Duncan Smith and the Disabled 108

I am prepared to believe that even Iain Duncan Smith has been genuinely sickened by the attack on the disabled in the budget to give yet more tax breaks for higher earners. He is very typical of the officer class of the senior British regiments and while he is instinctively right wing, there is a linit to the amount of suffering he could see unleashed on the poor, because he does have some sense of basic decency. I grant you things had to go very far before it finally took effect, but it has. It should also be remembered that he is not an old Etonian but a real Scot, born in Edinburgh, and state educated.

When Osborne and Cameron are pushing the attacks on the most in need, and the tax benefits to the rich, to the point that Iain Duncan Smith can no longer stand it, you really have to wonder what has happened to our country. What you have to wonder in particular is why we have a corporate media, including the BBC, so far to the right that it is even to the right of Iain Duncan Smith in the way that it has presented and commented on the Budget.

That is why the corporate media is trying to obscure the issue by claiming Duncan Smith’s resignation is secretly about Europe. This is nonsense because Duncan Smith could have gained far more publicity for anti-European views by openly resigning over them and setting them out. Duncan Smith would have gained infinitely more popularity in the Connservative Party for resigning over Europe than for trying to protect disable people. And certainly there would have been infinitely more support in the corporate media for resigning over Europe; the corporate media cares about the disabled not a fig.

I believe Iain Duncan Smith; and his resignation shows how terribly, terribly far to the right the Tories have moved this government.

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108 thoughts on “Duncan Smith and the Disabled

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  • Sandra

    You are as always generous in your assumptions, Craig. But I’m afraid your picture of IDS doesn’t square with the man who has for six years shown not a shred of remorse for the actions he has taken regarding benefits. I don’t recall any hand wringing or resignations when he drove the low paid to food banks. Far more likely he saw the way the tide was flowing for this government and got out while the going is good.

    • paul

      I concur,
      George Smith’s baffling longevity in political life has been marked by a pitiless mediocrity.
      I can only assume someone got the negatives back off him.
      The meltdown of the universal credit scam has likely more to do with his resignation rather than him finding a shred of conscience down the back of his taxpayer supplied sofa.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        Iain Duncan Smith, presumably you mean. George (Joseph) Smith was a pitiless sociopathic murderer.

        Hey, wait a minute…

        • keaton

          Apparently his first name is actually George. No idea why Paul refers to him by that rather than by his accepted name, though.

          • paul

            I could call myself king paul,or ian duncan paul, I rember a conversation in one of the dying bowling clubs in musselburgh;
            “ach,everybodies a smith or young up there”

            George smith works on the basis that a rose will smell sweeter under another name.

            …and this is backed up by the university of perugia

          • paul

            ian duncan smith sounds posher then george smith.
            That is why he affects the ian ducan, just like he pretends he qualified from the university of perugia.

            I call him george because that’s what his folks chose, traditional like.

  • Stuart Graham

    Interesting take Craig. IDS knows his ‘reforms’ are struggling. A court ordered the release of potentially incriminating documents about Universal Credit on Thursday. He has timed his resignation to inflict maximum damage on Osborne. It was Osborne who described IDS as being ‘a bit thick’ – something others would agree with.

    Cameron’s response to IDS’s resignation gives an insight into the incompetence of our current govt. He says ‘we met before the budget and collectively agreed the cuts to PIPs.’ He then goes on to say that at the latest Cabinet meeting they have shelved the PIPs policy. TWO DAYS AFTER THE BUDGET! Did no-one around the cabinet table think about how taking money from sick/disabled and giving it to the rich would play?
    Stupid, greedy and arrogantly nasty – not a recipe for effective governance.

    • Alcyone (Simple: Truth, Goodness, Beauty)

      +1 Stuart.

      Can you please help by expanding a little on the ‘Universal Credit’ matter?


      • Stuart Graham

        This is the third occasion the DWP have fought to keep documents secret. The court ruling on Thursday was for them to be released to the public. The only reason the DWP is fighting so hard to keep them under wraps is because they paint the DWP in a bad light. Quell Surprise!

  • Jason Carter

    I’m not all that surprised by IDS’s resignation: as you state, he was an Officer in the army and they do have some sense of honour (and I speak as an ex “squady” myself) and responsibility for dependant people under their charge, unlike many other of his colleagues. I think the biggest problem for the Government is the power of the Treasury: it dictates every move of all the other Departments. Being the cynic that I am, I wonder if this move may be a career investment for when Cameron leaves for IDS to be a contender for party leader.

    • paul

      He was a wonderfully shit leader already, cushty number in weirdo boris’s frontline might be closer to the mark.

