Why is Iain Duncan Smith now demonising step-parents?

Together with the right-wing press, he has already persuaded the general public to turn on the sick, the disabled, and the unemployed. Now Iain Duncan Smith (or Insidious Dole-Snatcher, as he has been dubbed) is turning his sights onto so-called “broken” families.

Iain Duncan Smith is a strange, strange man. His latest speech is proof of this. In it, he tells us all why it is a bad thing for parents to break up with their partners and form new relationships.

Apparently it’s much better to stay locked into loveless marriages, creating myriad social and psychological problems for the children, than it is to accept that a relationship isn’t working and move on to something better.

The Crip-killer General turned his attention on so-called “broken” families last week, announcing a series of new “outcome measures” whose stated intention is to track whether his policies promote “lasting life change”.

(I think we can be sure that anyone who falls foul of Mr Smith’s odious standards will certainly endure “lasting life change” of some kind – like the average of 73 people per week who, during assessment for his Employment and Support Allowance, die. You can’t get a more lasting life change than death!)

The first of these new measures checks up on the proportion of children who live with the same parents from birth, and asks whether those parents have a good-quality relationship.

“We are driving home the message that social programmes should promote family stability and avert breakdown,” he said.

Let’s consider the implications of what he’s saying. He wants to keep families together – that’s a good thing, right?

Not always. Notice he’s not suggesting that he’ll do anything real to help families with problems. He’ll just check whether they’re happy or not.

I know a thing or three about families that break up. I’m a stepfather myself (well, my stepson and stepdaughter consider me that way, even though their mother and I never married). I got into the relationship after the father had left; mother and children were not a very happy family at the time. There were arguments and upsets – a lot of dysfunctionality.

This changed after I joined them. It took a while, I admit, but things started to change for the better. Some long-term issues haven’t fully healed but for the most part, things turned out all right. Nobody in the family is a criminal. The children – who are both now adults – have held down jobs, although my stepson’s time in a local theatre was cut short when the government cut its funding. Thanks for nothing, Mr Smith!

What I’m saying is, family break-up does not lead, inevitably, to social problems and crime, and Mr Smith does the people of the UK a huge disservice by implying this.

In fact, he’s attacking step-parents, single parents – anyone who does not fit into his narrow-minded opinion of what constitutes a proper family group. He sees us all as a problem that he needs to fix.

No thank you, Mr Smith! My family and I got along just fine without you!

And besides, what’s he going to do to help families with problems?

Is the Department for Work and Pensions going to come into family homes to measure whether children are growing up in “stable, loving families”? Or will private companies be paid to force couples to stay together, no matter what real-life problems this may cause? Is the government seriously suggesting abusive partners should be kept in family homes?

Are couples looking at benefit sanctions, if they decide to split up – in effect denying them the short-term help they would need to get back on their feet as individuals? This seems more likely.

In fact the only solid plan I could find was to hand over huge wodges of cash to private companies Prevista, Social Finance and 3SC – apparently to shoehorn youngsters into the state-sponsored slavery known as the “work programme”.

So it’s actually just a get-rich quick scheme for companies run by Mr Smith’s friends. Let’s all take a moment to remember how one company – I believe it was A4E but I sit ready to be corrected – took £400 per claimant, before handing them over to Job Centre Plus and a £300 work scheme. The £100 taken by the company – for doing nothing – was excused as an administration cost.

I suppose we could call it jobs for the boys (and girls).

… Just not our boys and girls.


  1. Angie November 4, 2012 at 6:44 pm - Reply

    Maybe he’s in a loveless marriage and can not get out of it and wants us all to suffer the way he is.

    • Gaz June 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      Hard to leave the cash cow innit!

  2. Maggie (@titiantart) November 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    The man’s a fool! A dangerous one at that.

  3. Winnie Davies November 4, 2012 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Does he really believe all the rubbish he is spouting. If people are in a violent relationship they need to get out and quick, an unhappy marriage is not a good basis for bringing up children. I get the feeling “Big Brother is with us” .

  4. Eric Greenwood (4727) November 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    ALL of the work programme providers get £400. It’s part of the contract. And they have done it to other groups. IDS is an avowed bible basher. So he wants to punish step-parents, punish those with more than two kids, punish the unemployed, punish the sick and disabled. I am afraid nothing surprises me, the rubbish he vomits.

    • Mike Sivier November 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm - Reply

      And yet the Bible calls for forgiveness. Isn’t it sad that people choose to read their own personalities into that book, rather than what it says?
      As for the work programme providers getting £400 – that may be true, but for that amount of money I would expect them to PROVIDE something. Passing people straight on to someone else and still taking £100 looks like fraud to me; nothing is gained for the money.

