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The news in tweets: Monday, July 17, 2023

Ruling-class privilege: there’s no ‘class ceiling’ for grotesqueries like Rachel Reeves and Keir Starmer – they are laughing at you when they say they can’t do anything to help you. Remember: it is political choice that has dumped the UK in its current crisis.

Backlash against Starmer’s Substitute Tory Party grows as he insists he’ll do nothing for ordinary people

It’s a good question. Jeremy Corbyn promised to provide dentistry on the National Health Service but Keir Stürmer is promising to deny it to more people (although he hasn’t said it in as many words).

He’s also planning to inject much more privatisation into the NHS, probably to complete the transformation of the service into nothing more than a banner under which public money may be passed to private companies that perpetuate illness and refuse to provide cover where it is not profitable, making healthcare a postcode lottery:

More privatisation?

Read this:

There’s the problem with more privatisation in a nutshell. Once these private health bloodsuckers get a monopoly on the provision of care, they’ll push prices through the roof – knowing that you and I will have to pay for it, no matter what.

By supporting increased private involvement in healthcare, Starmer supports this plan to drain the public purse of its funds and effectively put you into debt to grotesquely rich corporate fatcats – forever.

He’s being nicknamed #SirKidStarver because he won’t end the two-child limit on child benefit and is therefore continuing to impose poverty on millions of children, nor will he provide free school meals for everybody who needs them.

Stürmer’s ‘Right-hand Liar’, Yvette Cooper, was pressed to justify the policy that will deliberately keep a quarter of a million children in poverty and 850,000 more in increased poverty, on the morning media round. Judge her failure by this clip:

Labour’s answer to criticism is apparently to say we should vote for the Substitute Tory Party because its members have ancestors who were working class:

It seems Stürmer and all his little stürmtroopers need a lesson on how a Labour Party governs a nation. Here’s one:

The consensus opinion is increasingly that Stürmer is lying:

Thankfully not everyone, even in the Parliamentary Labour Party, supports the wholesale betrayal of Labour Party values that Stürmer is preparing:

And outside the party, some of us are already agitating for direct action:

The article states that Stürmer is actively planning to fail the nation on many levels:

– Climate change
– Renewables
– Transport reform
– The economy
– Public sector pay
– The NHS
– Social care
– Education
– Law and order
– Housing
– Trade unions
– Reversing Tory policy
– Support for local government
– Electoral reform
– Europe
– Interest rates
– Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
– Defence
– Inequality
– Taxing the rich

It calls for us to make Stürmer as uncomfortable as possible, for as long as possible, on all those issues until the pressure on him to reform becomes unsurmountable and he is forced to change.

How to do this?

– Inform yourself
– Join groups
– Talk to people
– Write to MPs, councillors and anyone else
– Phone in to the radio (you are likely to get on)
– Consider peaceful protest
– Join a union if it is appropriate for you
– Write a blog
– Comment here
– Tweet, Thread, use Mastodon, create a YouTube, TikTok or Instagram post.

But just don’t suffer in silence. Starmer has to know he is failing, already. Only then might he change, or be forced to. Things are far too serious to accept the dire policy options as those Starmer is now proposing. We all have to demand better.

And in the short term there is only one option: anyone who understands how bad the situation is at the moment must vote for anybody but Labour or the Conservatives. Who the other party to support may be will only be apparent locally.

The best places to start are at Somerton and Frome, Selby and Ainsty, and Uxbridge and South Ruislip on Thursday (July 20, 2023).

Where is the evidence that the Tories are ‘transforming’ the economy?

It seems that the only evidence of any such action by the Conservatives is a plan to close down what Rishi Sunak calls “rip-off” degrees that don’t guarantee a job to graduates.

It seems a strange demand – that degree courses guarantee a job to the people taking them. By that standard, shouldn’t they all be shut down and a multi-billion pound education industry destroyed overnight?

You see, the point of most degrees isn’t to fit people into a job; it is to teach people how to think. That way, they can work out how to get, for themselves, the job that best suits them. This policy reveals Tory ideology: they don’t want people who can think – they just want livestock who can be slotted into jobs that will make money for their friends and funders:

But it’s hard to tell, because it seems the Tories are doing their utmost to hide what they are doing – probably because the only people they are helping are themselves.

Example:

How about the way government departments under the Tories have been blacklisting media organisations that publish information that is critical of them? Here’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace apologising for such treatment of Declassified UK:

What else do they not want us to know?

