Iain Duncan Smith: the quiet man with so much to be quiet about

Iain Duncan SmithA universal welfare state is the essential bedrock of a civilised country. A civilised country ensures that no one goes without healthcare because they can’t afford it, no one is treated as if worthless because they cannot work, and that anyone who loses their job needn’t fear destitution for themselves or for their family if they don’t find another job instantly. A civilised country ensures that no one needs to work when they are too young or too old or too disabled or too ill. This is not a system that can be replaced by random acts of charity: to become civilised, we pay taxes and national insurance and we all benefit.

Iain Duncan Smith became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in May 2010 – a role he has held ever since, despite efforts by David Cameron to unseat him in the 2012 reshuffle. He has virtually no further-education qualifications and spent several months on the dole after leaving the Scots Guards in the recession of 1981. But the next year he married a very wealthy woman, the daughter of a very wealthy man, and he and his wife and four children still live in a house rented from his father-in-law on his wife’s father’s estate: he became an MP in 1992, inheriting Norman Tebbit’s safe constituency of Chingford. Whatever Iain Duncan Smith’s experience of unemployment thirty-two years ago, it’s safe to say that in thirty years he hasn’t had money worries – except when he became Leader of the Opposition and it was discovered he’d given his wife one of those plum “assistant” jobs which used to be a bonus for the spouse or child of an MP.

Betsy Fremantle Smith was paid £18,000 from Parliamentary Staffing Allowance. The Commons Standards Committee, investigating the situation in 2003, found that she was doing non-constituency work which should have been paid for out of Short Money. IDS was acquitted of deliberate wrong-doing and was not sanctioned of any MP benefits: but while his Department of Work and Pensions actively makes use of tip-offs to catch people claiming money they are not entitled to (whether they are doing so deliberately or out of the same honest confusion that led IDS to pay his wife money he was not entitled to claim) Iain Duncan Smith still harbours vindictive feelings towards the two officials who uncovered his own wrong-doing.

The difficulty with Iain Duncan Smith is not how to expose his hypocrisy, but how much of it can be fitted into a few hundred words. He has four children, yet argues that families with more than two children ought to be sanctioned: in 2009 he took six months paid leave without notice to care for his wife when she was desperately ill, yet has instigated changes in benefit to ensure that neither sick people nor their carers will be supported.

In 1981, jobless and unqualified, he took full advantage of the welfare safety net to claim benefits for months while looking for suitable work, yet in a recession as bad as that of thirty years ago he claims graduates are “snooty” if they don’t agree to work for Poundland for free. While attending further education for two short periods, IDS gained no qualifications, and asserts that shelf-stackers are more valuable than scientists. While benefiting hugely from MP expenses, Iain Duncan Smith tells many untruths about the cost of people claiming disability and welfare benefits.

[Note: Iain Duncan Smith claims he did not claim benefits in 1981, but lived off the bounty from the Scots Guards and stayed in his girlfriend’s bedsit without paying rent.]

Iain Duncan Smith has made many speeches in favour of law and order. Yet when IDS’s workfare sanctions were ruled unlawful by the courts, instead of accepting that millions taken unlawfully would have to be repaid and that people unlawfully made to work for commercial organisations for free had a claim to minimum wage for their hours (or, if determined to fight lawfully for welfare, proceding to the Supreme Court for a further appeal) IDS decided to have emergency legislation passed making his unlawful sanctions retroactively lawful.

Iain Duncan Smith lives in a large and comfortable home which he does not own and which it’s doubtful he pays market rent for, yet has instigated the bedroom tax. The idea behind the “bedroom tax” is that the housing shortage can be remedied not by building more social housing or by preventing bankers from gambling on house price rises, but by forcing people who live in social housing and have a “spare room”, to move out into private rented accommodation of a more suitable size. This won’t save money at any level. (Iain Duncan Smith calls this the ending the spare-room subsidy.)

