The British Association of Social Workers has actively opposed Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs). It is the contention of this article that there is a pressing need to interrogate factors which are influencing and driving the ASBO agenda during the period of New Labour in Britain. The discussion begins by referring to the significance of keywords and phrases in social work and social policy. This is followed by an examination of the recent (re)appearance of concern about 'anti-social behaviour'. A critical overview of the White Paper Respect and Responsibility: Taking a Stand against Anti-Social Behaviour (Home Office, 2003a) is then provided. It is then argued that Tony Blair and former home secretary, David Blunkett, played distinctive roles in creating Britain's ASBO politics. This, moreover, is a politics which potentially narrows social work's role and purpose.