The conservative case against Iain Duncan Smith

30 June 2014

6:04 PM

30 June 2014

6:04 PM

Labour held a debate on Iain Duncan Smith’s stewardship of the welfare state today. Tory MPs backed their man, as did the Conservative journalists, who have told their readers that despite the many disappointments of the Cameron administration, Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms make the excruciating experience worthwhile.

If Conservatives were sincere, they would want him out of office now. They would suspect, as I suspect, that he has a Napoleon complex. Once the poor chap saw himself as a potential Prime Minister. Now he sees himself as a great reformer. As he no more has the capacity to be the latter than the former, Duncan Smith is engaging in crimes Conservatives fool themselves into believing are only committed by the left.

1. Wasting public money

You are against that, aren’t you? Didn’t you go into politics to protect abused taxpayers? Not when your own people are the abusers, apparently.

The Universal Credit fiasco exemplifies Duncan Smith’s narcissistic failure to admit and remedy mistakes. As Computer Weekly — a far better guardian of the taxpayer than the Conservative backbenches or press, incidentally – has said, Duncan Smith proceeded with a vast and complicated IT project without learning the lessons from the IT disasters of the Labour years.

The inevitable result, as Labour said today, is that after ‘£612m [was] spent, including £131m written off or “written down”, the introduction of Universal Credit is now years behind schedule, with no clear plan for how, when, or whether full implementation will be achievable or value for money’.


Duncan Smith did not take responsibility for his actions. He did not scrap his failing system and start again, as an honest man would have done it. The open acceptance of a mistake would have left him vulnerable. Maybe all those mocking Conservatives, who dismissed his leadership as a joke in 2003, would have resurfaced and asked: If this man was unfit to lead the Conservative Party when it was in opposition, and had power over no one’s life, why should he now lead a spending ministry with the power to bring misery into the lives of millions?

It is a good question, after all. And some of us would like to hear your answer. Computer Weekly reported that the Ministerial Oversight Group, which had to examine the Universal Credit mess, had two options: To throw away the IT developed by Duncan Smith’s suppliers, and start again; or to salvage as much as possible in the short term, while developing a new ‘enhanced’ IT system.

[Francis] Maude favoured starting again, with the Government Digital Service (GDS) that he controls taking the lead. Duncan Smith felt that writing off so much IT was politically unacceptable.

Just so. Duncan Smith would have looked a fool if he had scrapped his project. His career might have been in danger. So he dodged the choice, and hid the losses by making the public pay two computer systems, while using government lawyers to stop the gory details of the failure seeing daylight. The eventual bill to the public will be the cost of saving his face. Significantly, Computer Weekly reports that the Government Digital Service (GDS) wants no more direct involvement with the development of the ‘enhanced IT’ required to roll out universal credit. The GDS is one of the successes of this administration. Engineers praise its staff for learning from the mistakes of the past and ensuring that – after all these years – Whitehall keeps IT costs under control. That its public servants want as little as possible to do with Duncan Smith tells you all you need to know about his inability to put the taxpayers’ interest first.

2 He loves the grands projets and hates the boring detail

If you object that building a welfare system that makes work pay is a grand idea, I will reply that grand ideas still have to work. In Sunday’s Observer I quoted a story astonished Labour politicians tell of Duncan Smith’s lack of interest in the practicalities of policy:

‘A few years ago, Duncan Smith met Douglas Alexander, Rachel Reeves and Stephen Timms. He enthused about his belief in a universal credit that would merge taxes and benefits. He would free 6 million people from the poverty traps of welfare dependency and show them that work made them better off.

‘The Labour politicians admitted that universal credit was a fine idea. They had thought about implementing it many times. But you had to merge incompatible IT systems and find a way of updating the information on millions of people so that Whitehall knew almost instantaneously how much they were earning, what taxes they should pay and what benefits they should receive. Reforming a complex system would take years. If Duncan Smith rushed it he would be engaging in the vast and self-defeating social engineering the right accused the utopian left of forcing on the human race.

‘Duncan Smith would have none of it. The technicalities were trifles. All that was needed was the political will. And he, Iain Duncan Smith, the man of destiny, had the will to make it work. “We looked at him as if he was mad,” one of the participants told me.’

You see a similar insouciance everywhere you look. The government now admits that over 700,000 people are still waiting for Duncan Smith’s Work Capability Assessments. The Office for Budget Responsibility said in March that the Government was expected to spend £800 million more than it predicted only last December, to make the failed system work.

