Iain Duncan-Smith has forever saddled himself with the soubriquet, “Quiet Man”. How he must rue the day he uttered those words. David Cameron has recycled all the former failed leaders of the Tory party from 1997 to 2007 with the exception of Michael Howard, who retired and is presumably now waiting to be ‘kicked upstairs’…but his chance will come, of this I am certain.
Tories have always been out of touch with what is happening in the world outside the Westminster ‘bubble’ and the shires. None of the Tory MPs have ever been unemployed, most of them have worked for the City or in financial houses. Some of them have never had to work: living off inheritances or daddy’s generous allowance. Therefore the ignominy of the dole queue has eluded them. But every now and again, Tory politicians pretend they know how the unemployed feel when they live on benefits for a week. A week is never long enough to form a judgement on the situation many unemployed find themselves in.
For too long, those on benefits have been a soft target for politicians wanting to make their mark. IDS, now newly installed as the Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, has never been unemployed; he doesn’t know anyone who is unemployed and can only regard them from the safe distance of his ivory tower. Now he’s talking about welfare to work and forcing invalids and the long-term sick into work. This is odd for someone who claims to be a Christian but then the director of his think tank, the Centre for Social Justice (yes, I still find that name hard to swallow), Philippa Stroud is a self-confessed Christian who claims that she can ‘cure’ gays and lesbians by “driving out their demons” (sic). Stroud got a the consolation prize of being named as IDS’s special advisor for losing in her bid to take a seat from the Lib Dems in Sutton and Cheam.
So what has IDS and his team of hatchet men got in store for benefit claimants? Will he make them work in chain gangs? Or will he get Philippa Stroud to exorcise their ‘demons’? How can he create jobs in regions that are virtual work deserts? You can’t make people take jobs that don’t exist, or maybe that’s where Stroud comes in…maybe she can conjure up a few thousand jobs by just praying for them.
I wonder if The Quiet Man is prepared to accept the fact that the biggest recipients of state handouts are private interests like major corporations? Probably not because they’re all batting for the same side. It’s much easier to engage in class war against those who have nothing than against those who supply your party with funds.