In the UK, most homes are built with two or three bedrooms: family accommodation, built on the assumption that the average family has two or three children and same-sex siblings will usually share a bedroom. There’s flexibility in this: families where one person is disabled may need more rooms than average for equipment or an overnight carer or other special accommodations: parents may have children serving overseas or be the non-custodial parent whose children stay only at weekends or use their “spare room” for foster children.

Even where none of these apply, the idea that everyone who lives in a council house can easily find a new place to move to is itself false: even if it were true, moving home is expensive and disruptive: being evicted for non-payment of rent still more so. Most people whom the bedroom tax affects are in work – being forced to move house to a location not of their choice will massively disrupt their childcare, their travel costs, and their children’s education.

But Iain Duncan Smith calls the £14 per week that on average families in social housing claiming housing benefit will lose “the spare room subsidy” and complains that the term bedroom tax is inaccurate. To IDS, one of the Cabinet’s millionaires, living in subsidised housing for thirty years and earning over £130K a year with a £90K a year expenses budget, £14 a week may seem a trivial subsidy. As trivial as the £18,000 which he accidentally paid to his wife.

Update: Please sign: We call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions and No freeze or cut to minimum wage. Thanks!

Appendix: From the written evidence to Parliament it appears that although the scandal was called Betsygate, the problem seems to lie squarely with Iain Duncan Smith:

The other item I raised for discussion with Mr Paterson was an apparently cavalier attitude with which we appeared to be treating our most regular donors—those with private planes who frequently lent them to Mr Duncan Smith if requested. These issues were considered once again to be so sensitive that Mr Paterson was delegated to raise them with the Leader. It was against this background and these on-going concerns that I felt obliged to send my email at all.

With hindsight, the response was perhaps predictable. Although the email had been marked ‘high importance and sent to the most senior people at CCO, it was passed to Mr Duncan Smith first thing the next morning. I received a telephone call before leaving for work from Mr Duncan Smith who was extremely agitated and requested that I go to see him. I consulted Mr MacGregor by telephone and placed a call to Mr Baverstock who did not return my call. It transpired that it was Mr Baverstock who had raised the email with Mr Paterson who subsequently passed a copy of the email to Mr Duncan Smith. I eventually saw Mr Duncan Smith at approximately midday on Friday 31st January. After inviting me to sit down he became very angry and expressed his irritation at my raising the subjects in writing in the email. I accepted unreservedly his rebuke for committing the matter to written form but he advised me that he had already instructed the IT Department at CCO to expunge the email from the central server.

Mr Duncan Smith did not ask me for an explanation. He did not ask why I was concerned. Indeed, besides my own apology for having formalised the matter in the form of an email I did not utter another word as Mr Duncan Smith spoke without break. I was so distressed by his manner and conduct that I was reduced to tears in the meeting. He advised me in the strongest terms that I was to send out an immediate response and asked me to bring my own copy of the email into his office for his attention. He then in effect dictated exactly what the email was to say. I did not and could not agree with what he had asked me to write but it was absolutely apparent within the context of the meeting that I had one of two alternatives—I either wrote the email as he had instructed or I could draft my own letter of resignation. (Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Written Evidence, 13. Written statement by Dr Vanessa Gearson, 16 October 2003, In the matter of the investigation into the employment of Betsy Duncan Smith)

While Vanessa Grearson never became a Tory MP (she stood for the Cheltenham constituency in 2005, but it was a LibDem hold) and despite Iain Duncan Smith’s animosity and vindictiveness towards her, she does seem to have been well taken care of by her party.

Update, March 2015

Even now it looks sadly likely that Iain Duncan Smith, unapologetic enforcer of lethal sanctions, will retain the safe seat he was awarded in 1992.

Update, March 2016

On 18th March 2016, Iain Duncan Smith resigned, after the longest and least successful tenure on record as Secretary of State for the Department of Works and Pensions.


Filed under Benefits

81 responses to “Iain Duncan Smith: the quiet man with so much to be quiet about

  1. Disabled people only get spare room if needing overnight non redident carer. No exemptions for equipment or special arrangements.