The Public Accounts Committee reported that the introduction of Duncan Smith’s Personal Independence Payments have created ‘uncertainty, stress and financial costs for claimants’ as well as additional budgetary pressures. The department is assessing just 7,000 people per month.

Beyond these bureaucratic failures, lies Duncan Smith’s Work Programme that has failed to meet its targets; and a bedroom tax that forces people to move to homes that do not exist. The right is fond of accusing the left of imposing utopian schemes on a public it treats as laboratory rats. Duncan Smith has ensured that the left can pick up that missile and hurl it back.

3. His spin puts New Labour to shame.

As it tries to cover up its master’s mistakes, the Department of Work and Pensions press office has become notorious among journalists for news management. I had a row with one of its press officers recently, in which he could not bring himself to admit that the Supreme Court had criticised Duncan Smith, even though the Supreme Court judgement was on the record and publicly available. He was not a civil servant, impartially dispensing information, but a taxpayer-sponsored propagandist.

Duncan Smith has recruited one Richard Caseby, a former News International exec, who tried to cover Rupert Murdoch’s worthless backside during the hacking scandal. I cannot see why the public must pay his salary. He is not their servant. He’s the Conservative Party’s servant, as he proved when he suggested that national newspapers should not allow the Guardian to join their proposed press regulator. A civil servant has no business talking like that. Taxpayers do not pay him to pursue his vendettas, and shoot his overactive mouth off on matters which are no concern of his department. The head of the Civil Service acknowledged as much when he said that Caseby went ‘beyond what I would expect of a civil servant’.

In that last decade Tories went on at considerable length about Labour’s spin machine, ZaNuLiebor B:Liar and all the rest of it. Where are they now that Duncan Smith and his creatures spin and manipulate and threaten and obfuscate? If you mean what you say, you should want Duncan Smith gone, and apologise for allowing him within 100 miles of power in the first place.

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Show comments
  • OliverCromwell

    Let’s not forget the thousands starving and those who have lost their lives, due to the involuntary actions of this vile creature!

  • Denise

    I absolutely hate the way disabled people are being assessed under the tories. My point is that I have a friend who is severely disabled in a wheel chair that was born without proper use of or arms or legs and has to go through an assessment to qualify for benefits. Even a mentally retarded moronic member of public would see that her finding and doing a job that others take for granted would be extremely remote and difficult and yet she had to go through the gruelling undignified process of proving her disability causing extreme distress seems a total waste of tax payers money in going through the process. And after a much lengthy process she won, but she had no need to have to go through such undignified process in the first place. One look at her says it all. How about targeting those like that I know of that claims higher rate disability for mobility that the only disability they have that they were not born with is the self inflicted morbidly obese that are too over weight to work because their bodies cannot cope with their weight and yet I see these people doing gardening, moving furniture and continuously food shopping every day and these same people are in the local sweet shop daily by not just a bag of sweets but a whole carrier bag of sweets. And yet these people have passed the PIP assessment and drive round in brand new people carriers paid for by the state. Where is the logic in that. Goes to show that the Tories using outside contractors to assess disabled people do not work,

  • Fiona Gregory

    Yes I have saved it to read later. Jolly good show though.

  • Bob Streinhart

    Excellent article, this one man let’s down the whole party – puzzled as to why he’s been able to keep his post?

  • JP Janson De Couet

    “He loves the grands projets and hates the boring detail”

  • tomas

    Are you talking about Nick the Flying Brick?
    درب اتوماتیککرکره برقی .

  • Monkey_Bach

    I would imagine that the ancient University of Perugia is ashamed that one of its graduates should have turned out to be such a rotter.

  • CapBlackSK4

    None of this incompetent’s schemes have achieved anything except make the lives of the poor even more miserable. And yet they’ve cost the taxpayer billions (or should I say siphoned it into the pockets of useless private suppliers). He is a complete and utter failure and I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering what blackmail material he has in his possession to keep him in a job.

    He is the most hated politician in the country (and there’s some competition). In a year’s time – when he has surely lost ministerial protection for good – if I was him I’d get out of the country. People who have lost loved ones don’t easily forget.

  • Amir

    Check this article out about Gordon Brown and the welfare system:

  • Paul

    Aspects of Iain Duncan Smith’s CV, relating to his education, are inaccurate and misleading, an investigation by BBC Newsnight reveals.

    The investigation into the Conservative Party leader’s education and early career – broadcast at 10.30pm on BBC TWO last night (Wednesday 18 December 2002) – was presented by Michael Crick, author of the best-selling biography of Jeffrey Archer.

