Saturday 14 June 2014

IDS the untouchable

The fascination of IDS rages on social media like no other.

Iain Duncan-Smith. Failed ex-Tory leader. The "Quiet Man".

Dubious CV and mediocre in every way, somehow this man has risen to the very highest positions of power we can bestow. Despite a few wobbles along the way, he has had a lengthy career at the highest levels of right-wing politics, influencing the way all of us live our lives in some way.

If ever the marmite definition applied to anyone, it applies to Mr Smith.

You either believe he is the only real Tory left in government. You admire him and believe that he is Christian, compassionate, and following a genuinely righteous course. You might wish he was leader instead of the odious Cameron and respect his conservative, ideological "British Values."

You don't have to be a Conservative to feel that way. His welfare reforms have been trailed as one of the only successful strands of this government's programme. "At least they're getting tough on scroungers."

This is the commonly held view, and a popular one. There are over 900 other articles on this blog that will explain in detail why this is fundamentally untrue. But the question I hear people ask more and more is "How?"

Because millions of other people in the UK believe that he is the most dangerous, incompetent, ignorant man of modern times. They believe this with a horror, a kind of silent-scream that somehow can't be heard.

They know that he has failed in every way at every last attempt he has made to "reform" our welfare system. He has spent £18 billion MORE than he saved, costing the taxpayer in endless failed projects and abandoned lives.

So how has this man managed to maintain the myth? Why do most of the country think he's doing a good job, when everyone involved in his reforms - from DWP staff themselves to recipients, social workers, charities and government advisors know that we are witnessing the greatest departmental chaos in living memory?

It's no coincidence, believe me. Mr Duncan-Smith has found himself in a position so fortunate, he can literally do anything he chooses with complete impunity. He is a politician who simply cannot be challenged. Combined with a natural belief that he is fulfilling a great and necessary social vision and an irritable tendency to dismiss all opposition, that storm threatens all of us more than we even begin to imagine.

Firstly, he is the staunch right-hand flank of the scattered and frayed remains of the grassroots Conservative party. They detest Cameron, as do most of the right wing press. Without IDS, to them, Cameron is just a metropolitan liberal and they're already leaving the party in droves or flirting dangerously with UKIP because of it.

So the first rule is that IDS cannot be reshuffled. No matter what. There are considerable rumors that Cameron's cabal are just as unhappy about this as we are. Osborne allegedly tried to move him in the first reshuffle, but he argued that he would not do any other job than welfare reform. He threatened to go so they kept him on. Since then, Cameron's position has only got weaker and therefore, IDS' more indispensable.

Secondly, the Conservatives plan to fight the next election on their welfare record. They've made it very clear that they believe Labour are weak on "welfare" and all of the polling shows that it is one of their strongest policy areas with the public. If it was revealed for what it is, their vote would collapse.

So no matter that Universal Credit, IDS great idea for benefit reform has utterly failed in every way and almost certainly will not happen at all. No matter that hundreds of millions had to be written off on failed IT or that only 6,000 people have been transferred against a projected million or so, absolutely no Conservative voices - political or media - are allowed to acknowledge his failures in any way. Ditto his sickness benefit reforms that have now ground to an almost complete standstill or that his disability reform will take 42 years to rollout at the current pace. These are the truths that dare not speak their name.

Thirdly, everyone expected huge opposition to his social security reforms. They braced themselves for hell and I imagine, think they got off quite lightly on the whole. The people complaining are the people affected or those with vested interests in supporting them - who expected that they wouldn't? It's for the greater good. Of course there will be unfortunate "collateral damage" - some wrong decisions, bedding in problems, but most in the country believe that it is necessary and that most people affected can actually man-up and get on with their lives. If we just throw them in the deep end, we believe that most of them could actually swim all along.