    Otherwise grest article.

  2. Reblogged this on The SKWAWKBOX Blog and commented:
    Please take a look at this excellent post by Edinburgh Eye, which exposes Iain Duncan Smith’s singular lack of qualification for.. well, anything, really.
    This is the man who is the ‘architect’ of the benefit cuts that are hammering vulnerable people all over the country since Monday. Personally, I wouldn’t let him design me a garden shed. Mr Duncan Smith claims he could live on £53 a week ‘if I had to’, but who has poured scorn on a petition signed by many thousands of people, calling him to live on that sum for a year to find out what he’s inflicting on others.
    I think he’s a bit overpriced at £53 a week, mind..

    • I think IDS is actually bonkers! He hasn’t got a clue, doesn’t have any remorse, and is the most hated minister EVER! Psychopath comes to mind. I hope he and his barmy army of scavengers, are all made/held accountable for the Deaths of over 11-000 British Citizens….. may they R.I.P

      • Angela Edwards

        I 100% agree fiona, psychopath,evil, detestable nazi wannabee is iain duncan smith!! he needs a straight jacket & fast hes completely MAD!!! & It is beyond my comprehension how he is allowed to carry on? more deaths reported every single day!!!! do these poor peoples lives mean absolutely nothing?? which is why nazi wannabee fits him perfectly!!! class cleansing??? he & the rest of the arrogant tory murderers dont care how many lives are lost, as long as they get their fox hunt back? thats all i keep seeing & it makes me physically sick!!! the lot have to go! and now!!!! before anymore people die. though i fear their will be many more x

  3. Wil

    IDS doing what he thinks is best: floating like a corrupt blue flower on a sea of need………

  4. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    Here’s an excellent breakdown of why Iain Duncan Smith should never be allowed to even voice opinions on social security benefits in the UK, let alone formulate government policy on the subject. While Vox Political has covered some of the same ground in the past, this article brings what we know of this man’s hypocrisies together to make an excellent argument against him. Please read and share it.

  5. Reblogged this on patricktsudlow and commented:
    Some background information about Ian Duncan Smith, somebody who seems intent in taking Britain back to the Edwardian period.

  6. simplesusy

    That has to be one of the best researched and powerful blogs I have ever had the pleasure of reading… Ian Duncan Smith should resign…. or be sacked…. he is an INSULT to the British People… an arrogant, jumped up man who has never known what poverty is…. let alone what it is like to be homeless and starving…

  7. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9968031/IDS-challenged-to-live-on-53-a-week-by-man-who-gets-156.html the right wing counter offensive …the Herbert Gussets are saying that market trader should be shopped to the revenue and the social

  8. I think this is possibly your best written piece yet, I make a point of sharing almost all of your stuff on facebook. Keep it up, I’m right behind you.

  9. mark d.

    Some terrific porkies in his past, as well…
    ‘Newsnight reveals inaccuracies in Iain Duncan Smith’s CV
    ‘Aspects of Iain Duncan Smith’s CV, relating to his education, are inaccurate and misleading, an investigation by BBC Newsnight reveals.’

  10. Pingback: IDS – the most vile product of ‘welfare UK’ | Vox Political

  11. I liked the comment on twitter after IDS called the IDS-petition a stunt. he says: “IDS is a Cunning Stunt”. Couldn’t agree more!

  12. What an odious creature he is. I’ve never been a fan but my distaste has just grown. Read and shared.

  13. Kev

    “..While attending further education for two short periods…”
    Marconi in house staff college and an Italian language school, to be precise.

  14. Wil

    How can IDS’s wife hold her head up, unless she shares the same poison……

  15. Isn’t the real villainy that people IN WORK need so many subsidies, because successive governments (and Labour is every bit as culpable as Tories or Coalition) have conspired with business to keep wages low in the interests of being able to trumpet “we reduced unemployment”?