    If any of the following material is used BBC Newsnight must be credited.

    The University of Perugia

    Iain Duncan Smith’s biography on the Conservative Party website, his entry in Who’s Who, and various other places, state that he went to the Universita di Perugia in Italy.

    This is not true: his office now admit that he went to the Universita per Stranieri, which is also in Perugia.

    The Universita per Stranieri – or University for Foreigners – was founded in 1921 and is a totally separate institution to the medieval Universita di Perugia, founded by the Pope in 1308.

    Although the Universita per Stranieri is a respected language school, it did not grant degrees when he studied there in 1973, although some students attained diplomas.

    Mr Duncan Smith’s office has now admitted to Newsnight that he didn’t get any qualifications in Perugia or even finish his exams.

    Dunchurch College of Management

    The first line of Iain Duncan Smith’s biography, on the Conservative Party website, claims he was “educated at Dunchurch College of Management”.

    In fact, Dunchurch was the former staff college for GEC Marconi, for whom he worked in the 1980s.

    Mr Duncan Smith’s office has now confirmed to Newsnight that he did not get any qualifications there either, but that he completed six separate courses lasting a few days each, adding up to about a month in total.

    Newsnight has now spoken to 19 former tutors at Dunchurch. Most agree it is over-emphasising his experience at Dunchurch to describe it in the way he does.

    John Garside, a former Dunchurch tutor, says: “I’m puzzled, flattered, but puzzled. What we did was offer short courses… it was not a continuous form of education by any means.”

    Newsnight has shown these details to some of Iain Duncan Smith’s constituents in Chingford.

    Several people assumed he must have been at both the University of Perugia and Dunchurch for several years, and obtained qualifications in either or both places.Duncan smith also defrauded the benefit system and lied about being an Army Captain.

  • Tony Turtle

    I’m sorry, but I remember a party leader saying “The test of a good society is you look after the elderly, the frail, the vulnerable, the poorest in our society. And that test is even more important in difficult times, when difficult decisions have to be taken, than it is in better times.” on the Andrew Marr Show in 2010. If the leader, who claimed benefits for his disabled son, can turn back on that statement, why shouldn’t his cronies, sorry, cabinet?

    • m montgomery

      that was Cameron who said that he also made many other promises that he has not kept that’s why he has been trying desperately to delete all his past speeches from the internet without success i should add

      • CapBlackSK4

        No top down re-organisation of the NHS was a classic.

  • Sue Marsh

    Hear! Hear! I’m so delighted to see articles like this in the Spectator. IDS is a dangerous, narcissistic egoist with a Napolean complex. He is irritable, he lies, he cheats and he has screwed up every last one of his “reforms” Conservatives MUST urgently get rid of him.

  • Mukkinese

    Tory backbenchers love IDS because he is so enthusiastically wrecking the benefits system.

    The press has decided that benefits are generally a waste of money and the swivel-eyed loons who occupy much of the backbenches happily jump on that bandwagon.

  • ButcombeMan

    The biggest case against IDS is contained here:

    IDS led the Tories into supporting the Iraq war, on a false premise. He did not see through Blair’s duplicity.

    The whole course of world history hung on that awful decision.

    Never trust an army Officer who does not get above Major.

  • Amir

    Check this article out about gordon Brown and the welfare system:

    • Mukkinese

      That is a very silly conspiracy theory.

  • SimonToo

    But is this really a problem limited to IDS? The big spending government departments have a dog’s dinner of procedures, and of IT systems to support them. If anyone of any party is to reform them, a great deal of time and effort (almost certainly longer than a parliament) will be needed to prepare the ground for reform. By the end of that time not only the minister but also the governing party is likely to have changed.

    What minister would deliberately spend a parliament producing nothing apart from a good set of foundations for his opponents to build on? The only realistic course for a reforming minister is alea jacta est and pray for a six.

    A grandstanding minister can make a lot of noise about reform, make sure he only actually tinkers at the edges, and leave an even bigger mess for his successor to inherit. If public renown is the intention, this is the safer route.

  • Shorne

    “The technicalities were trifles. All that was needed was the political will. And he, Iain Duncan Smith, the man of destiny, had the will to make it work.”
    This sounded familiar, and then I remembered;

    “I believe in one thing only, the power of human will.
    Joseph Stalin
    Oh dear…

  • denise clendinning

    so if they have voted to not release the documents why has he gone to all that trouble of spending tax payer,s money going to court ? Can he go against the courts? it prove,s they have something to hide and when we find out it wont be pretty

    • Sue Marsh

      The ruling that work capability assessments (WCAs) discriminate against people with mental health conditions has stood for nearly a year now. Yet they’ve done nothing at all about it. The 2nd tier tribunal are forcing them back to court this month to state finally how they will address this discrimination. They simply ignore everyone – charities, campaigners yes, but also the judiciary,their own advisors, IT experts and corporate partners. Even the corporates are on the very brink of exposing IDS total failures.

