The Importance of Respect: Tony Blair and his concept to turn 'The Angry Island' into a modern culture of respect
Publication date: January 2011
Digital Book format: PDF (Adobe DRM)
Since Margaret Thatcher's radical influence on the economic policy of the United Kingdom (UK) during the 1980s, many state-owned industries, but also municipal utilities have been deregularised and privatised in order to diminish the government's influence on economy. Today, the UK is a leading trading power and one of the most important financial centres worldwide. Moreover, the rate of unemployment in the UK is lower than in many other European countries. Although the British government has reduced its efforts to advance the growth of the so-called Welfare State since the 1980s, the present government under Tony Blair still follows most of the Welfare State's main ideas to ensure health, education, employment and social security for its citizens.
However, the modern UK still has to face a couple of problems which endanger a harmonious social life, although the British people live in one of the most prosperous societies in the world. Hooliganism, nationalism, vandalism and excessive alcohol misuse are certainly the most prominent national problems, which have already become part of the everyday life in some British communities. Since all these problems are certain forms of anti-social behaviour, which is usually based on a lack of self-respect or respect for others, Tony Blair presented his long-awaited respect agenda on the 10th of January this year. He introduced his Respect Action Plan, which is about his political initiative to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour, 'which lie in families, in the classroom and in communities.' (Respect Task Force 2006: 1).
Nevertheless, Blair's approach to 'eradicate' anti-social behaviour from society is rather controversial. Many critics claim that Blair's concept tackles the wrong causes for the loss of respect and therefore, they question the success of Blair's respect campaign.
In order to get a little more insight into the topic of anti-social behaviour and Blair's concept to re-establish respect in the UK, this essay will first try to work out how come that the respect has gone and morals have been brutalised in parts of the British society. Then, Tony Blair's Respect Action Plan to fight anti-social behaviour will be highlighted in more detail by pointing out its major aims and aspects, and finally, it will be considered whether Blair's concept can be a success or is condemned to fail.