There is no "moral decline" in UK: Blair

Last Updated: Sunday, August 21, 2011 - 19:59

London: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has
dismissed the government`s claim that the recent riots in
London and other cities showed that the British society is in
"moral decline" as he warned that "muddle-headed analysis" of
a broken society threatens to harm the country`s image abroad.

In rare comments on British politics since standing down
as prime minister in 2007, Blair said the riots were "an
absolutely specific problem that requires a deeply specific
solution" by politicians.

The "big" cause of the riots in England was "alienated,
disaffected youth... outside the social mainstream," Blair
wrote in The Observer newspaper.

He pointed to a group of people "outside the social
mainstream and who live in a culture at odds with any canons
of proper behaviour".

"Focus on the specific problem and we can begin on a
proper solution," he said.

During a speech on Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron
said that he was determined to tackle a "slow-motion moral
collapse" in Britain and mend the country`s "broken society".

He attacked the influence of human rights legislation
and claimed that some of the worst aspects of human nature had
been "tolerated, indulged - sometimes even incentivised - by a
state and its agencies that in parts have become literally
demoralised".

But Blair warned that "muddle-headed analysis" of the
riots may result in wrong policy responses.

He also dismissed claims the UK was in the grip of a
"moral decline".

"Elevate this into a highfalutin wail about a Britain
that has lost its way morally and we will depress ourselves
unnecessarily, trash our own reputation abroad, and worst of
all, miss the chance to deal with the problem in the only way
that will work."

Blair added that politicians` responses to the four
days of rioting and looting created a danger of the "wrong
analysis leading to the wrong diagnosis, leading to the wrong
prescription".

He went on to say: "The key is to understand that they
aren`t symptomatic of society at large. Failure to get this
leads to a completely muddle-headed analysis of what has gone
wrong. Britain as a whole is not in the grip of some general
`moral decline`.

"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," Blair added.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, August 21, 2011 - 19:58

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