You might have read this in yesterday's papers:
'Too many children start school without the social and verbal skills to be able to take part in lessons and to behave well. Too many are starting school unable to hold a knife and fork, unused to eating at a table, unable to use the lavatory properly. These children will not be living in absolute poverty. The majority will be living in homes with televisions, computers and PlayStations. What too many of them do not have are adults who are prepared to give their time and energy doing that difficult, but most essential of jobs: raising their children properly...'
The Mail perhaps? Or the Telegraph? No - it appeared in that mainstay of a thousand progressive Sundays, The Observer.
An article by Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, warned that parents were now failing to socialise their children at the most fundamental level. And attacks on teachers were not only common place, she wrote, but were now often aided and abetted by parents - that is, when they were not doing the attacking themselves.
It might take a long time, but it's just possible that certain truths are dawning on the liberal elites who have been in charge of setting the cultural tone of the country for decades now - as well as forming so much of the social policy inspired by it. Perhaps the results of what were, for these people, nice ideas on paper, are finally confronting them like a brick through the sash window.
Chip, chip, chip away at all forms of 'repressive' authority, whether legal, social or moral. Question all traditional relationships. Deconstruct all forms authority. Teach all children that they are, in fact, Mozart, and are simply being cruelly held back by poverty and other evil constructs of the capitalist system. Now stand back, and allow to simmer on a low heat for a couple of generations. Hey presto - total social breakdown.
Of course admitting that there is a problem is one thing; it would require real moral courage to own up to the fact that you might have been wrong all along. We could certainly grow old waiting. Instead, expect the increasing social anarchy to be laid, as per usual, at the door of a certain lady ex-Prime minister.
The extent of the collapse of authority in Britain might become even clearer if the recession deepens. There was greater cohesion, still intact, in the early 80s, and the convulsions then were shocking to most people. Now that it has disappeared altogether, the consequences in the face of a continued slump could be catastrophic.