    Legislation for a realistic survivable RPI-linked minimum wage, and implementation of the European Working Time Directive which would limit hours worked and require employers to hire more people to do the available work should shift the costs on to industry and reduce the need for housing benefit and working tax credits.

    Of course it would increase prices for goods and services, but the middle class may find that more palatable than income tax or VAT rises: but the fact has to be faced that for the poor to have more, the ordinary middle class (not the demonised “rich” whose combined income wouldn’t be a spit in the bucket of paying for the NHS or state education or the army) must pay for it.

    I’d like to hear the quality newspapers talking more about how.

  16. John Davies

    I work as a Welfare Benefits Advisor – had a man on the phone today who was getting JSA of £111 a week for him and his family. The good old Job Centre found him a job working 16 hrs a week – he now earns £98 a week for him & his wife!! Good old IDS says everyone will be better off in work.

  17. The problem besides IDS being the nastiest most stupid bigotted men is this
    If wages had risen as they should (instead of the corporations and big businesses making so much profit for its shareholders,,and that dos include most of the present government)
    If wages had risen instead of shareholders benefitting so much, then there would be a bigger gap in the uneployed /employed.
    I think we in Britain have the lowest wages of the EU.

  18. Needs to put his money where his mouth is – out of touch!

  19. Judith

    I would add that it is not only civilised countries which support the whole population. When a WEALTHY nation such as the UK refuses to help its own citizens, refuses to support its own children and drives them into poverty and homelessness, something utterly despicable is going on. This man is a repulsive parasite.

  20. I like this. It should be printed out an posted on the notice boards
    of every town hall in the country.

  21. Pingback: Ian Duncan Smith gets a pasting … | crippencartoons

  22. anthony

    Iain Duncan-Smith’s correct given name is George Smith,that is if the people he says are in fact his parent’s

  23. susan maggs

    i am a 60yr old woman have been working part time as a cleaner for 3 yrs with my husband we lost our jobs last xmas and i cannot find work luckily my husband found another p/t cleaning job doing 24 hrs a week on a low wage we have to pay part rent/council tax got into debt with our utility bills and could not afford proper food i applied for job seekers only to be told working p/t my stamps are not up to date so cannot claim JS i have gone very depressed so my doctor gave me a sick note so i could claim ESA but have been turned down again my stamps are not up to date so all in all i cannot claim a single penny i am a human being and cannot get anything untill 2014 when i get a pension so sick of this Country

  24. When you look at the Tory party and it ministers you have IDS failed leader, William Hague failed leader. What more can you expect.

  25. lee

    If IDS was indeed made redundant and claimed unemployment benefits then surely his savings at the time (large redundancy payment) were infact well above the social security threshold for claiments meaning in fact that the tory minister for work and pensions was in fact “a benefits cheat”

  26. Patrick McGuiggan

    I Think IDS has much to be modest about. He joined the Scots Guards in 1975 and served for 6 years. Now I dont’t have much time for the military, but one thing they are good at is recognising and encouraging talent, when they see it. Anyway in 6 years IDS received 1 promotion from 2nd lieutenant to lieutenant, oh the dizzzy heights eh? Compare and contrast Enoch Powell joined as a private in 1939 ended as the army’s youngest Brigadier in 1945. As his military career progressed I’m sure a kindly senior officer took him aside and had a quiet word…”Not quite up to it, old boy” and advised him to move on. Possibly the source of his ‘wrath’ which he now visits on the poor, disabled people, and people in Social Housing. He truly is a vicious vile piece of work, completely and utterly without any talent, a rather dull and unintelligent man, the true face of the Tory party

  27. CompassionForThe Vulnerable

    Theft of Welfare Benefits under the Title of ” Universal Credit ”
    must be Opposed

    It is a Dictatorship when Politicians in their Lives of Cloud Cuckoo
    Land can just Bulldoze through whatever Rubbish they Like and
    the Docile Sheepish British Public just accept it that Politicians
    can Live in Houses Worth over a Million Pounds and the Poor are
    Messed About over Benefits

