Riots: Tony Blair speaks out

John Rentoul

medialeadpengilliey 174905t 275x300 Riots: Tony Blair speaks outSurprisingly little noticed, Tony Blair gave an interview on Friday about the riots:

“The complicated bit is why are there so many, why is there this sizeable minority of people who are prepared to do this?”

He explicitly rejects the idea that “there is a bunch of children who are born evil.”

The problems of parenting are universal. “I find with my own children that boundaries are really tough,” he says, “and it is tough in the modern world because there are so many temptations and things they want.”

But what if nobody is there to set boundaries?

“You read stories in the papers and it just makes you want to weep when you hear some of the parents describing how they just can’t control their children and, anyway, it’s not really their job.”

At the heart of the response, he says, must be the meticulous targeting of time, energy and resources.

“I don’t know if I can put a number on it – it might be 100,000 deeply broken and troubled families I think this is a real project for this Parliament in saying right, we know who they are, we know where they are, we know how you can help to strengthen a family. So let’s roll up our sleeves, not be embarrassed with worries about ‘is this a nanny state?’ but these families are costing hundreds of millions of pounds for the country, they are completely dysfunctional, they need help and we are going to get in there and actually try and turn this around.”

Nor does he rule out driving this from Downing Street: “There may well be more we need to do so the centre is really applying its grip and drive to this particular issue.”

Old device. Apologies. It was David Cameron talking to Matthew d’Ancona (above) in the Sunday Telegraph today. But you really could not tell.

Photograph by TERI PENGILLEY

Tagged in: , ,
  • smike e

    ” Old device. Apologies. It was David Cameron talking to Matthew d’Ancona (above) in the Sunday Telegraph today. But you really could not tell..”
    The absence of self-contradiction in the very first sentence rang bells that it wasn’t your cuddly one. But carry on, JR, the clown’s hat becomes you well.

  • roblun

    When Blair came to power he said there were 3 priorities- education , education , and education – and he was right .
    However after 13 years of Labour ,30 % of 11 year olds cannot read or write and 25 % of 14 year olds have the mathematical ability of 7 year olds . 
    Says it all about ideologically driven socialist governments , silliy teaching methods , and no discipline in shools ..
    Lets hope Michael Gove is not distracted from trying to get the broken education system fixed . That would be one way to reduce the number of “broken families”.

  • jscf

    you got married to protest social inequality? I got married for love! ;)

  • OnTheWayOut

    You really could tell – I read it and thought “Tony Blair doesn’t really believe this, does he?” Maybe he did in 1997, but I doubt that he really thinks anymore that “we know how you can help to strengthen a family”.

    I’m surprised that no-one’s pointed out that these problems will all go away when the Sure Start generation come of age.

  • Kamal

    Michael Gove is a moron.

  • Jamie Harrop

    There is an unsurprising crossover between a centre right Labour PM and a Conservative PM trying to pull the right of his party towards the centre. Some of you guys have been enjoying our blog article. We have a new weekly debate, and this week involves Tony Blair. Have a look and get involved, hope you enjoy it!

Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter