Blair targets 'family values' as a platform for Labour

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Indy Politics
TONY BLAIR, the shadow Home Secretary, set out yesterday to recapture for Labour the concept of 'family values' from the Tory party, writes Colin Brown.

In a speech that will be seen as part of a strategy to redefine socialism, Mr Blair said 'the family' was the starting place for combating crime.

'The left, until recently at least, often seemed inhibited about discussing the family because of the view that individual freedom in lifestyle could not be constrained by any particular form of social unit.

'The right is full of platitudes about 'family values' but has actually watched the decline of them with almost total equanimity. The result is that one absolutely crucial area of our lives, with a profound and acknowledged impact on crime and social disorder, is left largely uninhabited by anything resembling policy or strategy,' he told a conference in Alloa.

Mr Blair said the left had surrendered the high ground to the right on personal responsibility and the significance of the family. But he added: 'If the old left tended to ignore the importance of the family, the new right ignores the conditions in which family life can most easily prosper.' He said Labour's vision of the family, and policies to support it, had to recognise family break-up along with the need for discipline in schools, responsibility and citizenship.