IT is astonishing that the 1960s still resonate so powerfully through popular culture.

One obvious reason is the ­spectacular events of that era, the ­assassination of President Kennedy and Dr Martin Luther King, the war in Vietnam and the revolution in youth culture that led to the counterculture, the mod movement and the rise of psychedelia.

Another demographic explanation is that the 1960s was the decade in which the "baby boomers" came of age and then ­carried their pop nostalgia into almost ­every corner of creative life – the movies, pop music and now streamed drama.

There was a time when the Black Panther Party was seen as a virulent threat to the social order now the Panthers are edging towards a Netflix cliché.

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One institution, founded in 1965, and now hanging on by a thread today, is the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). I grew up in a council house in 1960s ­Scotland, where the Confederation of ­British Industry were seen as the Gestapo of the Tory Party, a thinly veiled front organisation that did the bidding of the boardroom especially in the white heat of industrial unrest.

Being a union leader, my dad had built up a lifetime resentment to smooth talking businessman seeing them as a ­free-market, union-hating presence who appeared in flickering black and white, claiming “not to be political” and ­arguing for “common sense,” as unctuous ­self-confidence oozed from their lips.

Call me the Mick Lynch of Letham, but the CBI has always been the boss-class dressed up to be impartial.

It is in memory of my dead father that I have delighted in the CBI’s current ­crisis, facing at best a shrinking membership and at worst financial ruination.

Last week, the CBI was pressured into holding an extraordinary vote of ­confidence after the Guardian published allegations of sexual misconduct at the group, including two claims of rape which are currently being investigated by the City of London Police.

Such was the outcry that some of the organisation’s biggest and most time-honoured members such as Astra-Zeneca, BT, Kingfisher, Marks and Spencer and BP all withdrew their support along with the insurer Aviva, retailer John Lewis and NatWest bank. All three have female chief executives.

Ironically, one of the other companies who have withdrawn their support is ITV, themselves caught up in the damaging Philip Schofield scandal.

A spate of high-profile resignations has heaped pressure on the tarnished group, which relies on subscriptions for the bulk of its £25 million income, and in days gone by has only narrowly avoided the humiliation of insolvency.

After decades of listening to their ­diatribes about how business knows best it would be a deliciously cruel irony if the CBI went bust.

On Tuesday they pulled back from the brink but only just, when 93% of a ­much-reduced membership of 371 ­members backed its plans to reform the organisation. The word reform is ­boardroom-speak, for reduce, shrink or re-launch.

According to the BBC, “The CBI ­recently said it would have to make job cuts in order to slash its wage bill by a third. In its most recent public ­accounts, for 2021, the CBI reported income of £25m, of which £22m came from ­membership fees.”

At the very least that income will ­collapse as companies distance ­themselves from the scandal and others reassess what membership delivers in a more complex business environment.

I cannot hide another grudge – the CBI’s duplicitous role in the 2014 ­independence referendum. It is no great secret that the outcome of indyref left me like a Partick Thistle fan on Monday morning, wondering what happened and why the world was so capricious and so cruel.

At the time, no one was in anyway ­surprised that the CBI backed the ­status quo and threw their weight behind ­Better Together. So far so ­obvious. What was less clear was their ­status as an arbiter of a more ­sophisticated business world.

Having registered with the Electoral Commission as an advocate of Better Together, the CBI were forced to hastily retreat and had to petition the Electoral Commission to cancel its registration as an official supporter of the No campaign.

The rushed policy switch came after numerous organisations, including major universities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee, government agencies and the broadcasters STV and BBC, resigned from the CBI to protect their neutrality in the independence debate.

It was a dispute I witnessed close-up at Channel 4 who also took the ­decision to suspend its membership. Like the BBC, it cited its licence obligations to ­political neutrality in news and current affairs ­output. What surprised many staff ­members was that Channel 4 was ever a member. It had been an arrangement made with the corporate team that had not filtered to the creative and commissioning staff and certainly not to the ews team.

The CBI’s fall from grace will now be tied to sexual scandal and a toxic ­institutional culture, but the changing business landscape was one they were spectacularly slow to react to.

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There had been a legacy of male ­certainties dating back to 1965 when it was founded by royal charter and when business was the relatively settled ­pursuit of profit. New era challenges like ­women in the boardroom, corporate ­social ­responsibility, the diverse ­workforce, ­lifestyle businesses, homeworking, ­pop-up shops, and the green economy were in some fantastical future.

The CBI were authors of their own downfall, by sticking far too close to the concept of business as boardroom, skewing their organis ation to listed companies and the notion of share-holder value.

They were slow to see the phenomenal growth of smaller start-ups in ­technology, food and drink and the creative ­industries and they were slow to recognise that ­being an entrepreneur had passed to a generation that had markedly different ideas of what makes a great business.

One of the most obvious misunderstandings within the changed consumer market is the top-down idea of branding products with the Union Flag.

There was a time in the 1950s when “Buying British” had a market salience and appealed to a post-war myth that Britain was a signifier of tradition and quality.

That has changed. Now consumers ­regularly shop online, are price ­sensitive and have much higher expectations of home-delivery, and by access to local produce and independent shopping from farmers’ markets or independent stores.

Localness is a much more powerful magnet for the new consumerism, than a national flag, even Scotland’s saltire.

I am a lifelong advocate of Perthshire strawberries, always with the husk left on, in part because it is grown in a farming ­locale that has proven not only to be lasting but world class. To misrepresent it with a Union Flag is a failure not of constitutional politics, but of respect for its localness.

As a teenager my first job away from home was selling pools coupons around the door in Newquay on the Cornish coast. Among many other distractions, I learnt to love the Cornish Pasty, it is not British, not English, it is from Cornwall. Most people associate the humble pasty with the mass produced Ginster brand which was set up in 1969, by dairy farmer Geoffery Ginster, in a derelict egg packing barn in the Cornish Town of Callington.

Ginster was one of many local ­bakers but today the cellophane wrapped brand is prominent in supermarkets but ­struggles to compete for reputation with the ­numerous artisan bakeries across ­Cornwall that have taken the pasty to new levels of quality and authenticity.

We live in a world that the CBI has ­singularly failed to keep up with. The pace of change is getting faster not slower, they have survived battered and bruised for now, but it is maybe time for the ­ventriloquist’s dummy to leave the stage.