    Enough of Nazi Britain it is Time For a Nicer Britain

    Money Needs to be Spent on Welfare Benefits to Alleviate Poverty and
    Deprivation Not Wasted on Bureaucratic Codswallop to Cause Nazi Style
    Degradation and Suffering

    • Well said, this coalition and the tories in particular are surely claiming the crown of the Nazis of the 21st century and it seems ids wants to claim Himmlers crown for his very own….
      Sadly, I feel the British public are too easily led and have already fallen for the lies these people spit out on a daily basis

    • As a man who became disabled a few years ago due to a Neurological Illness I am no doubt that IDS is as far as I’m concerned the most dangerous man in in the Britain. He is using his power to systematically destroy the lives of the disabled. He lumps the scroungers and disabled together – That’s like taking BMW off the streets because Toyota has a problem!! After the Greatness of the Olympics it’s all gone belly-up !! So much so that as a writer submitting my work to a publisher, I don’t tell them I’m disabled !! I have heard so many upsetting tales from other disabled people it almost makes me weep !!

  28. Reblogged this on Is Disability Care Disabled? and commented:
    Systematically destroying a whole section of the community !!

  29. Shaun Crowther

    Everything I despise about the UK Tory Party manifests itself in this odious and grubby excuse for a human being. Surely job hunters who follow his example and conjure up a dodgy CV leave them open to future dismissal? I’m now beginning to wonder if IDS’s CV and the dossier which said Saddam had chemical weapons were written by the same person…!!!

  30. To the other end of the nation where we have Simon Kirby Brighton MP defending the indefensible.

  31. Tim

    Iain Duncan Smith is obviously the wrong man for the job. His ideas are all about making life difficult for families and the unemployed in the worst recession ever. When he came into office his immediate attitude was to treat every unemployed person as a criminal, but he himself admits to dodging paying the rent – an action that most decent people would never dream of. He has no higher qualifications and attempts to turn working class degree students into shelf-fillers at pound shops (enough said). He has no new ideas that don’t involve being horrid to people, who are placed in the most unfortunate of positions through no fault of their own.

  32. Pingback: 29th November 2013 | The Daily Cameron

  33. Reblogged this on Order Of Truth and commented:
    An excellent piece on Iain Duncan Smith – perhaps the most useless man in Britain.

  34. Trodden down hard

    Ian Duncan Smith is working from an ideological standpoint of the conservative party and this has been stated as such by David Cameron.
    Austerity is a word often used by the few who have a lot and so I D S is no different.
    I am currently out of work but looking after my mother in law after my wife died last year of a heart attack brought on by stress of moving home and the poor health of her mother but i will be expected to start the work fair program soon and so i will need to find a carer at great expense.
    I moved from the home i was renting for 30 years as the bedroom tax was to high to pay and walking past just the other day and Ecuadorean family have moved in to what was once my home and all i have now are memory’s of better times.
    I served in the Army for 9 years and use to do a lot of charity work but now i wonder if that was the right thing to do as i look around and see the poverty in my own area and i see many angry teenagers with no work and no real training and i feel that when the summer comes it may be a tinderbox ready to go up as it always tends to do when the Conservatives are in power, coalition or not they are heading the show.
    I close now as the local library is due to close and in a few weeks it will close down for good so i will not be able to use email etc so i expect to be sanctioned for around 3 months for being poor? as the local Jobcentre now has two large men at the door just in case some one gets to frustrated and can be thrown out in the gutter, I wonder if the Queen pays bedroom tax?, a little thought as i ponder the bleak future that lies before me and many others as after all working from 16 years old then out of work leaves you empty and desperate and the many other thoughts that transcend the mind in such quick succession and the future is indeed bright if you have the money and health and youth.
    It is sad and yet this is 2014 Britain and by a chance of birth i was not born into royalty or a lordship yet i have always thought the upper crusts were simply crumbs gathered together.
    I will now await the re enactment of the POOR LAW as it use to be known yet why do i hate the current crop of conservative and liberal democrats (Wets) as some may even take the matter further and cause problems with being home grown activists born from the very poverty they live in and i feel they will be hard to stop with such a cause but why has it come to the point of revolution in this once safe nation ?.
    Good Bye and good luck i feel we are going to need it

  35. wakeupbeforeitstoolate

    Reblogged this on Wake Up Before It's Too Late and commented:
    Still very much applies today, nothing has changed…WHY hasn’t it changed??