  • Torbjorn

    What do you make of this? Seems that IDS had many more pressing reasons to resign and attack the leadership, not least the imminent change of Tory leadership in a few months if we leave the EU, and even if we don’t, when Cameron resigns. Seems to me that he has been pushed to make a decision, and has used the opportunity to back someone like Boris indirectly, by smearing Osborne. He’ll find his way back into the government…


    • John Spencer-Davis

      I was not aware of this, Torbjorn. On 14th March 2016 a court discloses its final and unanimous decision that documents relating to the assessment of the impact of Universal Credit are to be published under the Freedom of Information Act, and four days later Iain Duncan Smith resigns? Can this be anything other than cause and effect? I will await what these documents say with great interest.

  • MerkinScot

    Decency has zilch to do with his resignation.
    Whether he is repositioning himself for the end of Cameron and Osborne is a possibility.
    More likely is the clusterfuck that is universal credit coming closer to the surface.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    “Duncan Smith would have gained infinitely more popularity in the Connservative Party for resigning over Europe than for trying to protect disable people.”

    Duncan Smith’s primary concern will be to protect his seat. It is becoming apparent to Conservatives that this is not a measure calculated to increase their popularity among their constituents. He also probably appreciates that as a Eurosceptic he does not have much of a future in the Cabinet anyway. Perhaps you are correct and he has suddenly grown a heart, but it strikes me as much more likely that this is a calculated political move. I would be interested to know if you can point to anything about Duncan Smith’s record that demonstrates that he has a sense of compassion for the unfortunate.

  • nick james

    this is a guy who faked his CV and you want to be believe he’s honourable? the appeal to Scots heritage looks like tribalism. the man is and was a complete shit.

  • katherine hamilton

    Sorry, Craig,
    This apology for that prick is a step too far. Oh, he’s Scottish, Oh, he went to an ordinary school. Oh that’s all right then. He has caused the suicide of hundreds, and you know it. You also know it’s a political calculation. He’s shafted Osbourne cause he wants a job from Boris.

    I’ve enjoyed your musings, but I won’t be back.

    • Alcyone (Simple: Truth, Goodness, Beauty)

      Maybe Osborne is worth shafting for it’s own cause, regardless of Boris!?

  • Chris Rogers

    Whilst I share much of the opinion expressed on this thread about the IDS abrupt resignation, the fact remains a massive turf warfare has been going on between the Treasury and major spending UK departments, with economic ideology trumping any and all alternatives expressed. Regardless of IDS trying to implement a single welfare payment system, which is a huge and complex IT issue – one which thus far has defeated the DWP, the fact remains quite a number of Conservative MP’s have expressed dismay at further cuts to disability allowances. So IDS is hardly alone in expressing deep seated anguish at these planned cuts – cuts which have now so we are told been kicked into the long grass, even though they were only announced in this weeks Budget.

    Further, allegedly in the final quarter of 2015 the ONS predicted that the UK Treasury had £26 billion wiggle room, hence the putting back of Universal Tax Credit cuts, but the fact remains that the Conservatives were elected upon the promise of cutting a further £12 billion from welfare, although no detail was given from where these cuts would come at the time of the 2015 General Election – so no one can say they were not warned. And all who voted Conservative have done so in the knowledge that they themselves collectively as individuals sanctioned said cuts – this being 24% of all UK eligible voters who voted Tory – nice fucking people not!!!!!

    Which brings us to the reasons why IDS chose now to resign, and judging by what little we know, it does seem his department put up a fight against the Treasury, but as ever Osborne won the battle, assisted by Cameron.

    I’m of the opinion that IDS certainly has not resigned over the European issue and seemed thick skinned enough to weather any criticism over the IT failure that is the single universal welfare payment system, that is still years away. Remember folks both Labour and the Tories have wasted billions of failed IT projects – something to do with listening to IT consultants, rather than actually those with IT experience in deployment – the consultants usually win and are mostly in new jobs when it all goes tits up – this happens as much in real businesses, specifically financial institutions, as well as government and local government.

    So, and whilst I despise the likes of IDS, he’s the lesser of evils when compared to Cameron and Osborne, which means on this occasion I side with CM’s analysis, namely these cuts, which were against the DWP’s own advice were the straw that broke the camels back as far as IDS was concerned. Just a shame others have not followed suit, but alas most only do so when their own tenure as MP’s is threatened by government policy they themselves enable, and on the whole support.

    And, given we now have a £50 billion plus hole in public finances, what does this government do but cut taxes further for the wealthy and corporations whilst penalising the poor, the infirm, the disabled and just about anyone else who does not find themselves in the top 10% of earners in this country.

