New Labour wanted shot of them
Last evening we attended another extended family event. Over a traditional Home Counties vat of hazardous booze, Tyler fell into conversation with a couple of senior teachers from inner city state schools- a headmistress and a newly retired subject head.
It's always been entertaining chatting to them at family weddings and funerals over the years, because back in the Old Days, they were long serving Labour activists.
And in 1997, although they never liked Bliar, they were rejoicing at their brave new dawn after 20 years of hurt. They rejoiced that the depraved political ideas espoused by people like Tyler had been consigned to the dustbin of history.
What a difference a decade makes- these days, they have withdrawn to the political sidelines, ignored and angry.
So what do they make of Labour ripping off Tory tax policies? Need you ask?
It's a disgrace that those who had the extraordinary good fortune to ride the property boom (including themselves) should be allowed to pass on their undeserved gains to their children. It should be shared round so that society doesn't fracture even more between the haves and the have-nots.
OK, forget Bottler and the total bankruptcy of New Labour: given a clean sheet, what would they do about fixing state schools- those same schools that have seen a virtual doubling of funding since 1997, yet half of which, according to Ofsted, still fail to provide a good education?
No doubts at all- the first step must be to abolish private schools.
The articulate middle class must be made to share the same schools as the disadvantaged, so that they can demand more funding and all round improvement.
But what about the way schools are run?
A single word answer: discipline. Discipline must be returned to where it used to be: bring back traditional teaching and bring back the whack.
Well, mass immigration must be stopped. Schools simply can't cope with the ludicrous babel of languages now forced on them. Let alone the cultural conflicts.
Come to that, immigration is behind most of the social problems in the inner cities. Not just the obvious (though until last week, officially denied) pressures on housing and public services, but also the tensions between different groups- one of these teachers reckoned there are over 100 languages now being spoken in his borough.
They talked of how large areas of London have been taken away from the native population, and how White Flight is gathering pace.
But hang on, wasn't it your party that threw open the doors and let in all-comers?
Not our party. Not our party any more. Maybe won't vote at all next time.
Now, let's be clear. These people are intelligent professionals, and probably not at all the sort of bull mastiff owning punters Margaret Hodge had in mind when she blurted out that many traditional Labour voters are turning to the BNP. But Tyler was once again struck by how small that step is for Old Labour.
Because Old Labour has been dropped into a void and is angry. The BNP might not have been its first choice of rescuer, but in terms of issues like immigration and "discipline" the appeal is obvious.
The BNP's democratic credentials? No real problem because Old Labour was never that keen on democracy anyway. For one thing, people selfishly seem to vote their own self-interest rather than what's best for society. And for another, as I was informed last night, the lumpenproletariat (sic) doesn't understand where its real best interests lie. It needs leadership and "education".
All very unsettling.
NB Tyler wishes to emphasise that these two teachers are related by marriage only- and that distantly. Nobody should conclude Tyler is related directly to people espousing views as extreme as those of Old Labour.