  36. Roger Smith

    IDS is misunderstood, the man is not the monster he’s made out to be and i for one think that he’s a very good minister and the best man to head The DWP.
    If only there were more people like him the world would be a much better place.

  37. james banville

    Duncan Smith is a gutless, bed-wetting piece of sewer filth. with soft hands and a soft belly. He wouldn’t piss on a crippled orphan if the child was on fire, no he really wouldn’t. He is a true enemy of the people and is incapable of empathising or sympathising with anyone but himself, and that does include his own children. He is a psychopath and a sociopath rolled into one. If a cry for help goes up you’ll see this dirty yellow coward run like hell – in the opposite direction.
    The good news is, is that like the rest of us he won’t get out of this world alive, and the older a clock gets the faster it ticks

    • Wil

      IDS is a simple simulacrum: a fake imitation of a human being – all of the bits with none of the essential content. In a very real way he is as P Larkin explains a “Hollow Man”…
      As rightly put he is a sociopath and psychopath: incapable of even the most basic level of feeling that an ignorant owner would feel.ill-trained pit bull. But importantly he can, however, manufacture false feelings and demonstrate idiopathic human behavior as a cover for his .appalling deficiencies. Wallowing in his falseness and his mis-guided belief that wealth, power and notoriety in some way,allow him to re-interpret the harm he is inflicting. on people as the vain glorious right of a Knight.determined to follow his master and create good for all………..
      . .

      • Roger Smith

        I don’t understand all this hatred for IDS, can anybody tell me what he has done that is so wrong.
        All i can see is that he’s making a few scrounging “disabled” people do something for our hard earned money instead of take, take, take for doing nothing like they always have done before. And don’t get me started on the other scroungers
        He’s a Top Bloke

        • I wonder who pays you to leave these comments?

          • Roger Smith

            No one pays me, i just think that people should leave IDS alone and let him get on with his work, i just happen to think he’s doing a marvellous job and all he gets is abuse

          • Wil

            I do not believe that you are on your own and not subject to another’s control. To put to paper what you have suggests a complete submission to the politics of hate and a membership of an organization determined to fulfill the aims of said politics.
            Whilst I am certain you can shine your own shoes you rely on somebody else to tell you why and when. Wake up, stop looking in the mirror of your own fantasies:
            People are dying as a result of IDS and actions, whilst thought out by others, he enacts and enforces. The man is a pirah and sucks on the spirit of others.

          • No one pays you? You work for the Department of Work and Pensions for free? (I don’t usually bother looking this kind of thing up, but all of the comments you’ve left here were sent from Wesley’s Cafe, Methodist Central Hall, Westminster) …right next door to the Department of Work and Pensions. Very handy for coffee or lunch break.

    • sandra bowes-rennox

      you got that right James.

  38. Wil

    From one idiot to another: IDS falls far short of the mark that fully describes a human being. For example: Compassion he id totally devoid of any.To freely offer compassionate support to another human being can not only deepen our experience of our individual self it can help us to engage with another at a deeper level, lifting and enriching our mutual experience(s).In terms of society to willing and able to freely give to the support of another in need directs and determines the growth of more holistic legislation.

