How about we stick Cameron’s entire cabinet on £53 a week

Sticking Cameron’s cabinet on £53 a week would in itself be a stunt. But in the age of rich public school boys being parachuted into safe seats without having any experience of life outside Westminster - the struggle for jobs and daily budgets far more demanding than anything Osborne has had to get his head around – it might just be a necessary wakeup call.

After Iain Duncan Smith claimed he could live on £53 a week in benefits instead of his £1,581 a week post-tax salary, he was challenged by an online petition to put his money where his mouth is.

Within a day the petition attracted more than 200,000 signatures. It has now secured over 300,000 signatures.

Petitions are hardly the strongest form of political protest, and this is something of a stunt, but my name is on that list because I think there is a worrying disconnect between rich politicians and the real world.

If Iain Duncan Smith were to take the £53 a week challenge, I wouldn’t expect to see a road to Damascus, or for this die hard dyed in the wool Tory to abandon his long-held ideological commitment to neo-liberalism. But at least it would show the man whose bedroom tax is to make 660,000 people living in social housing £728 per year worse off the everyday effect of his policies.

It is little surprise that a cabinet dominated by millionaires has consistently acted in the interests of its class with expensive tax giveaways to society’s richest individuals and the world’s biggest corporations, while clawing back money from Britain’s poorest. It’s basic self-interest, which displays a tragic lack of empathy for those less fortunate.

Sticking Cameron’s cabinet on £53 a week would in itself be a stunt. But in the age of rich public school boys being parachuted into safe seats without having any experience of life outside Westminster – the struggle for jobs and daily budgets far more demanding than anything Osborne has had to get his head around – it might just be a necessary wakeup call.

You can sign the petition calling for Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week here.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.