    God I detest the bastards and like CM yearn for a Wales free from these beasts and from Westminster – unlike CM, I certainly do not want Wales to be part of an authoritarian and undemocratic EU.

  • Mark Golding

    I have to agree Sandra and recall the IDS statement on the sophistical BBC when he said. “The Government dossier confirms that Iraq is self-sufficient in biological weapons and that the Iraq military is ready to deploy these and chemical weapons at some 45 minutes’ notice.

    As an army veteran officer in the Scots guards and aide-de-camp to Major-General Sir John Acland I cannot believe he was hood-winked into making that ill-advised statement esp. as he was one of the first politicians to call for an invasion of Iraq and held talks in Washington, DC, with senior US officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz.

    • Chris Rogers


      I don’t think many of our elected officials need to be hoodwinked about going to war with Iraq, most being warmongers, as the second Parliamentary vote on bombing Syria clearly indicated – with a full third of the PLP supporting bombing, including Tony Benn’s son.

      However, the IDS resignation is not about overseas adventures, rather its about continued austerity that impacts those least able to mount a fightback, whilst at the same time issuing huge government welfare to those who need it least.

      Perhaps IDS is finally rebelling against socialism for the rich, which is what all these tax cuts and handouts amount too – anyone who is an actual Conservative, and not a neoliberal, should on a point of principle be opposed to this, on the whole most are not though.

      On a final note, given IDS has now resigned, I wonder if he’ll return the welfare his own family receives via the EU. Now that would be a story!!!!

    • Geoffrey

      I agree with you. He was very quick to support Tony War, and implied that he had seen information that he was not at liberty to disclose,but if he were would make the case for attacking Iraq even stronger.

  • Póló

    New layout is appalling and cheapens the blog’s appearance. This is particularly true for those who read only the posts themselves.

    Could you not have adopted any functional improvements without accepting such a template holus-bolus?

      • Iain Stewart

        Congratulations on the new format, Craig. I had been hoping for some time to be able to follow the thread more easily and to match which reply to what comment. Keep it up! Great improvement.

  • craig Post author

    In my experience, very few people are totally evil. I have not said that Iain Duncan Smith is a good man. I have merely said he is not as bad as Cameron and Osborne.

    There is some good in almost everyone.

    • Paul

      Got to say, the simplistic, dualistic narrative coming from much of the left has become an increasing turn off over the last few years.

  • Alcyone (Simple: Truth, Goodness, Beauty)

    Good clarification, Craig and agree.

    Yes, the ‘pick-up’ of the comments does seem to be operating slowly. Hence, the double posting?

    Btw, I liked your old blue background bubble when you wrote. Indeed, all of the old colour ‘scheme’ — can it not be reinstated, the colours, that is? It seems that a fair few would agree…

  • Scotty1965

    Craig Murray, the Scots background, state education and military service of IDS does not prove or even vaguely hint that he has “some sense of basic decency”!
    His actions as minister are proof that he lacks even a shred of humanity, laughing out loud in the Commons when told of the deaths HIS policies lead to prove him nothing more than a psychopath and as such unfit to serve as part of any government much less as leader of the Conservatives!
    The sooner people such as yourself stop defending the indefensible actions of IDS the sooner we can get around to hauling him and the others responsible for the murderous changes to the benefit system before a court and have them tried for the deaths they caused!

  • MJ

    “I am prepared to believe that even Iain Duncan Smith has been genuinely sickened by the attack on the disabled in the budget to give yet more tax breaks for higher earners”

    As minister for W & P he was responsible for making and facilitating the PIP cuts. In his statement he said that he was prepared to make these cuts in order to reduce the deficit but not to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. This suggests that he did not know that cuts in CGT were going to be announced in the budget, which in turn suggests that he believed he was being marginalised in the cabinet and left out of the loop.

  • nevermind........

    “When Osborne and Cameron are pushing the attacks on the most in need, and the tax benefits to the rich, to the point that Iain Duncan Smith can no longer stand it, you really have to wonder what has happened to our country”

    I do not take the flimsy show of indignation by some Conservative MP’s as what it looks like and is reported as, for example Dan Poulter who was health minister, spoke out against the latest cuts wanting ‘to raise his serious concerns with ministers’.

    Well shiver me timbers, he voted for the last cut to disabled people of £ 30/week, why is his concern only apparent now, why is he not concerned about the tax give aways and proffering of dirty oil and gas industries, rich people, or the immense expenditure on arms that is increasing the number of refugees into Europe?