  39. Roger Smith

    I think that the idea that IDS has come up with to give benefits claiments (scroungers) a “Smart Card” so they can only buy essentials like food instead of wasting it on luxeries like booze and cigarettes is a marvellous idea although i think it should go even further by also stopping them buying non essential unhealthy foods like crisps, sweets, junk food etc. and perhaps only letting them purchase the Supermarket’s budget label eg. Sainsbury’s Basics or Tesco Value or maybe limit them to shopping in Aldi or Lidl
    3 cheers for IDS for having the guts to do what’s best for Britain

    • Sarah Foremean

      Only a very tiny minority of unemployed people on benefits could be classified as ‘scroungers’. The great majority would much rather be working. Very many people on benefits are in work – a couple both working full time on minimum wage would be getting I think 4/5ths of the income needed for subsistence-only living. A ‘smart card’ system is just a means of giving business to some cronies of people in government. It has never been shown to make any difference to substance abuse or addiction. You can after all just sell the food etc on, for cash. Thousands of people do not live near the cheap supermarkets. The value ranges are limited, so it would be vary hard to get a healthy diet on your local supermarket’s ‘value’ offerings (less product in the tin, much of the time, but OK for fresh foods). Smart cards only serve to prevent people from buying where they can afford it, in Poundshops, at market stalls, for eg. It is humiliating to have to use smart cards, it strips the self-confidence out of people. This makes it much harder for people to even conceive of themselves as people capable of getting skills and jobs. The only possible reasons for introducing smart cards are to bring profits to whatever companies have been lobbying for such a windfall, and to deliberately be cruel to people who are out of work, sick or disabled, or on low pensions. You can talk about benefits scroungers when we have full employment, jobs for everyone, rather than a shortage of jobs and a system that subsidies businesses that pay low wages.

      • Iona

        Jeez. Just shows you exactly how the Tories think. Next the poor of society will be forced to wear identifying armbands…..

      • Alex Marshall

        While you are right to say only a tiny minority on benefits could be described as scroungers, the majority of people have long ago accepted the propaganda spewed out by some politicians and right wing newspapers. I don’t need to name them.

        • Sarah Foremean

          So they have, and it is frightening to see how easily people are swayed, led into blind hostility towards the selected scapegoat groups.

  40. In case anyone’s thinking of responding to “Roger Smith”, I’d note that all three IP addresses he’s used to leave comments here are located at Wesley’s Cafe, Methodist Central Hall, Westminster (yes, with free wifi) right next door to the Department of Work and Pensions. In short, we have here an eager-beaver brown-noser who works for Iain Duncan Smith leaving laudatory comments about his boss. My guess is, Roger Smith isn’t his real name and the email address he’s using isn’t his real email address, but as he hasn’t been abusive, only silly, I’m okay with him continuing to leave his comments every time he gets a coffee break.

    • Sarah Foremean

      Civil service – should be unbiased. It is so unprofessional to just soak up the propaganda and dotty idealism of whatever party is in power. In my experience most civil servants are neither so servile nor so gullible, and have the brains and wit to see through the politician’s nonsense. But I have encountered a few who had long lost any capacity they might have had for using reason and logic, or for taking a sensible meta-perspective of their temporary overlords. I have also come across a few who just sit around apparently getting stoned, so when any taxpayer rings in with a query they just get a stream of unfunny jokes and giggling.

    • Roger Smith

      I neither work for or know IDS i just happen to agree with most of the things he is trying to do

  41. Roger Smith

    Sorting out scroungers

    • Sarah Foremean

      The number of actual scroungers among those on benefits is minute. He is causing unnecessary suffering to people who either are genuinely ill or too disabled to work, parents of very young children, and the working poor whose wages are so low they are insufficient to live on. Including many on zero hours contracts. He seems to do it with great relish, as if he absolutely loathes them and wants them to suffer.

  42. lex

    Why be so hard on IDS, after all he is only a cypher. During years of opposition Cameron and Osborne worked tirelessly on their grand policy of social engineering, the complete deconstruction of the welfare state, but they realised this would be a minefield, so they needed a front man and who better than IDS a failed soldier, politician and party leader.

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