Iain Duncan Smith – what went wrong?

The mask slips: Iain Duncan Smith shows us all his true face.

On the face of it, he looked so promising, didn’t he?

When Iain Duncan Smith took up his position as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in 2010, it was as one of the architects of ‘Compassionate Conservatism’, a project that was the first to be announced by David Cameron after he became Tory leader in 2005.

The new minister had been involved with social issues ever since the theme of the Conservative Party spring conference in 2002 struck a chord with him – it was ‘Helping the Vulnerable’.

Apparently it touched on his beliefs as a devout Catholic, and came at the same time as he visited Easterhouse and Gallowgate in Glasgow, where he was struck by the run-down housing, visible signs of drug abuse and general lack of hope.

Critics within the Tory party said they didn’t understand his interest, as it seemed to involve him walking around housing estates. Liam Fox (now a disgraced former Defence minister) said it needed a context, such as stressing the role of the family in lifting people out of poverty. It seems he also lacked the deft communications skills that were necessary. Perhaps we should have listened to these criticisms.

Iain Duncan Smith later wrote the report ‘Breakdown Britain’ about the harsh realities of family breakdown, drug abuse and youth crime.

All of that promised a turnaround for the ‘Nasty Party’, with an emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged people to advance in society – a philosophy that many believed was vital for a party coming into power – albeit in coalition – at a time when the UK was facing its worst economic crisis for 70 years.

What a shame that it was all a lie.

George Orwell once, famously, wrote, “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.” To understand Iain Duncan Smith’s social security policy, insert the word “Conservative” before the word “boot”.

Just look at what he has done to the sick and disabled. People who rely on state support for their very survival have been subjected to a humiliating and highly-stressful regime of tests in order to keep their benefits – tests which are entirely pointless because it has been proved that only 13 per cent of them will be allowed to continue receiving their benefit indefinitely. The rest go into either a ‘work-related activity’ group, for people expected to be fit for work within 365 days, or are signed ‘fit for work’ and forced onto Jobseekers’ Allowance immediately.

At the time of writing, official figures show an average of 73 sick or disabled people are dying every week as a result of this Iain Duncan Smith policy. Every six weeks, more of them die than have been killed on active service in Afghanistan since the British Army moved into that country 10 years ago.

That is his worst crime – but not the only one.

He has raised the retirement age, meaning millions will have to wait longer for their state pensions.

He is forcing millions of benefit recipients to take less money by ‘streamlining’ their payments into a single Universal Credit, which will be more difficult to manage and will be governed by a computerised system that – at present – doesn’t work.

He has pushed hundreds of thousands of jobseekers onto a work programme that turned out to be more of a way for his friends in the private sector to take public money than a channel back into work. Figures released yesterday show that the government would have achieved better results if the work programme had never been put into practice.

He has taken jobseekers away from activities likely to lead them into fulfilling full-time work and pushed them onto ‘Workfare’ programmes, forcing them to carry out menial tasks like stacking shelves in shops, just to keep their meagre benefit money. The system means participating businesses don’t have to take on new employees, so unemployment remains high, and the state – in effect – subsidises those firms.

His benefit cap will lead to a rise in homelessness and child poverty.

In December 2011 he drew up proposals to stop “under-employed” people “topping up” their wages with hand-outs when they are capable of working for longer. Individuals will be told they must earn a minimum amount each week from their jobs and will face being stripped of their housing benefit and tax credits if they fall short, under the plan. He has not, to my knowledge, told employers that they must ensure they pay enough for this policy to work. Therefore we can assume that this is a plan to take housing benefit and tax credits (or Universal Credit) from low-earners – depriving them of their homes as well, as they go into debt with their landlords.

In short, far from helping to solve problems of poverty, homelessness, and crime (which is often related to these), his policies seem designed to make them worse! Despite being shown – at great length – the error of his ways, he has refused to be swayed and remains determined to stick to his homicidal course.

And this is strange, because this is a man who has personally profited greatly from state support.