      • denise clendinning

        My son lost his support assistant 6months ago because they have not enough staff and they are over run with people on the mental health This is appalling to let it get to this stage they have to get to grips as there will be a lot more people walking the streets with mental heath problems

  • Nicetime

    The question isn’t so much whether IDS, or anybody (at least within the restrictions of democratic accountability) could manage, let alone reform the vast and incompatable bureacracies that have grown up like coral around the fiefdoms of HMRC and any department administering ‘benefits’. Nor is it relevant that Mr Cohen clearly has a personal beef with Mr Caseby. Nor is it relevant that if Blair’s ‘reformed’ Labour party (‘re-presented’ is probably a better word) had a raison d’etre it was in the reforming of the public sector, a task at which it catastrophically failed. The question is, do you simply despair and allow it to grow like coral, until it chokes up the entire system, or do you try and check the growth and begin hacking back. It could be argued that, as with clearing an overgrown garden, the mess you make by hacking away at the beginning is indistuingishable from the mess you started with. You’re also going to need to spend money at the outset. What is important is a plan of action and a vision of how this thing should look at the end of it. What isn’t clear from this piece is what the alternatives are if we are ever to reduce the size of the state, target benefits at those genuinely unable to work and free millions of people from state dependence with it’s massive bureacratic infastructure. IDS may be flawed but where is the constructive criticism

    • SimonToo

      The devil lies in the detail of effecting the transition from the old process to the new – and in doing so within the duration of parliament..

    • Mukkinese

      Except this is not “coral” that is being hacked, but the lives of real people. Something the right spends most of it’s time denying and excusing.

  • Mynydd

    Mr Duncan Smith and his Universal Credit/Welfare Reform will be a major headache for the next government whatever its colour. Labour seem to have recognised this and are committed placing a hold on Universal Credit while the situation is assessed. On the other hand Mr Cameron is effectively saying, what problem we wont be in power anyway. Let labour sort it out it’s all their fault.

    • Mukkinese

      As more and more information comes out on this, it will damage the Tories.

      Osborne has long tried to distance himself from IDS and Cameron basically pretends he does not exist, but they helped create this mess, however reluctant they might have been, they did not step in and put it right…

  • Amir
  • NeilM639

    Shame the journalists don’t revisit Duncan-Smith’s criminal dishonesty of just over ten years ago. In 2003 he created a fictitious “job” for his millionaire wife and then claimed additional parliamentary expenses which were supposed to be her “salary”. The job didn’t exist and there were very reliable witnesses who testified to that fact, including Duncan-Smith’s constituency agent. Duncan-Smith and his wife should have been fully investigated by the Fraud Squad and put before the courts for obtaining money by deception. Instead he was removed as Tory leader and the matter was swept under the carpet. Duncan-Smith and his millionaire wife are thoroughly dishonest. Its as simple as that.

    • Mukkinese

      The “News”paper proprietors seem to have decided, en masse, that they do not want a benefits system, at least not one that actually costs money, so the imbecile Smith’s blundering wrecking ball in a china shop is cheered on, madly wildly and with enthusiastic glee.

      Note how the downside of his mess is barely reported or, if it does make it’s way into the public conciousness, it is immediately shouted down and spun away.

    • Sue Marsh

      In fact he bullied and threatened the PA who reported him to tears just as he now threatens and bullies anyone who dares to criticise him.

      • NeilM639

        He is a thoroughly loathsome and dishonest individual.

    • Adrian Whiteley


  • GraveDave

    He’s hurting the scroungers and the workshy. That’s all his fans need to know.