Perhaps the fact that yet another Tory MP has been arrested – for sexual impropriety and misconduct in public office?

Perhaps the fact that 2022 was the worst year for real wage growth in nearly half a century since the early 1970s, meaning their fairy story that increases in your wages are fuelling inflation is a lie?

Perhaps the fact that they spent more than one-and-a-half times as much money on duff Covid-related contracts through their illegal “VIP lane” as they have allocated to the building of new NHS hospitals?

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#RishiSunak writes off £4.3 billion that he gave to ‘Covid fraudsters’

I didn’t claim self employment support from the Tory government during the first wave of the Covid-19 crisis – and even in the light of the latest revelation, I’m convinced I was right to do so.

That’s because, even thought Rishi Sunak has admitted he won’t be able to collect £4.3 billion of the £5.8 billion he mistakenly (?) dished out to fraudulent claimants of self employment support and the furlough scheme, you can bet he would have been chasing me for a share of the £1.5 billion he thinks he can get back – even though I would have claimed it legitimately!

I’ve had too much experience of the Tory benefit system to get involved in that. I managed to survive by my own means.

But the failure to recoup the money that was claimed by fraud raises serious questions – like this one:

Well? Rishi Rich and his friends have managed to give our cash away to their buddies with all their other schemes – why not this one?

It would certainly fit with the pattern of behaviour we have seen from the Tory government.

And it raises questions about Sunak’s integrity…

And where’s the outrage from the mainstream media?

At the end of the day, it’s another £4.3 billion that Rishi Rich has spaffed up the wall without carrying out due diligence. By rights, he should be resigning from his job because he has wasted public money for no good reason.

He won’t, obviously. No integrity, remember?

What he might do is tell us we can’t have particular service anymore, or he’ll be reigning back on them so that, for example, people in the North can’t have the NHS care that people in the Southeast get – because “northerners are tougher than soft southerners, right? That’s what they’re always saying”.

Seriously, the justifications would probably be sillier than that.

I think we need to take a closer look at the books, here.

Why can’t Sunak get the money back? What’s stopping him? We need to know.

Because from here, it’s not looking like he is unable to recoup that cash.

It seems more likely that he simply doesn’t want to.

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Is IPSO incapable of investigating standards at the Jewish Chronicle? Or UNWILLING?

Jo Bird: her complaint against the Jewish Chronicle over inaccuracies in its report about her was upheld; now she, I, and seven other victims of its falsehoods are demanding an investigation into whether the paper’s editorial standards have fallen to an unacceptable level. And guess what? We’re not the only ones.

Remember the letter to newspaper regulator IPSO that This Writer co-signed, requesting a Standards Investigation into the Jewish Chronicle after it notched up 28 recorded breaches of the Editors’ Code and four libel defeats in just three years?

It seems IPSO would rather forget about it.

Tasked with providing a respond by August 12, the organisation’s first reaction was to send a ‘holding’ letter, to which one of my co-signatories, Jo Bird, replied with a list of seven questions.

She then received another holding letter from IPSO’s head of standards, saying she was going on holiday but would get on the case when she got back, and that Lord Faulks, the IPSO chair, would respond on his own account ‘in due course’.

Ms Bird chased this – only to receive yet another ‘holding’ letter saying the head of standards was now sick, and she has written again to say that the questions she asked (When will Faulks write? How many JC breaches has IPSO counted? And others) don’t need the head of standards to answer them.

We expect to receive another ‘holding’ letter.

Meanwhile, there has been another ruling against the JC, involving two code breaches: https://www.ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/ruling/?id=29092-20 – that makes 37 breaches of the law or the code in 37 months, including seven code breaches and one libel settlement in 2021 alone.

Some of us want to know what’s going on at the so-called press regulator. It should not take more than a month to work out whether there are grounds to investigate the standard of reporting at a newspaper that, over the last three years, has broken the rules – and the law – an average of once a month.

IPSO is itself owned and run by newspaper bosses and owners. Are they concerned that an investigation may create a precedent, setting a bar for investigations that their own newspapers could pass? Are they opposed to an investigation because they like what the JC has been doing? And are they embarrassed by the fact that the JC has put them in an impossible predicament?

Well, their problem is about to get worse.