So no matter how good or varied the evidence, no matter how influential the charity or think tank, no matter how desperate the individual stories, IDS can simply dismiss them all. No matter if the courts find against him, that's just namby-pamby health and safety stuff. No matter how devastating the report or explosive the whistle blower, IDS can sneer patronisingly that they are just trying to stay on their easy-ticket. Why wouldn't they?

So no matter how genuine the claim or how desperate the need, you can easily be put in that pile of "people over there"

And finally, he has a few tricks up his sleeve to make sure that the whole construct doesn't get blown apart.

He refuses point blank to engage. He will not take part in any public appearance with anyone that opposes him. Nor will any of his department. Opposition ministers, campaigners, charities, he simply refuses to do it or to send even the lowliest SpAd from the DWP. This is much cleverer than it might seem. If they don't debate, there is usually no debate. Interviews are cancelled, stories get bumped and the public never ever have to hear him put on the spot. Ever. Or any of his ministers or anyone involved in the contracts (who are bound by gagging clauses).

You simply never get to hear him defend himself as other politicians do. Interviewers are either 100% signed up to his aims anyway or so woefully short on detail and understanding of the monstrously complicated welfare system that he can easily duck away.

He has politicised the DWP Press office in a way forbidden by parliamentary procedure. They share his misleading statistics, or push his failures as successes, hold back evidence and spin stories in his favour. They have been repeatedly pulled up on this by the NSA and other agencies.

He regularly writes threatening letters to the BBC or other outlets complaining if they put any opposition balance to his policies at all. His department instruct how they must refer to policies and on what terms they will appear.

He uses prominent right wing media - predominantly the Express, Mail and Telegraph to parade misleading articles and claims. They are often so similar, that it's clear they were written by IDS' department and they repeat the same inaccurate claims. If he wishes to announce literally anything he cares to, those 3 outlets will all make sure that it is front page that day, they won't question the information and most of it will be written by whoever wrote the DWP spin. The BBC will usually then carry the stories too, leading unsuspecting members of the public to have no reason whatsoever to question them as anything other than fact.

So it's not amazing, or surprising at all. His job is utterly secure as long as Cameron is leader, he cannot be questioned in any way in case it jeopardises the election strategy and the public are shielded from the full impact of his failures. Sure, there is a story here or there, but the main message is "Great guy, doing a difficult job"

Is it any wonder the debate is so farcically biased? Is it any wonder campaigners and opponents have failed to make even the tiniest dent in his armour? What he actually does is irrelevant. Whether he reforms social security or not is irrelevant. He simply has to stay put.

Fooling the public is the easy bit, they have loads of people who can take care of that.


  1. Normally I tend to be very skeptical about conspiracy theories, however in this case I am beginning to wonder.

    At this stage the idea that the entire cabinet has been replaced by aliens is beginnig to sound more realistic . . .

  2. Salma Yaqoob tackles Iain Duncan Smith on poverty and austerity

    i like salma as she is very much like myself. i would not have sat next to IDS however as i would have cooked his goose see this clip 15 minutes in

    1. But did Salma's intervention make any real dent? I agree with the whole thrust of this article; look at the way IDS arrogantly dismissed Salma's comments, with a simple wave of a hand.

      There sits IDS, an arrogant, egotistical man with no decency or empathy, with power of life or death (almost literally) over millions of people in this country. He is incredibly dangerous, and no-one can even so much as make a dent. He is also becoming more authoritarian, as this article seems to demonstrate:

    2. Just a short note to point out that Iain Duncan Smith hasn't publicly referred to benefit claimants as 'scroungers', as Salma has claimed. One one occasion in Parliament, he labelled claimants 'stock' and was reprimanded by fellow MPs.

    3. Quite probably he hasn't used that word, no.

      "But that's not the point. The point is that he has labelled them scroungers, repeatedly and intentionally. The point is that he has created, established and maintained the narrative of people on benefits being scroungers."

