Blair: ‘Riots Not Caused By Broken Society’

Peter Spencer | Published on August 21, 2011 at 7:04 am

Tony Blair

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has weighed into the debate over this summer’s rioting, accusing David Cameron, Ed Miliband and his successor as Labour prime minister Gordon Brown of not properly understanding and addressing the underlying causes.

Writing in The Observer, he said suggestions that what happened shows Britain is in moral decline are nonsense.

“The big cause is the group of alienated, disaffected youth who are outside the social mainstream and who live in a culture at odds with any canons of proper behaviour,” he claimed.

“The truth is that many of these people are from families that are profoundly dysfunctional, operating on completely different terms from the rest of society, either middle class or poor.

“This is a phenomenon of the late 20th century. You find it in virtually every developed nation.”

For which reason, he added, suggesting Britain has lost its way morally will depress people unnecessarily, trash our reputation abroad, and fail to deal with the problem in the only way that works.

And, in a thinly veiled attack on Prime Minister David Cameron’s critique, he said: “We are in danger of the wrong analysis leading to the wrong diagnosis, leading to the wrong prescription.”

But Mr Blair also said the left places too much emphasis on social deprivation as the prime cause of the rioting. The correct response, he contended, is to intervene family by family, and to reform criminal justice around antisocial behaviour, organised crime, persistent offenders and gangs. This formula has much in common with the approach now advocated by the Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith.

Mr Blair said the Labour government was working on it towards the end of his time in office. But, in a dig at Mr Brown, Mr Blair maintains that after he left the agenda lost momentum. He also admitted that, after the murder of two-year-old Jamie Bulger in 1993, he had made a similar case to that being advanced by many today about moral breakdown in Britain.

But that speech, he said, was “good politics but bad policy”.

In an apparent endorsement of Mr Cameron’s political response to the riots, a Comres poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror puts support for the Conservatives at its highest level for almost a year. At 38%, it is up two points, and just 2% behind Labour. But the same survey gives the idea of the former American supercop Bill Bratton taking over the Metropolitan Police the thumbs down from voters, by a majority of more than two to one

Taken from Skynews


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Blair: ‘Riots Not Caused By Broken Society’

Tony Blair Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has weighed into the debate over this summer’s rioting, accusing David Cameron, Ed Miliband and his successor as Labour ...