Hacked Off – the campaign for a national press that is accountable and free of political and commercial influence – is launching a campaign demanding an IPSO standards investigation into the JC, and pointing out at the same time that there are very strong grounds for IPSO to investigate The Times over Islamophobia, The Telegraph on bad science and The Mail on a whole range of subjects – today, September 20, 2021.

Suppose IPSO has been gearing itself up to reject an investigation – or to run a token inquiry and whitewash the JC.

It seems to This Writer that such a course of action is about to become much, much more difficult to justify.

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Trickster Coffey: she says disabled people should switch to Universal Credit – where they’ll be worse-off

Therese Coffey: you wouldn’t think she was trying to get her jollies by encouraging people to quit legacy benefits for Universal Credit with a false claim that they’ll be better-off, would you?

Did Therese Coffey get her doctorate in lying to people?

Having refused calls to extend the £20-per-week Universal Credit uplift to so-called “legacy benefits” that sick and disabled people receive – Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and others – she has suggested that they should claim UC instead.

People on Severe Disablement Premium (SDP) were unable to make that move until Wednesday (January 27) – when the Tories removed that barrier.

But charities have warned that this is a trap.

People with long-term illnesses and disabilities are more likely to lose money if they switch to UC and, once they have made the move, there is no going back.

It’s just another example of Tory discrimination against people with disabilities, that has reached new heights in the Covid-19 crisis, which they have used as an excuse for persecution.

People who’ve been on SDPs can get £120, £285 or £405 per month in transition payments – depending on their circumstances. But DWP officials have confirmed these payments “will be subject to erosion and cessation” over time.

And the Disability Rights UK group has claimed that, “after transitional help is eroded after time”, Universal Credit will be “significantly less generous” than legacy benefits for disabled people.

So the two-tier discrimination against people with disabilities in fact continues, no matter whether they are on “legacy benefits” or Universal Credit.

This Writer’s advice is clear: stay where you are. Don’t give Trickster Coffey the giggle she wants to get from hurting you.

Source: Fears as DWP chief urges disabled people to switch to Universal Credit from Wednesday – Mirror Online

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Bake Off judge quits Tories over food standards. She was fine with all the other horrific policies

The media – in this case, the Mail – want to draw your attention to the fact that Bake Off judge Prue Leith has ended her membership of the Conservatives over a policy that her Tory MP son supports.

Isn’t it more revealing that she was only upset by the policy that directly affected her?

The Tories could do anything to other people and she didn’t mind at all.

Austerity has killed many thousands – Leith was quite happy about that.

Homelessness and hate crime did not stir her from her work.

She didn’t even bat an eyelid when her son voted to starve English children who have been forced into food poverty by the Conservative Party’s policies.

But the possible arrival of diseased foodstuffs from the United States has outraged her enough to quit her party membership.

I don’t know…

Does she really think the population of the UK need to be protected from low-quality foods, after thinking they didn’t deserve protection from Tory-led austerity, hate and starvation?

Or is it a pose she thinks she has to take as a media personality on a food-related TV show?

Here’s the relevant part of the story:

Prue Leith has quit the Conservative Party after the Government blocked an attempt to enshrine high food standards in law.

A Conservative source told The Mail on Sunday Ms Leith has … cancelled her party membership after growing unhappy with the Government’s stance.

Ms Leith’s son Danny Kruger, the Tory MP for Devizes in Wiltshire, voted with the Government on the Agriculture Bill, defeating an amendment that would have protected British farmers.

And here’s the public reaction:

Yes indeed.

I have never watched Bake Off.

Considering the fact that it has employed a person like Leith, I can honestly say:

I won’t be watching Bake Off in the future, either. Who knows what other abhorrent views are held by the people working on it?

Source: Prue Leith quits Conservative Party in protest at Government’s stance over foods standards | Daily Mail Online

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Coronavirus: NHS debt write-off is further evidence that the Tories only see it as a money machine

Matt Hancock: he has cancelled £13.4 billion of NHS debt – but now we find that it didn’t really exist anyway, except as a way of penalising patients.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced last Thursday that the government is writing off £13.4 billion of National Health Service debt.

Why has no Tory health secretary ever done that before?

There can only be one answer: because they simply didn’t want to.

As Richard Murphy states in his Tax Research UK article, the NHS wasn’t actually in debt to anybody – the money was owed by the government to the government. It was an item of book-keeping.

That book-keeping element was created to introduce hugely-expensive bureaucracy into the health system, that “diverted massive effort into corporate management, PR, and accounting when none of that was needed” as a precursor to full privatisation.

