Blair thought social behaviour could be "reformed" top-down, and in this, exactly missed the point of my work. Cultures hold together or fall apart for reasons that transcend power. On the housing estate in Chicago where I lived as a child, frail African-American grandmothers and Italian grandfathers issued something like ASBOs and these were likely to be obeyed: the grandparents commanded a moral authority which no policeman or social worker will ever possess. Of the 17,000 ASBOs issued from 2000 to 2008, 55% have been breached, so the new government is looking for something else.
Good social behaviour among adolescents is all about family countering peer pressure. This is not quite a matter of family "values": kids who routinely go to the pub with their parents get a different education in drinking than teenagers who only swill with each other. So too with meals: working-class adolescents who regularly eat meals with their parents have proved less likely to fall into crime than kids who clean out the fridge on the run. "Values" arise from the habits of everyday life; they are not abstract imperatives: no law could command people when to eat and drink, and with whom.Note the typical lefty parentheses around family "values". You can just see him doing that stupid American thing with hooked fore and middle fingers wiggling to show disdain for non-PC terminology.
Problem is, you sad old lefty, your argument coincides exactly with what those you dismiss as right-wing have been saying for decades. The matriarchs and patriarchs you recall no longer exist because their function was utterly - and deliberately - subverted by "progressive" social policies designed to turn the lower classes into clients of a state apparat manned by a new lower middle class of parasitic government employees.