    IDS, imho, is positioning himself in the forthcoming leadership campaign, he wants to scrape his boots clean at just the right moment, leaving the muck on the Government, specifically on apprentice Osborne’s brogues. This sidestep represents the first flailing arms in the bout for Camerons succession.

    This policy proposal in a budget speech, however much Tory MP’s want to make out that they are only in a discussion with interest groups and associations, could come out of Heidrich’s notebook on how to target those who can’t much help themselves.

    This has nothing to do with his desire for a little England, but with his very own campaign for leadership. Lets us just wait for the first interview where he ‘doesn’t support or deny’ that he will run for leadership, or to such extent.

  • fedup

    Hey I like this new blinged up look!!!
    Congrats to the techies/mods/whom so ever who carried out the hard work of migration and getting it here!!!
    The new looks is a lot more up to date and current, as well as having the advantage of discarding en mass the relevant spurious noise and chaff.

    Back to business.

    Before IDS resignation there was the incident of a conservative website was taken off line by a life long disabled conservative webmaster , who was even thinking of leaving the conservatives to join the labour party. The chap was genuinely upset and despite the threats of hell-fire and brimstone from the party HQ he was adamant that he would not yield and put the website back on line.

    Fact is this nostrum has been tried and tested to destruction in US by Bu$h et al and as in evidence the failure of this kind of rob the poor to pay the rich has created huge problems in the US society and the infrastructures needed for a country in the twenty first century.

    Therefore I tend to agree with your assessment that IDS has resigned based on his misgivings about polices rather than floated notions in the oligarch owned media that are designing to lessen the impact of the rob the poor to pay the rich policies of the current concentrative government.

    PS the third line first paragraph of the article carries; “there is a linit to the amount” which I believe needs a substitution of “m” for “n”

  • Ba'al Zevul

    I admit, I assumed the worst possible interpretation of IDS’s resignation at first. Having heard some discussion of this by a selection of pundits and pols since, I’m nearer Craig’s position. There’s little indication that this has to do with Europe – although that cannot have improved Smith’s relationship with a patronising and incompetent Chancellor, who seems to have been happy to shift the blame for the cuts he ordered onto Smith, who had to implement them. The Eurospin given to this, which may well decline once discussion has started, is as embarrassing to the hopelessly divided Tories as anyone else….cui bono?

    I now believe Smith, while he certainly worked for a massive and painful shift in the benefits system, was well aware of the need to provide decent employment prospects alongside his discouragement of the benefits culture. Which, as any DSS deskman will tell you, certainly exists. It is said that IDS was furious on more than one occasion at being kept out of the loop by Osborne, and that Osborne was in effect managing by diktat, much as Blair did. I believe this. And while there is nothing to prevent an old Etonian from remedying his defective education by finding out how everybody else lives, IDS’s education and Army career -even as a (spit*) officer – would have ensured a much closer identification with the real world than most Etonians achieve. So, broadly agree.

    *Obligatory, as an ex-OR.

  • nevermind........

    Although slightly o/t the connections are the constant attacks By Camerons Government on the existing system from high above, without cooperation or consultatiuon with the public.

    East Anglia has been singled out as the devolution pilot project, well, sort of. A week before Osborne’s budget dreams, Cambridge, after long consideration, said NO to the current devolution plans by Norfolk and Suffolk. Then came Osborne’s imposition over their heads via the budget, no doubt causing some democratic constipation in Cambridge.

    This is what Archant news groups best political journo’s come up with. I apologise they are not that high powered and tightly tucked up in the editors bag.


  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Like the new format, but don’t give a fig for any Tory.

    They are all cruel Malthusians, and only try to hide it by apparently doing something good.

    The older I get, the less good I really see in almost anyone.

    • nigel

      but don’t give a fig for any Tory.”

      Why stop at the tories, Trowy?

      Are the labs and lib dums different, in your opinion?

      Just askin, loike………….

  • Ba\'al Zevul

    Further to Nevermind’s link, Osborne is of course desperately dependent on the monetisation of homes and their price bubble for his claim to fiscal credibility. As well seen in Cambridge…


    According to Nevermind’s link, the government is sweetening its bribe for abandoning local accountability with £175 M for 30 years. On the trend claimed by my link the current median house price of £360 K may rise to £540K by 2022, £810K by 2028 and £1.215M by 2034. By which time – 18 years on – £175M will build 140 houses. No danger of supply exceeding demand, then.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    Stephen Crabb MP has been appointed Work and Pensions Secretary to replace Iain Duncan Smith.

