pact meant there was no contest (even Jack hadn’t seen that coming) which took Beggs back to parliament, where he remained until 2005, and Allister off to pursue a law career that was to lead to his appointment as a QC, then to Brussels as a DUP MEP before defection and most recently to the Euro poll two weeks ago.

One thing that might have been easily forecast, however, was that in his post-Euro count speech he used the term “traditional unionism”. Deja vu, as they say in Strasbourg.

No crystal ball was required to foresee the fate of a futuristic design for an exhibition centre at Carnfunnock Country Park.

A model of the quarter-of-a-million pounds glass pyramid presented to Larne council for comment drew gasps of astonishment and Luddite consternation in equal measure.

One member said it was time for the council to grasp new ideas and move on like other local authorities (Jack McKee again), while Cllr John Alexander said he feared the two-storey transparent edifice, with a 20 square metres base, would be prone to vandalism and expressed a preference for bricks and mortar.

With its first-floor exhibition room and a ground-floor restaurant and toilets, together with a projecting balcony affording panoramic views over the North Channel, it would surely have been as much a landmark as the Chaine tower or the Black Arch.

But it was not to be.

Worth noting, however, that the French built their pyramid next to the Louvre: Larne’s would have featured loos (in a glass structure?). A penny for your thoughts.

Guess who had been installed as deputy mayor?

Yes, your clairvoyant powers really are improving with practice. It was that man McKee again

His predecessor in the deputy role, Tom Robinson, was elected mayor.

Geminis would have been sceptical of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s new Homesteading scheme.

The chance to buy up a derelict three-bedroom house at Lealies Drive from just 2,500 might have seemed appealing – especially with an improvement grant up to 4,000 and 100 per cent loan thrown in – but the Larne Times horoscope cautioned those born under the sign of the twins: “This isn’t a good time for pushing your ideas forward.”

To be doubly sure, potential Homesteaders would have been well advised to consult ... you know who.

Even the relatively small sums of money involved in Homesteading would have been beyond the means of teenagers enrolled on the Government’s Youth Training Programme.

The YTPs were expected to work four days a week in catering, mechanical engineering, computers and woodworking among others, and attend day-release courses at Tech on the fifth day. All for a wage of 25 a week, out of which they might have to forfeit up to 4 a week for travel expenses.

I wonder if any YTPs ever became MPs?