And it also removed the “national” element from the health service because trusts that run deficits are penalised by the Tory system; they have to try to recover the deficit and if they fail to do so, then they are told to recover more the following year.

This meant they were increasingly less likely to be able to provide the health care that patients needed; the money had to go to debt recovery instead.

That means the NHS is no longer a service to improve public health; it is a service to provide money to the Tories.

(And that’s before we even mention the cash that’s being leached away in contracts with private companies, that ends up in shareholder dividends instead of in treatment for patients.)

It’s as Noam Chomsky stated when he described the steps leading to privatisation: you defund, the system stops working, people complain, then you say the public system doesn’t work and commercialisation is the only way forward.

In other words, the Tories have been creating a lie that looks plausible, in order to fool us all into accepting the imposition of a private health service that we won’t be able to afford.

Hancock has written off the debt in order to make it possible for health trusts to buy in the resources they need to fight the coronavirus – which is good, right?

But when the crisis is over, the Tory system will still be in place, putting trusts in the most vulnerable parts of the UK back into debt and increasing health inequality.

Mr Murphy says the answer is to restore full nationalisation to the health service – ending the pointless bureaucracy that negates huge chunks of the annual NHS budget.

At a time when we’ve seen how the Tories left the NHS unprepared for coronavirus, he makes a good point.

Source: Writing off NHS debt of £13.4 billion is a charade. What is required instead is the renationalisation of the NHS: nothing less will do

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Tory corruption: Rich MPs get food and drink debts written off. If you’re poor, you have to pay!

Parliament: Apparently it’s not where the country is governed, but actually a place in which the filthy rich are encouraged to steal money from the very poor – nowhere more blatantly than in the bars and restaurants.

It’s the highest office in the land, yet who do we vote into it? The lowest excuses for humanity.

The Torygraph, of all mainstream rags, has revealed that four MPs, along with a peer, 21 tradespeople and a member of staff at the Houses of Parliament, have had outstanding food and drinks bills written off, to the value of more than £17,000.

They had refused to pay.

MPs earn a minimum of £77,379 a year, and peers take home £305 for every day they attend Parliament. But apparently that isn’t enough for them and they need to default on the bills in that organisation’s bars and restaurants – establishments that are subsidised by your taxes, remember.

Imagine if you had racked up a huge bill at such an eaterie – and then failed to pay. Do you think the owners would write off your bill?

No?

Do you think you’d be taken to court and forced to pay a lot more instead?

It seems more likely, doesn’t it?

So the question arises: Why are these – unnamed – culprits being allowed to force us – the taxpayers – to foot the bill for their gross indulgences?

I don’t know about you but I think that’s misuse of my tax money. We already pay these entitled oafs enough, especially considering the state of the nation, which is thanks to them.

It’s another example of Tory corruption. They allow this because they think our money belongs to them.

We need to find out who the thieves – yes, they’re thieves – are.

And we need to clear them out of Parliament.

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It’s all falling apart for Theresa May

Even the backdrop fell to pieces during Theresa May’s conference speech.

The ‘F’ fell off the slogan behind her. changing it from “A country that works for everyone” to “A country that works OR everyone”.

It rendered the line meaningless but is symbolic of a speech in which Mrs May’s voice cracked dozens of times and which she must have been delighted to have finished.

The ‘E’ subsequently fell off the other end of the slogan’s bottom line, after Mrs May had (mercifully) stopped talking.

What a disaster.

ADDITIONAL: I just found this image on Facebook, which sums up the whole fiasco:


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Cameron’s lies show he must go NOW, not later – and all the other Tories with him

The message is: The UK is huge. Cameron is small. His Tory party is smaller still. They are not strong. He is not a leader.

The message is: The UK is huge. Cameron is small. His Tory party is smaller still. They are not strong. He is not a leader.

David Cameron took to the stage and lied bare-faced to a no-doubt hand-picked audience of hired-handclaps in the finale of one of the most heavily stage-managed – read fake – Conservative Party conferences in history.

Not for the Tories, the open debate and honest disagreements of Labour! Even Boris Johnson’s dissent over tax credits was a cynical piece of attempted-press-manipulation (he voted in favour of the plan to cut tax credits a few weeks ago).

So Cameron mouthed a series of lies, platitudes and nonsenses similar to those of George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith on Monday and Tuesday.