    I have no knowledge of Crabb but he seems a real right charmer: here’s his voting record on welfare benefits among other things:

    Consistently voted for reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (which Labour describe as the “bedroom tax”)
    Consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices
    Consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability
    Consistently voted for making local councils responsible for helping those in financial need afford their council tax and reducing the amount spent on such support
    Consistently voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
    Almost always voted against spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for young people who have spent a long time unemployed

    Source: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11768/stephen_crabb/preseli_pembrokeshire/votes

    He is also a patron of Mencap, athough hopefully he will get the sack from that in short order as have Zac Goldsmith, Kit Malthouse and one or two others. In fact, you can sign the petition to kick him out if you like:


    Imagine stepping up to a job that not even Iain Duncan Smith says he has the stomach for. Must be a real good guy.

  • Mark Golding

    I cannot ascertain any good in IDS; for that I am sorry. Any virtue here was lost in his resignation which is military protocol. I myself, believe a ‘good’ in a man would ensure he ‘stood his ground’ and looked to the people of Britain to underpin and reinforce the argument against an apathetic government that derides food-banks; a man who denies the disabled of equipment to improve their cheerless lives, punches the air on tax cuts for the wealthy and “believes ultimately” that Britain should bomb Syria without the consent of the Syrian government or a ‘yes’ from the UNSC when, according to the Oxford Research Group, by end 2013 11,500 children can never return the love known from their parents because they have perished by bombs and bullets.

    This ex army officer never loved or coveted his men even dodging the Falklands war where his regiment the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, served with such distinction, especially in the critical battle for Mount Tumbledown.

    • Ba\'al Zevul

      This ex army officer never loved or coveted his men even dodging the Falklands war where his regiment the 2nd Battalion, Scots Guards, served with such distinction, especially in the critical battle for Mount Tumbledown.

      How evil is that? Especially as the Falklands war was in 1982. Smith transferred to the reserve in 1981. Reserves were not mobilised for the Falklands. Nor do all who served with him remember him as a bastard. I could cite a source, but I’d have to kill you.

  • pardeep singh

    The idea that IDS acted out of some concern for the victims of his and his chums attacks on the disabled and anyone who isn’t a multi millionaire is laughable. In fact it reveals a level of naivety which is somewhat worrying.

  • Aurora

    I kind of agree with Craig Murray’s assessment. It’s somewhat baffling that the left (the real left, not the PLP or the Tory apologists at the Guardian etc.) seems so eager to endorse Cameron’s patently empty dismissal of IDS’s resignation as part of a Brexit campaign. Who knows if Duncan Smith really means it when he says the government has gone too far with austerity: what matters is that he thought and expressed the idea that current economic policy is wrong, which is something the mainstream media refuses to sanction as plausible or even worthy of debate – despite just about every economist arguing against the rationale of austerity as an economic policy (rather than it’s actual purpose: a policy pursued for social and political control, yet another ‘project fear’ to keep the population in line and ensure wealth transfer to the transnational elite). Squandering this possibility of opening up a public debate on economics because of IDS’s alignment in the EU referendum is a real mistake.

    • Ba\'al Zevul

      Squandering this possibility of opening up a public debate on economics because of IDS’s alignment in the EU referendum isa real mistake exactly what the bankers want.

      FIFY. Anything but a public debate on economics is exactly what Camborne wants. Concur with the rest of that, though. And with the implicit thought that Labour is pushing the EU story to widen the Tory division a bit further, which would make sense, at any rate.

  • Ben-Misogyny is my name

    This is where conservatives shine. They prefer an atmosphere of hostile competition for necessary and unnecessary goods. It’s every man for himself and notions like ‘noblesse oblige’ devolve to a trickle unless there is a tax dodge to embrace.

  • Republicofscotland

    Firstly Craig I’d like to say the new blog set up looks good.

    On Ian Duncan-Smith’s resignation, I get the impression he resigned, because he had a long term plan to reform welfare. However Osborne and Cameron, overuled that position with deep cuts to the disabled, leaving IDS’s position compromised.

    I’m sure IDS as Works and Pensions Secretary had a long term plan for welfare, which I thought was harsh as well.

    Osborne’s budget will leave around 640,000 disabled people £3,500 per year worse off. The chancellors thinking runs along the lines of saving £4.4 billion pounds on the backs of the poor and disabled.

    What kind of nation have we become that we constantly persecute the poor and disabled but give the already wealthy tax breaks. More worringly Joe public to a degree finds this treatment of the less fortunate acceptable.

    • Republicofscotland

      Trowbrige H. Ford, isn’t it the British way, the empire mustn’t be insulted.

      I read a recent article that claimed that after 1945, Britain has been involved in one kind of war or sponsored uprising, or covert operation on foreign soil ever since.

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