      • Ratty June 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm - Reply

        Maybe he only reads the OT?

  5. Denise Prideaux (@DRPrideaux) November 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Will any of IDS’s proposed measures to discourage the rampant sexual hedonism of which we are supposedly guilty apply to Boris the Man-whore? Is Cameron sleeping on the couch now that his “working” relationship with the Red Witch of Wapping is coming under scrutiny? Has this ridiculous initiative been wheeled out as a PR decoy because accusations about paedophilia in the establishment have touched the Conservative party too closely for comfort?

    I have a sneaking suspicion that only poor people, and mostly poor women, at that, will need fear that IDS will come sniffing their knickers for extra-marital shamejuice. What filthy, prurient, hypocrites the Tories are!

  6. Smiling Carcass November 5, 2012 at 4:59 am - Reply

    Perhaps if I were married to an heiress, I’d put up with a bit of abuse to get my hands on the money.

  7. Jo Watkins November 5, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

    He has started on families now that he has attacked everyone else. Maybe now people will start caring about what is happening to the Welfare State. No-one seemed that bothered when it was just the disabled.

  8. timeisherenow November 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Really…what the heck has it got to do with these people…the state is not the parent of parents…& really has no right to force it’s own beliefs & archaic views on any of us…especially when those views are held by those of psychotic dispositions…they all need locking up….

    • D February 19, 2013 at 11:29 am - Reply

      Sadly Smith is implying that if the state is giving you money then the government can do whatever they want with you and to comply or die. This country is being run by a government that thinks we should conform to their old fashioned views regardless of how hypocritical they seem. Duncan Smith is trying to act like it is the governments money that the disabled, sick and unemployed are taking and is trying to justify his actions by way of a dirty smear campaign against them whereas he will divert the anger of the low paid and dismally treated work force that the government has created by promoting corporate greed and telling them they are suffering because disabled, sick and unemployed people are taking up all of the money which is why your jobs are low paid.
      Smith is one of the lowest dirtiest hypocrites i have ever seen along with Cameron but this is what politics is all about now with the biggest liars being triumphant.

  9. Mods Reloaded September 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on loders blog and commented:
    This man is evil.

  10. Mike Donnelly June 11, 2014 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Its probably something to do with the bedroom tax exemption saying children from separated / divorced parents are allowed a bedroom in each house.

  11. Caitlin Witts June 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    This is just pathetic some people cant help splitting up with there partners, does he expect women in abusive relationships to stay with that person and live with them for the rest of there life! I think not!!!

    • Mike Sivier June 11, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      That question was asked at the time. It seems that’s exactly what he expected.

  12. Leoni Al-ajeel June 11, 2014 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    The reason most families break up is over money worries, bills come through the door from Gas and Electric, council tax, bedroom tax and love flies out of the window.
    Ok for IDS to make these stupid remarks but if he had no money how long would his relationship last. The stress of no money and bills to pay is bad for everyone, it causes stress, sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, mental illness, how can people function properly with such worries and having to go without food, but supposed IDS has not thought of that, and that does not surprise me

  13. Jon Gratton June 12, 2014 at 7:27 am - Reply

    I know why he is doing this it is his and his cronies crusade to destroy the social fabric of this country..
    Let us just look at what has happened since the idiot was given this job!
    His first tasks was to turn the public against all benefits claimants with his “shirkers versus workers ” rhetoric which even with the smallest of investigation was proved wrong as most of those he was attacking were in work!!
    Yes there were a lot of folk who were playing the system i.e. working and claiming but most signed off before he could catch them.
    Cheap victory but then he brought in the bedroom tax which only affected claimants.
    Another split between rich and poor..
    Then he employed ATOS who it has been shown had zero medical knowledge so understanding no English at all with just an A 4 sheet with tick boxes thousands of people were thrown off benefits by untrained uninformed foreigners brought in by him.Most were reinstated after appeal which cost us the taxpayers millions and many many deaths!!
    His “Flagship reform of the benefits system Universal Credit” has sunk like the flagship of the white star line.
    This has cost more in losses than he has saved by his cuts but it is not his fault??
    So he is not the Minister in Charge of the DWP then?
    Finally he has never been a success in any enterprise he has tried but DC selected him not for his ability but because he is a consummate liar and ignores the truth even when it is in letters 20 foot high .

  14. Ian Duncan June 12, 2014 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Lord, I do hope Ian Hislop and Salma Yaqoob roast his miserable, worthless arse tonight on QT. It might be the only time the BBC broadcast anything that might detrimentally affect this government.

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