His first job was taxpayer-funded military service, carrying bags for a Major-General. After six years of this, he left the Army and spent six months on the dole. You can guarantee he was getting housing benefit for it. Current plans would give a man that age only as much as if he was renting a single room in a shared house, and one must wonder how well this gentleman would have coped in that situation.

He then started a job, using the skills he had gained while being paid by the taxpayer in the Army – as a salesman for arms dealer GEC-Marconi. Remember, this is the man who would later play a major part in ‘compassionate’ Conservatism.

He moved on to a property firm, but after six months found himself back on the dole (and housing benefit, one presumes). Then he sold gun-related magazines for Jane’s Information Group.

Then he got elected to Parliament, in 1992. Every year since then, he has been paid more than most taxpayers earn, and currently receives £134,565 per year.

He has had four children and received child benefit for all of them. He currently plans to restrict child benefit, making it payable for only two children per household. He put all of his children through private school – with the help of his MP’s salary which is paid by, you guessed it, the taxpayer.

His wife’s record of work, since they married, totals 15 months as his diary secretary – for which the taxpayer gave her £15,000. It has been suggested that she did not, in fact, do any work at all while drawing this paycheck.

A more recent example of this behaviour pattern involves his policy adviser Philippa Stroud, who also receives cash from a political thinktank. Read about it here.

He lives rent-free in a £2 million Tudor farmhouse on his father-in-law’s ancestral estate in Buckinghamshire, with three acres of land, a tennis court, swimming pool and some orchards.

One would think, if anybody had reason to be grateful for taxpayer-funded benefits, and to understand how this funding can help improve the life of somebody on the dole, it would be this former jobseeker, whose salary is paid by us to this day.

What a small-minded, evil bigot.

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15 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith – what went wrong?

  1. Robert Maguire

    Extermination programme is working for the tories and the elite. M.P.s are really coining it in. Between Cameron, Ian Duncan Smith and Atos, we must be ready for a greater death toll among the weakest in society.

  2. Joan

    I doubt very much if IDS cares about benefit cuts due to his receiving them in the past. I expect that, compared to the family money, these benefits were merely un-noticed pocket change to him. His type will never see how the average man in the street lives, let alone those at poverty levels.

  3. Thomas G Clark

    Hi, have you got a link for the figures released yesterday on the work programme?

    Great conclusion by the way, a bit more concise than the conclusion to the last blog post I did on IDS

    “If a nefarious cretin like Iain Duncan Smith can work himself into a rage when confronted with the names of dead people (real people with actual lives that have been lost, and actual families that mourn for them) then I think I can be excused for allowing myself, for a moment, to express my feelings of revulsion at this horrible moral vacuum of a man in emotional (rather than objective journalist) language… Iain Duncan Smith is an odious shit.”


    Keep up the brilliant work


  4. Brian

    It’s probably true to say there is enough hot air in this blog to keep hundreds of pensioners warm this winter.
    Instead of all the politically blinkered opinions in what this government are doing wrong by cutting the welfare bill, how about using a little grey matter and suggest where to cut instead.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I disagree. There are a great many facts, and in fact I understand this article is being sent to the UN, in order to demonstrate what an absolute cad and bounder this Iain Duncan Smith person has proved to be.
      I would dispute your implication that my opinions are politically blinkered. I went into this government with my eyes wide open and have tried to comment on their policies from a position of sanity, rather than any partisan viewpoint. I am a member of the Labour Party, yes – but I’ll happily acknowledge there’s a lot wrong with Labour as well – especially when it comes to welfare and benefits.
      As for using the grey matter, that would not involve suggesting where to cut (although I could probably find a few places). Back towards the end of 2010 or early 2011, I did write down a series of ideas about how the government could invest in the country’s future. It has always seemed bizarre that a political party that tries to be the natural home of rich businesspeople is continually failing to accept the truism that you have to spend a bit of money in order to make a lot of it. “Speculate to accumulate”, to put it in a nutshell. I’m sure it’s on my computer somewhere so I’ll see if I can dig it out.
      That’s if anybody else wants to see it too?

