Like many people I've been mulling over that interview with Iain Duncan Smith yesterday. If you didn't see it, it will still be available on iplayer. I'm not going to go over the whole of it; there are good accounts on the Vox Political blog and the void bog. While the interview was going out I was following (and contributing to) the Twitter storm, and the producers could have been in no doubt that people were very angry at his lies.
There was a stand-out moment for me, and it wasn't one of his factual inaccuracies. It was when he was asked about the criticisms of Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the leader of his own church. With the same supercilious expression that he'd worn throughout, IDS simply said, "He's wrong."
It's important to remember what the Archbishop actually said. He didn't criticise the "reforms" in principle. He deplored the fact that people were being left in destitution, left for weeks on end without any support, which he called a "disgrace". His information, he said, came from the network of priests and charities in the poorest areas of the country. "There must be something wrong with the administration of a system which has that effect on so many people's lives." But IDS said, "He's wrong." And he added that he wished the Archbishop had called him before saying all this.
The arrogance is breath-taking. No doubt he would have told the man who is supposed to be in spiritual authority over him that all the reports from his priests and charities were ill-informed, that food banks were scaremongering, that the evidence of his own eyes and ears was an illusion. There is no way through to this man.
I've been around a long time, and involved in politics for much of that time. I lived through the Thatcher years, and loathed her as much as anyone. I got disillusioned with Blair. But this is something different. This is a government which has entrusted its dirty work to a man who has neither the intelligence nor the insight to understand the consequences of his actions, and who has surrounded himself with people similarly bereft of humanity. We have media which are either complicit or supine. And I have no idea what we can do about it.