“The British people are decent, sensible, reasonable, and they just want a government that supports the vulnerable, backs those who do the right thing and helps them get on in life. Good jobs; a decent home; better childcare; controlled immigration; lower taxes so there’s more money at the end of the month; an NHS that’s there for them, seven days a week; great schools; dignity in retirement,” he said – and that’s probably about right. But then he said: “That is what people want and that is what we will deliver.” A monstrous lie.

Cameron’s government:

  • Attacks the vulnerable (look at tax credits if you like, or the row over the many deaths of incapacity benefits claimants that could have been avoided if Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith had wanted to);
  • Backs tax fraudsters (the HSBC scandal);
  • Offers poor, zero-hours-contract jobs;
  • Pushes the poor out of their homes (bedroom tax).
  • The UK has been rocked by huge paedophile scandals on Cameron’s watch;
  • The Conservatives have failed to control immigration;
  • Lower taxes mean fewer public services because the money isn’t there to pay for them. The main beneficiaries are the very rich;
  • The NHS is facing its biggest-ever crisis thanks to Tory mismanagement – which is all part of Cameron’s plan;
  • Our schools are being sold off to private companies who intend to profit from them – your child’s education is of secondary interest; and
  • The Tories are being encouraged to cut benefits for pensioners – who will either be dead by 2020 (because of the removal of their benefits?) or will have forgotten who robbed them.

So Cameron’s first claim about the joy of Conservative government was a tenfold lie. It’s impressive – for all the wrong reasons.

And he knows he’s on shaky ground now. A new power has risen in the Labour Party to challenge the basis on which Cameron’s policies are founded – and did exactly that, on the doorstep of the Tory conference, this week.

So Cameron attacked Jeremy Corbyn with all the venom he could muster: “Thousands of words have been written about the new Labour leader. But you only really need to know one thing: he thinks the death of Osama bin Laden was a ‘tragedy. No. A tragedy is nearly 3,000 people murdered one morning in New York.” He was saying that Jeremy Corbyn is soft on terrorists and unsympathetic to their victims. Another lie.

Jeremy Corbyn wanted Osama Bin Laden to face justice for his many crimes. He wanted the man to pay for all the deaths he caused, and he wanted the terrorist alive to provide details of his network of co-conspirators.

By attacking Corbyn’s stance, David Cameron was in fact saying that both he and the Conservative Party support the murder of Bin Laden, rather than his capture, and that they are glad Bin Laden’s co-conspirators were allowed to continue, in freedom – perhaps to form IS or Boko Haram.

But we all knew that Cameron is a liar.

So here’s a statement that he made in the belief that it is true (we have to assume he intended to lie with the others): “I’m starting the second half of my time in this job.”

For the good of the United Kingdom – and the wider world – we must work hard to turn that statement into a lie.

Cameron doesn’t deserve to be Prime Minister of Britain for the next five minutes, let alone the next five years.

But the only way to get him out is to attack him, on every level, at all times, and all together.

Expecting someone else to do the heavy lifting won’t be any good at all.

So why not start by reading Cameron’s speech – The Guardian has a transcript here – and then getting in touch with your local newspapers, MP, TV stations, and Cameron himself and raising any or all of the moments at which he lied to the nation.

Put them all on notice. We know they are not to be trusted.

We know they have to go.

We have to make sure that happens soon.

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Why should we endure this disrespect from a public servant?

Awkward indeed: Iain Duncan Smith spent today's meeting with the man he tried to blame for the Universal Credit fiasco - DWP permanent secretary Robert Devereux - sitting next to him. When Debbie Abrahams laid into Mr... Smith with the words quoted in the article, Mr Devereux was staring directly at him with an enormous smile on his face.

Awkward indeed: Iain Duncan Smith spent today’s meeting with the man he tried to blame for the Universal Credit fiasco – DWP permanent secretary Robert Devereux – sitting next to him. When Debbie Abrahams laid into Mr… Smith with the words quoted in the article, Mr Devereux was staring directly at him with an enormous smile on his face. [Image: Political Scrapbook]

“I can say with the strongest feeling my concern about the hubris you have demonstrated and your tone to this committee. You haven’t explained – certainly to my own satisfaction, and I am sure anybody that has been watching will draw their own conclusions – you have not made any satisfactory explanation about how you have informed, and kept this committee informed, about the difficulties that the Department was experiencing. There has been obfuscation, smoke-and-mirrors, even up to a few weeks before the report from the National Audit Office. The memorandum that was released in August was clearly saying that everything was fine and dandy. It is, clearly, not. I’ll give you one more opportunity to answer, so you can explain to this committee why there is such poor information provided by your Department.”