    • m montgomery

      what a stupid fool you are don’t you know its the sick and vulnerable that are taking hit after hit don’t you know he is trying his hardest to cover up the mess like a court case going on because he will not allow an FOI of deaths of people on ESA .2011 to 2012 10,600 people died within six weeks of being told they are not sick enough and are fit for work and had their benefits stopped now they are trying to hide the updated figures .you sit their and spout the governments rhetoric when your own PM is a thieving scrounger who claimed every benefit going for his disabled son and him a millionaire yet is denying others with nothing the same benefits Osbourn a millionaire who claimed child benefit for his children yet he is a millionaire IAN DUNCAN SCHMITT above claimed for his own underpants on his expenses form never mind the likes of £29 for a breakfast .so who exactly are the scroungers the block claiming £71 a wk unemployment allowance or an MP fiddling his expenses while claiming for the electricity bill for his stables or the duck house or the £80 loo roll holder

      • GraveDave

        Do you not see the inverted commas. They stand for irony. Did you not see the bit where it says ‘that’s all his fans need to know…’ Now I can understand how one person missed it but not eleven.
        But that’s how many ticked you up.

        • Michael

          I got it, but his point still stands though xD

  • The Masked Marvel

    None of these are strictly a conservative concerns, are they? Not that there’s much with which to disagree here.

    • Mukkinese

      But the Conservative party knows the mess he is making and the frontbench just sits back and watches while the backbenches cheer him on…

  • Jane Young

    Excellent article – and brilliant that it’s in the Spectator. Much of the time it’s less about left and right and more about competence and incompetence – and under IDS the DWP has become the most incompetent organisation one could ever have the misfortune to have dealings with.

    What makes this a very serious issue, though, is that most of those who do have dealings with DWP are those whose grasp on coping with life is tenuous, to say the least. I would even go so far as to say there’s a moral issue for the Government about allowing such a dysfunctional minister, and department, to be responsible for the economic survival of some of those with the least ability to compensate for the ravings of a fanatic and the shortcomings of his fiefdom.

    Thank you, Nick Cohen, for having the courage to tell the truth the Tories would rather keep hidden.

  • Jayson Carmichael

    As long as hes causing so much misery to the disabled, unemployed etc tories quite content that the money is well spent

  • Terry Field

    Is it possible to find amy ministry, any minister, any state authority in the British public sector that is other than criminally incompetent?

    • GraveDave

      Most will at least sensibly attempt to cover up for a malicious agenda. This lot though seem quite happy (and even proud) to have the Daily Mail and Sun on their side and giving the backing they need for their populist bulls–t. But what people need to realise is that being unemployed, incapacitated and/or going broke, can happen to anybody. So it shouldn’t be seen as just another class thing .

      • Terry Field

        When is cutting a vat budget – to level spending ionly – let alone reducing it – populist bullshit?
        Was not the gross vote buying of Labour under Brown and Blair not the real populist bullshit???

        • clouty

          But the social security spend is going up, not down, Terry. Not because the money’s going to the sick, disabled and unemployed, but because the costs of running the system have increased – with payments for Universal Credit, and to the likes of A4E and Serco for ‘workfare’ which is getting worse results than doing nothing at all..

          Even with the delayed payments because of 250,000 people waiting a year for PIP decisions, and 700,000+ people waiting on the minimum income while their ESA cases are decided – also taking a year or more, the social security spend is higher than in 2010.

          • Terry Field

            You are well aquainted with these details – but if that is true, are you suggesting the welfare state cannot be shrunk – even where a government tries to do so??
            It seems a shambles, but having worked in British governement dapertments at director level, the rot and hopeless incompetence I saw caused me to abandon any hope the country would do other than decline to the point of collapse – and the Labour Party takes state management to a level of incompetence that beggars belief.
            I left, and it was clearly the correct decision.

            • clouty

              Because the DWP couldn’t organise the proverbial party in a brewery, that means it’s ok for ill people, disabled people and people down on their luck to go hungry, become homeless, be left without any support? Is that the sort of society we want? These delays in ESA and PIP decisions are only pushing the financial load into the future. Because of the current targets-lead assessment driven culture ill people are being made more ill. The burden on the state is increasing.

              • Terry Field

                THe burden is not able to be met.
                Whoever wins the next election will face the reality of the need for quite gigantic state spending cuts. The retail boom will come to an end after the election – it has been in part funded on the back of a currency whose value s based on the economy being near capacity and thus being close to rises in interest rates.
                The debt profile in Britain is frightful, and impoverishing.
                De-industrialisation ans socialist excesses of=ver many decades has plunged one third of British people into poverty – and that is repeated across the West, with the exception of France, where redistribution has been more aggressive, but where growth and debt are dreadful and completely unsustainable.
                Germany has a large number of workers who are in receipt of credits to survive – but this is done in the context of a requirement to balance the budget – in contrast to the insanity of UK management since 1945.
                IN Britian, the total state spend will HAVE to be cut very significanly. And over many decades, let alone years.
                How it is done is a serious subject, but any cuts are made worse when the civil service manages to continue its history of utter incompetence with respect to large scale IT projects.
                Scrap the utterly hopeless and amateurish British Civil Service and replace it with either the US or the Japanese model – then effective delivery may be experienced in Britain.
                By preference, I would like to see big and continuing cuts in all state payments to individuals who can work, and at the same time greatly reduce the tax and NI on-cost of employment. The economy needs to go in the reverse direction of the Continent, and get much closer to the US model, where growth and prosperity – however unequal – is more in evidence.

