Monday, March 21, 2016

Saint Duncan Smith?

The post postponed from Friday because my battle with persistent malware, (which now seems to have been completely excised), will have to be postponed again, as I can't let the furore surrounding Iain Duncan Smith's resignation go unremarked.  I have to say that I can't recall such a display of utterly hypocritical and self serving bollocks as I've heard from Iain Duncan Smith in his attempts to recast himself as the virtuous champion of the poor, whose every attempt to protect the most vulnerable members of society were constantly frustrated by evil George Osborne.  Whilst I wouldn't disagree with him about Osborne's villainy, the fact is that Duncan Smith, during his six year tenure at the Department of Work Pensions (DWP), has been the architect of a series of measures which have slashed benefits and support to the poorest and most disadvantaged members of society.  He can complain all he likes that he was forced into these policies by the Treasury's demands for departmental spending cuts, but the way in which such cuts were implemented are entirely his responsibility.

Moreover, for those of us who recall the zealous way in which he slashed services and benefits as part of the government's 'austerity' programme, his sudden conversion to the cause of anti-austerity, condemning it as ideological rather an economic necessity, is quite extraordinary.  It really is a 'Road to Damascus' scale.  Really, if Duncan Smith has always felt this strongly about the plight of the poor and was so opposed to ideological austerity, why did he remain in cabinet for nearly six years?  He could have resigned at any time over that period.  So why now?  Well, that's obvious: as an anti-EU campaigner for the forthcoming referendum, Duncan Smith has timed his walk out to cause as much disruption and embarrassment for his pro-EU cabinet colleagues, including Cameron and Osborne, as possible.  He's clearly also got one eye on the future and a post-Cameron cabinet if the referendum doesn't go the PM's way - he knows that public opinion is finally beginning to turn against current economic policy and is trying disassociate himself with unpopular measures in the hope that, with his 'sins' washed clean, he can step back into cabinet at some future date.  As for his replacement at DWP, Stephen Crabbe, Cameron is apparently hoping that by appointing the product of a single parent family who grew up in social housing and relative poverty, the government can deflect Labour criticism that ministers are out of touch when it comes to the plight of ordinary people.  Which might be true, but it also makes him something worse: a class traitor.  A old fashioned jibe, but an apt one - if you grow up in poverty but end up a Tory, then you've clearly put personal ambition ahead of empathy.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home