  3. IDS Confronted Outside Question Time Filming

    on a legal note IDS has a mandate to do whatever and only a high court judge can overall it

    what this means is that he could do as he please with welfare reform and kill everyone and cant be stopped as the mandate welfare reform was passed in a democratic country so cant be overruled by anyone only a high court judge

    in a non democratic country then you could protest like in Egypt and elsewhere and take your chances as to how it will pan out but in the uk we have to wait for a legal challenge only as to the sick and disabled and weather they should live or die as benefit claimants and with regret there is nothing the police can do to intervene

  4. There is NO grassroots debate or democracy anymore, and precious few MPs from Working class backgrounds in any party. Anyone notice that? What do you have? A domination of London based, mostly white, middle class MPs. That is a problem in itself. It is internecine and a closed shop. An angry Working class person can say in five minutes what most of them take five years getting around to contemplating. They are all affluent and don't know what it is like to live at the sharp end. And the media is basically filled with the same people. That is not democracy. Democracy is about all kinds of views and all kinds of people. Even the demonization of Ukip has been about this, a dread fear that some other party break up the cosy cabal of parties in Westminster. The Right and Left are undemocratic now basically. Where are the dissenters and all the crusading journos attacking government policy??? And the PC lefties have, rather ironically, pushed Ukip into being the third party, tragically enough, by their snobby insinuations that all who vote for them are racist, yet again an oversimplification and proof that we are fed up with fascists on the Left and the Right. Power has to be devolved and many other things because things aren't working for the majority at the moment, that is as plain as can be.

  5. the other main problem with all mp's is that they don't even know anything when you ask them a question in their surgery they look at you as if your dumb and then go on to say i don't know and will have to find out

    75 k a year and not knowing anything ? it may mean I'm dumb for living in such a country and having to put up with such nonsense

    any fool can say i don't know and will have to find out but they don't go round asking for 75 k

    1. Hi Nick, yes, you are correct. I would suggest a politician being paid 75 k for doing extremely menial and unnecessary work is much more of a unjustifiable waste of money than a person without work claiming £70 a week to buy food and clothes for their children. I guess it's a question of status, i.e. the haves and the have nots. The politicians like it that way, we all know why, because they worship the rich, who feed them in return for unlawful favours. I am particularly aghast that the likes of IDS still hold on to out-dated unprincipled morals in a time when global communication has effectively proved that the conservative ideology is undemocratic, borderline neo-facist and ultimately against 99% of the views of everyday society. It is so wrong that these smug, self-serving politicians continue to deny their ignorance and carry on perpetrating abhorrent, undermining policies that oppress innocent fair-minded human beings. That's why we, the public, vote them out, what part of that equation don't they understand? It is actually very boring and quite embarrassing to tell politicians how out of touch they are in life, big shame on their part, the sad unfeeling bastards.

  6. If disability campaigners have "failed to make even the tiniest dent in the armour" of Iain Duncan Smith, then perhaps its time to re-examine our strategies and tactics, and consider alternatives.

    (Montreal, Canada)

  7. I feel akin with this blog on your own observations on the political psychopath IDS. Sadly few in Parliament raise their heads above the parapet on behalf of us the disabled / enabled. Would you pls confirm that you were a participant on the Sparticus report which was dismissed by Dave Milibands Labour Party a few weeks ago.

  8. An excellent article. Smith is the biggest creep ever to emerge from any political party in the recent past. The man is odious beyond words.

  9. One more comment on this thread, I don't have a 'fascination' with IDS. I simply don't like the mother fucking bastard.

  10. I reckon the only reason he's still there is he knows where the bodies are buried. IDS is a vile excuse for a human being. I'm not a violent person, but I could quite easily punch him in the face until his own mother wouldn't recognise him. Lying, pious incompetent shite.

  11. awful lot of spam in the comments.

    As for IDS, he is just horrible & if there are many in the Conservative party who think he's a good man, the Conservative party is a revolting organisation filled with disgusting people.