U.K.'s Blair launches plan to tackle anti-social behavior

Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a plan Tuesday to tackle anti-social behavior, including special classes to coach parents on how to control unruly youngsters. Blair has made restoring respect to British society a key priority for his third and final term in office and is targeting issues such as binge drinking, drug abuse, school truancy and petty crime in blighted urban communities.

Measures will include stronger powers to evict problem neighbors from their homes and a new school information program to teach children about decent behavior.

"The vast majority of people are well behaved, decent and respectful. We are only talking about a minority of people. We have got to get past the idea that the so-called civil liberties of that minority come ahead of the civil liberties of the vast majority of decent people," said Blair, in a round of television interviews Tuesday. Political opponents quickly accused the government of rehashing existing policies and said the action plan was a gimmick.

"If the prime minister is serious about helping families and communities to create a safer and more respectful society, we will support him," said Mark Oaten of the opposition Liberal Democrats. "It is an enormous challenge and it cannot be achieved with this government's usual mishmash of gimmicks and spin,” reports the AP. I.L.

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