So long, IDS. And good riddance.

Despite his supposedly principled resignation, Duncan Smith's legacy is one of deep prejudice and stigma


As the dust settles on a weekend of vicious Tory infighting, we’re taking a few moments to reflect on the legacy of Iain Duncan Smith. Since 2010, one constant in a changing world has been that, on a quiet news day, you could always dig up something villainous going on at the Department of Work and Pensions.

From the archives, here are five of our favourite stories about IDS. They remind us that his sudden attack of conscience over Personal Independence Payments come after years of assaults on the poor, migrants, the disabled, the elderly and anyone else he could take a pot shot at.

Comment: Iain Duncan Smith is undoing years of struggle for disabled rights

“Speaking in the House of Commons, yesterday, the work and pensions secretary talked about getting disabled people in work up to the levels of ‘normal, non-disabled people’…”

IDS’s gradual criminalisation of poverty

“The mainstreaming of benefit sanctions and their extension to the working-poor is a grotesque interpretation of how social security should work. It treats those who need help as presumed guilty, not innocent. It is another example of the Tories ‘Hunger Games’ politics, seeking to divide the nation at every turn.”

Iain Duncan Smith says he’s going to stop benefit tourism. What benefit tourism? 

“The Quiet Man is turning up the volume. We wish he wouldn’t.”

Why Iain Duncan Smith should resign 

“Iain Duncan Smith seems to believe that the fact he once toured impoverished council estates in Glasgow gives him an understanding and level of compassion that none of his critics can possibly possess. But, the misery that his reforms have unleashed demonstrate that he is delusional. He has overseen a chaotic department that worsens the lives of the most vulnerable. Ministers have resigned for far less.”

A busy week at the Department for Work and Pensions

“Then there was the news today that the phone number claimants will need to call to access IDS’ new Universal Credit will be premium rate. That means it will cost callers at least 45 pence per minute to call from mobiles, and 12p a minute to call from landlines. These rates will be especially high for people who have ‘pay-as-you-go’ phones – top-ups typically used by people who cannot afford contracts.”

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6 Responses to “So long, IDS. And good riddance.”

  1. David Lindsay

    If the attack lines against Jeremy Corbyn were remotely accurate, or if anyone cared whether they were or they weren’t, then the Conservatives would be 20 or 30 points ahead. As it is, they were tied with Labour last week, and they were behind Labour this week. Even that, though, was before the Cabinet Minister most admired by the base resigned, and resigned specifically in order to oppose the cuts in general and the benefit cuts in particular.

    Austerity is an EU project. So, perfectly logically, you can now oppose the EU or support the cuts, but not both. In reality, it was ever thus. Support for austerity, and not least for the benefit cuts? Or opposition to the EU? Which is it going to be, and why? Opposition to austerity, and not least to the benefit cuts? Or support for the EU? Which is it going to be, and why? It is of course possible to oppose both. Iain Duncan Smith seems to have embarked on the road to becoming Tony Benn, who was also quite right-wing at one time.

    We are now in back the days of the Major Government, which, long before Tony Blair appeared, was limping along for years in the full knowledge that Labour was bound to win the coming General Election. IDS never fought a General Election as Leader. Therefore, he never lost a General Election as Leader. His endorsement is now the most sought after. To which of George Osborne and Boris Johnson is it supposed to go? Well, there you are, then. He has every intention of giving it another go. On an anti-cuts and anti-EU ticket.

    That, once the referendum is out of the way, will also be the position of Jeremy Corbyn: opposition to the cuts, formulation of an alternative based on investment and on the provision of a universal basic income (a grand old Nixonian idea for which IDS has expressed sympathy in the admittedly distant past), and either negotiating withdrawal from the EU or dealing with it on the basis of the very high vote to pull out. The difference is that Corbyn already has all the right people on and around his team.

  2. Ian

    The news that 03 numbers are “premium rate” will come as a huge surprise to Ofcom.

    Ofcom introduced 03 numbers in 2007 and set a rule that calls to these numbers must count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and on mobiles else be charged at no more than the rate for calling an 01 or 02 number. The call price is set entirely by the caller’s landline or mobile provider and revenue sharing is not permitted.

    The usual arrangement for calling 01, 02 and 03 numbers from a landline is to pay £5 to £8 per month for unlimited calls. From a mobile, pay-as-you-go deals come with hundreds of minutes of calls and texts for £5 and many hundreds more for £10.

    In all of this, the main point has been missed. Unlike the 0800 freephone claims line for other benefits, there is no 0800 freephone claims line for Universal Credit because you cannot make a claim for UC by telephone. DWP has moved to an “online only” claims process for UC and this will be a huge barrier to very many people. No-one seems to have mentioned this and no-one seems to be opposing it.

  3. Nick

    IDS left only a trail of death and fear behind him and that is all.

  4. David Davies

    Now that this blithering incompetent has finally found an excuse to get out, it is time for some serious questions to be answered

    1. How much money has been squandered on useless IT projects, by `managers’ incapable of managing them properly?
    2. What attempts, if any, were made to recover overspends?
    3. How much money has been paid to assassins such as ATOS, G4S, Maximus and the like?
    4. How much profit have they made, where none was made before?
    5. How many disabled people have found proper jobs, if none are available for the able-bodied?
    6. How many people have died, as the result of sanctions imposed following Work Capability Assessments?

    1. How much money has actually been saved, as the result of this lunacy?

    The Ideologically Driven Sociopath never followed up on his commitment to `Get In’ and exist on benefits – another stalk for this Straw Man. At least he will give the Kiss of Death to theO uters.

  5. Martin Read

    It is to be hoped that this page will not be attracting many fans of IDS (IED), but are we really in possession of the full story? Inequality is soaring, welfare sanctions are killing people, education and health are seriously under fire or are being back-door privatised, and there is an important upcoming EU referendum in which we are led to believe the Tories are divided.

    What’s the betting that, whatever happens, the Tories are attempting to cover all bases (except for the ones that really count)? A fuller and more inclusive perspective might state that there are many things upon which all Tories are not divided: privatisation of the NHS, corporatisation of education, driving inequality, shrinking the state, feathering the nests of the already mega-powerful and wealthy, thus also themselves at our expense, and limiting and controlling specific information.

    IDS does not care about the harm Osborne’s proposed cuts may have caused, the Tories have spent a lifetime covering each others’ backs, and will almost certainly continue to do so.

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    […] here’s where migration policy lines up with wefare reform. Just as the Iain Duncan Smiths of the world see poverty as a matter of bad behaviour, the architects of Operation Triton believe […]

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