London: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has dismissed the Government's claim that the recent riots in London and other cities showed that the British society is in "moral decline" as he warned that "muddle-headed analysis" of a broken society threatens to harm the country's image abroad.

In rare comments on British politics since standing down as Prime Minister in 2007, Blair said the riots were "an absolutely specific problem that requires a deeply specific solution" by politicians.

The "big" cause of the riots in England was "alienated, disaffected youth... outside the social mainstream," Blair wrote in a newspaper.

He pointed to a group of people "outside the social mainstream and who live in a culture at odds with any canons of proper behaviour".

"Focus on the specific problem and we can begin on a proper solution," he said.

During a speech on Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron said that he was determined to tackle a "slow-motion moral collapse" in Britain and mend the country's "broken society".

He attacked the influence of human rights legislation and claimed that some of the worst aspects of human nature had been "tolerated, indulged – sometimes even incentivized – by a state and its agencies that in parts have become literally demoralized".

But Blair warned that "muddle-headed analysis" of the riots may result in wrong policy responses.

He also dismissed claims the UK was in the grip of a "moral decline".

"Elevate this into a highfalutin wail about a Britain that has lost its way morally and we will depress ourselves unnecessarily, trash our own reputation abroad, and worst of all, miss the chance to deal with the problem in the only way that will work."

Blair added that politicians' responses to the four days of rioting and looting created a danger of the "wrong analysis leading to the wrong diagnosis, leading to the wrong prescription".

He went on to say: "The key is to understand that they aren't symptomatic of society at large. Failure to get this leads to a completely muddle-headed analysis of what has gone wrong. Britain as a whole is not in the grip of some general 'moral decline'.

"The truth is that many of these people are from families that are profoundly dysfunctional, operating on completely different terms from the rest of society, either middle class or poor.

"This is a phenomenon of the late 20th Century. You find it in virtually every developed nation," Blair added.

(Agencies)