These were the words of Commons Work and Pensions committee member Debbie Abrahams to Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith, just a quarter of the way through today’s (Monday) clash over Universal Credit and his Department for Work and Pensions’ appalling book-keeping.

Mr… Smith’s response typified the attitude that she was decrying. He said: “Well, I just don’t agree with you, and I don’t agree that we have done anything else but be open and honest about what the issues are, as and when they have been identified, and what we would do about them, as and when we had made our decisions about that.”

Oh, is that so? One of the first questions asked in the meeting was why Iain Duncan Smith did not tell the committee he had decided to conduct a ‘red team review’ of Universal Credit when he gave evidence to it in September 2012. He said the results had not been ready at the time: “With respect, I don’t have to tell you everything that is happening in the Department until we have reached a conclusion about what’s actually happening; I think I will take those decisions myself and account for the decisions that were taken.”

(He said “with respect” a lot. It became clear that he meant the exact opposite.)

Listening to the evidence again, it seems he tied himself in a knot, because he said the review had reported back in July of 2012, meaning there would have been plenty of time for him to make a full and formal account of his actions to the committee, long before September of that year.

His response? “It was an internal review.”

When committee chair Dame Anne Begg said the committee should have been told the plans were being reviewed as a matter of courtesy, and the September committee meeting would have been the perfect opportunity to explain that a review had taken place, “but at that session you were bullish about how successful everything was, Duncan Smith responded: “With respect [see what I mean?]… I don’t think this committee can run the Department.

This initial exchange set the tone for the entire meeting. Committee members asked questions and Duncan Smith treated them with discourtesy bordering on contempt.

He did not tell the committee about changes to the programme for rolling out Universal Credit because they were not fixed when he met the committee, he said – avoiding the fact that he could have at least said changes were taking place.

Universal Credit costs had not been written off, he said; they had been “written down” (meaning they were said to be worth less money now than when they were introduced). This seems like nonsense to anyone who has seen reports of the sums of money involved – anything from £40 million to £160 million.

Asked whether Universal Credit is still dealing only with single people at the moment, Duncan Smith sidestepped the question and responded that it was being rolled out in phases. Clearly he does have something to hide, even though he began his evidence by saying there had been no attempt to sweep anything “under the carpet”.

He said the whole (improbable) edifice would be working by 2016 – apart from cases involving the most vulnerable group, who receive Employment and Support Allowance. This is an extremely optimistic appraisal, as Duncan Smith is unlikely to be in office by then, and a future government may decide to scrap the whole project as a hopeless waste of millions of pounds.

There is no point in covering details of the whole meeting because you get the gist already. Iain Duncan Smith was determined to deny that he or his Department had committed any mistakes or wrongdoing, while giving away ample evidence that this was exactly what they had done.

And he was rude – at one point he told Glenda Jackson: “I have no idea what you’re asking… You lost me about five minutes ago.” Her equally abrasive reply, “You’ll have to try harder,” was drowned out as he muttered, “It sounds like a foreign language to me.”

The tone of the meeting was not lost on those who were using the Internet to watch it. Their attitude can be summed up in tweets from ‘Tentacle Sixteen’, who commented, “You’re not supposed to have a look of horror on your face when asked if you’ll make details of a public project public.”

He continued: “The most worrying thing out of this select committee so far is IDS’ constant assertion that he doesn’t have to tell people everything.”

And he concluded: “You’re a f***ing public servant IDS, you bloody do have to tell us everything.”

This is exactly the issue.

The information content of this meeting was zero – or as close to it as possible. What we got was a display of posturing, “hubris” – as Debbie Abrahams rightly identified it – and further obfuscation of the facts.

What the meeting did reveal was everything we need to know about Iain Duncan Smith. Here is a man who understands nothing about being a public servant. He thinks that, sitting in a plush Whitehall office, with civil servants running around clearing up his various disasters, that he is somehow above the rest of us and doesn’t have to justify himself.

He’s completely mistaken. He is there as our servant – to act in a way that suits us, not him. It is disrespectful of him to treat us this way.

But he just doesn’t get it.

If enough people had seen his performance today, he could have single-handedly lost the next election for the Conservative Party.

(If you’ve got the stomach for it, you can watch the meeting for yourself, here.)

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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