    2. Lainey

      It doesnt take much grey matter to work out that IDS is doing his dammndest to set the working man against the vulnerable by constantly badgering about scroungers and the too lazy to work. Until recently I thought that if anything happened at leat the welfare system is there as a safety net. how wrong was i have been through the process of having claiming benefits due to serious illness. The humiliation faced by an individual is awful. The battles to get anything from the sytem forget it. Everyday the media badgers crap about benefits. I have met very few people who are happy living on benefits. Self respect goes out of the window. IDS has made it 10 times worse for these people. Only the other day it was said how do you feel that you work and next door they don’t. Well thats me know. my answer to that is I’d rather go to work than go to the DWP, be interviewed by ATOS or face a Tribunalbecause the sytem stinks and it will get worse.Yes there are indiviudals that have milked the system but they are few rather than many. IDS and the media concentrate so much on casusing unrest between the working and the sick and disabled that it is now something you don’t want to admit to.This blog shows the mind set of IDS andhow he is punishing people like me.

      After being a taxpayer for 30 years is it not my right to ask for help? I thought so but how wrong am I. In 3 weeks I loose ESA contributions based which is £420 per month why because my husbands income is taken into account despite me paying my own tax. Is that fair? I will get nothing> Will that take away my worry no, I won’t be able to work for another 12 months and get sweet fa from the sytem that I have paid into. No thanks to IDS I will then loose the only thing I have DLA

  5. Fiona

    I’m stunned! I have an interview on 6th Dec. with Atos, ……I’m starting to hope that the Mayans predictions come true, my life for what it is will be over!

  6. Flippy

    Only about three people in a hundred got sustainable work through the Work Programme although one out of ten were sanctioned in some way. So as far as sanctions go the Work Programme is a rip roaring success, i.e., it has managed to sanction three times more people so far than it got into jobs! Which might have been its purpose all along.

  7. Jem

    Where is the Labour Party? Once upon a time they would have sprung to the defence of the sick, helpless and the vulnerable.

  8. Hypatia

    Far from the ConDems intending to help ppl into non-existent jobs, perhaps, all along, the agenda has been to create a permanent slave underclass. During the 1700s, slavery was generally accepted as an unpleasant necessity, just as society currently tolerates, say, vivisection, abortion, or the Liverpool Pathway. Elements in the MSM will happily spin IDS’s regemented army of slaves as a compassionate alternative to their former lives, with the jobless accused of getting drunk and smoking; and the disabled, sick and elderly of being unambitious, ‘parked’ and ‘festering’. Even the puerile hate-speech hasn’t changed much from when it happened in Germany, and as the Fuhrer said in ‘Mein Kampf’, the bigger and more outrageous the lie, the easier it is to get away with.

    Having been raised to look back nostalgically on a Roman Empire and economy that flourished for centuries on slavery, many of our patrician govt toffs remain insulated by family wealth amassed via ancestors involved in the East India Company and similar. Such backgrounds are likely to colour their views on anti-slavery sentimentalism.

    Already the ATOS-related deaths of ESA claimants are being greeted with mainstream apathy. Let’s see how long it takes for all health & safety regs to be ‘relaxed’, where the rights of non-taxpayers are concerned…and for claimants themselves to be deemed not fully human so that human rights will anyway no longer apply.

  9. darkestangel32

    Don’t forget that single parents now have to pay to use CSA and will continue to be charged an ‘admin fee’ on every payment they receive for their children as part of the welfare reform bill.

  10. fiona

    As much as I agree with most of all the posts, I would like to see the points being made in layman’s terms so that the great majority of normal working people can understand it! I myself was lucky enough to get the message but friends that I have shown this blog too are a little intimidated and confused by some of the blogs. This is not by any means a pop at the blog, actually the opposite, because I feel if more people understood it, the more support you would have and something might finally get done …. before more more senselessly die.

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