Blair: My original analysis was misguided

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Tony Blair has said that his original analysis of anti-social behaviour and problem families was misguided ten years ago.

Writing in an article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Blair said that at the time he saw the breakdown in society as the principal cause for anti-social behaviour and wished to get away from the right's stance of punishment over investment.

The prime minister noted that at the beginning of his Labour tenure, being tough on the causes of crime was all about social investment and the nature of society as a whole being shaped by policies such as the New Deal and Sure Start.

Since then Labour has embarked upon a series of anti-social behaviour laws, such as the much maligned Asbos, to tackle crime from a more direct angle.

Mr Blair argues that this has proved productive, although much of the anti-social behaviour policy has since been seized upon by Conservative leader David Cameron as a Labour failure.

Mr Blair said: "What I have learnt over these ten years is that the original analysis I had was incomplete and therefore misguided, ie, guiding us to the wrong policy conclusion, not in the sense that investment in poorer neighbourhoods and regeneration was wrong - it has been absolutely right - but in the sense that it will not deal with this small and unrepresentative minority.

"Likewise, when David Cameron argues that anti-social behaviour laws are 'counter-productive' because we all have to take responsibility, that is also misguided. Repealing anti-social behaviour laws is the last thing we need. And it's not the state that is using them. It is local communities; and, where used, they make a real difference."

As the prime minister evaluates his legacy, Mr Blair is attempting to show that Mr Cameron is following a similar path to a 1990s' Blair in believing that social reform will cure all ills.

Ahead of the Scottish parliament, Welsh Assembly and local elections on May 3rd, many commentators are continuing to speculate on when Mr Blair will announce that he is stepping down after his ten years in office.

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