Monday, 11 August 2014

The latest fantasy from Iain Duncan Smith

Wearily we have to notice the speech IDS was due to make today, which was trailed so exhaustively that there's no need to read it.  Yesterday's Telegraph naturally had the most sympathetic coverage.  Apparently the government is "matching economic recovery with social recovery", but "the economy will never fully recover unless families on benefits return to work".  That's the big problem for Smith.  His big plans have failed to get well over 2 million people back into work (or into work for the first time) and he takes it personally.  How dare they remain unemployed?  He has stated that "the way our benefits system is constructed" is responsible for the number of immigrants, coming to take the jobs British people refuse to take.  The Guardian gives more detail on the figures IDS will cite and they quote him: 
"When we took office, there were nearly five million people on out-of-work benefits. It was clear to me that in large part this situation was the product of a dysfunctional welfare system that often trapped those it was supposed to help in cycles of worklessness and dependency.  My one aim as work and pensions secretary has been to change this culture – and everything we have done, every programme we have introduced, has been about supporting everyone who is able to into work.  The scale of the change has been enormous – but we are delivering, and it is changing our country for the better."
If that makes you want to scream and throw things, I'm sorry.  That's the make-believe world that IDS lives in.  All those lives he's ruined; the trail of misery and destitution he's left; the lies about sanctions - they are nothing to him.  He was asked by a BBC reporter recently if he worried about cases of people suffering.  He said they made him "sad" and he wanted to understand them.  It was actually revealing.  These cases, these people, are not real to him.  They are shadows he can dismiss.
Policy Exchange, the Tory "think tank", has come up with some ways of slashing the income of the poorest even further.  One idea is to reduce the benefit cap, currently £26,000 pa, still further outside the south-east corner of the country.  IDS said, "We're not working on that," which doesn't rule it out for the future.  It's an acknowledgement that the biggest driver of high household benefits is rent; but it ignores the fact that there are people needing benefits in some high-cost areas outside London.  PE also wants to limit child benefits to 4 children.  That might get a sympathetic hearing; but it would significantly increase child poverty.
This is the message which the Tories will take into the election.  The out-of-work are wilfully unemployed and they are the cause of all society's ills.  But by making them suffer ever greater deprivation the Tories will persuade them to get a job.
I read an interesting piece recently (I've lost the link) which said that the only conclusion to be drawn from the puzzling employment statistics was that lots of people were working without paying tax.  They must be in very casual work or notional self-employment, or the deliberate black economy.  Yes.


  1. "and everything we have done, every programme we have introduced, has been about supporting everyone who is able to into work. The scale of the change has been enormous "

    Has Smith EVER asked those on the WP what they genuinely thought of the wretched scheme? Esp. those who found it unfit for purpose?

    I was on a business course once. The chap delivering the session said he liked it when people complained about his business as it allowed to see what could be improved. Okay, he was no doubt 'over egging' this point. However, it is clear that Smith does not take well to criticism of any sort. We see this from the way he handles himself in interviews, how he responds to Public Account Committee, how he dismisses any scrutiny of his policies altogether and his overall body language, facial expressions and general demeanour.. So any genuine criticism of his much vaunted WP from a jobseeker, based on first hand experience is certain to fall on deaf ears where Smith, McVey and the DWP are concerned.

    And yet this is the person Smith and co needs to be taking notice of if they're to improve the quality of service. But of course, quality of service as with its predecessors was never a benchmark for the WP in the first place.

    Smith is right about one thing - the scale of the change HAS been enormous. And not in a good way!

  2. The only benefit I claim is £72.20 JSA. I will take any job available,I have asked the JCP+ Adviser for help or guidance and received neither,I realise that it is my responsibility to find employment,but what actually is the point of the JCP.WP.MWA and the constant attending of mandatory Jobs Fairs that are arranged by the JCP but only offer Training that the JCP will not fund! I follow every press release from IDS/DWP that states Training is available,I present this to the JCP,but get no response.

  3. He was interviewed on Channel 4 news tonight but I chickened out rather than face more of his delusions. He has shown himself to be a fantasist on his CV, his every profession has resulted in failure, he lies without remorse and is prone to displays of anger when challenged, he operates under an appalling double standard that castigates the poorest while he takes everything he can get away with from underpants to football hospitality and he drifts ever further from reality at an exponentially increasing rate, I really think he should be examined by a psychiatrist.

  4. Polly Toynbee takes the bunkum out of Ian Bunkum Smith

  5. More of Smith's ideological bunkum - and probably the daftest think I'll read all week!

    "An amputee has been told he is fit to work - even though it takes him 20 mins to walk 250 metres using a prosthetic limb. Falklands war vet. Gordon Lang, from Gosport, Hants, appealed after his benefits were stopped. But the DWP said it only looked at someone's ability to work, not the difficulties of their travel." - Courtesy of the Metro.

    So a man who finds it difficult to get from A to B due to a long term disability is judged fit for work without taking his lack of mobility into account. Perhaps if he were working from home, but otherwise this is plain madness.

    1. Part of the working day is getting to and from work. If you cannot do this, if you cannot get to work on time every day you will be sacked. One of the fundamental aspects of being in work is punctuality, yet the DWP BLATANTLY ignores this fact. The criteria they use to judge whether people are 'fit for work' is based on a simplistic and misleading set of standards, which is designed to force people of benefits, rather than get them into work.

      Which explains why real wages are falling at the same time unemployment is falling. It is because people who are now judged to be 'in work' have in fact be kicked on benefits or forced in to low-paid work.

  6. IDS is starting to sound desperate,the only thing he says is pure propaganda,I am surprised that their is not a greater out cry over all the results/reports that the DWP commissioned have still not been released. I have also noticed that A4E and other WP Providers no longer have FB sites and even the Indus Delta Forum is dead,if all these programmes are showing such good results as stated by Devereaux in the 14 July CAP ,you would think there would be enough press releases to paper the why so quiet? And why this latest attack on benefits?

  7. Surely, he cannot continue with his ridiculous Welfare Reforms/Sanctioning Regimes?, after what is coming to light on the net and, now actually creeping into the press? It is becoming common knowledge that these Work Programmes, eg. Ingeus, A4e, are NOT WORKING, with little or no results. Why are they being funded? Some seriously dodgy goings on.

    1. The Tories and the right-wing press are deluding themselves. They believe the economy is getting better when in fact it is getting worse. Most people recognise this. Most people will have suffered either unemployment or a fall in real wages since 2010 but the Tories ignore this, preferring to spin the economic stats to their agenda. This is why the Tories are doing so badly in the polls despite a 'booming economy'. Nobody believes them.


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