                • clouty

                  Rubbish. Money is a human abstract, and has nothing to do with what resources the world actually has available to us. We can arrange things to suit the few, with the situation as it is now where one family owns as much as 50% of the worlds population put together, or we could go for a much richer, kinder society where we actually care about and for each other.

                • Terry Field

                  Your note is truly infantile and Idiotic.
                  Money is a fine measure of value and resource measurement.
                  That is why it has universal application, you dreamer.
                  Your infantile note suggests only a revolutionary redistribution of resources to be undertaken under conditions of violent dictatorship, since there is no other realistic condition imaginable that would allow this to occur.
                  You try to leaven the note with happy clappy stuff about loving each other, but you come across in your notes as a total unloving bast*rd.

                • clouty

                  Did you see the statement by the Bank of England about how money is created?
                  Maybe you are the one that needs educating?

                • Terry Field


                • clouty

                  It rather undercuts your point about money being a finite resource.

                • Terry Field

                  And another thing………….

            • Sue Marsh

              It can certainly be reformed and reformed well. The problem here was the two men responsible were IDS and Lord Freud, both hopelessly out of touch ideologues who DID NOT use any evidence to make their way. They took a load of unproven “beliefs” and attempted to reform our entire welfare system AT THE SAME TIME. It was a ludicrous fools errand from the start. When we heard IDS claimed UC would cost 2.2 Billion we all sat in amazement. A real time IT system capable of updating the hours worked of every worker in the country and calculating their tax monthly???? Do put this in perspective as most Conservatives will know and have used against Lab, when they tried to reform the NHS computer system they got to 13 billion and still hadn’t completed it. What was Duncan-Smith thinking???? And this is exactly the problem, repeated ad infinitum with every “reform”. He lives in his own world where what he says will be. When it fails, he blames everyone else for not achieving what was always impossible.

              • Terry Field

                You reais a number of pints. Firstly, if this system was characterised with insanely unachievable objectives, where were the civil servants who pointed this out – and where wee the journalists at the time? As absent as when the mad universal tav reform IT platform was begun then quietly dropped, and when the even more crackbrained universal NHS database system was specified and developed to the point of unviable collapse.
                You may be right about IDS – I do not think so, but even if you are, I repeat, how did the Civil Service act as the handmaiden to another bloody great disaster.
                Simple. They are still amateur, and not up to the task. Bernard Crick must be laughing in his grave.
                DO you deny the insane Labour system needs scrapping by the way?
                Do you not consider the British state maintains – against all sanity -the lifestyles of huge numbers of unskilled and knowledge-free people to no good purpose except the maintenance of the comfortable girth of their waisitlines?

                • clouty

                  It’s always someone else’s fault, Mr Field? In this case we’ll blame the civil service, shall we?

                • Terry Field

                  Your reply is silly.
                  And it certainly is the fault of the Civil Service since it is their direct responsibility create computer systems required by ministers, the framework of which was extremely well discussed prior to, and during the election campaign.
                  They have a good record of ruining large scale IT schemes, as is very well documented.

                • clouty

                  If I had a cook, and I asked that cook to make me a dinner that was delicious and healthy, but I only supplied earth and sulphuric acid to make it with, then it would not be the cook’s fault if she failed.

                • Sue Marsh

                  It is NOT. IDS asked for the impossible from the very start. It was unachievable and everyone – including the civil servants – told him so. He has been through no fewer than THREE IT teams who have walked away from the fiasco.

                • Terry Field

                  How do you know this?
                  None of this is in the public domaon. Are you privy to these particular discussions?
                  WHy has it not been flagged from the P.S to the Cabinet Secretary for cabinet discussion – that would be the normal route in such a situation – where is the evidence?

                • Sue Marsh

                  It’s all in the public domain, just google it. It’s also well detailed throughout Hansard, & Computer Weekly have very many stories about it all. You could era any transcript o a recent Work and Pensions Committee session on UC. There have been many leaked DWP documents that detail many criticisms of UC that were repeatedly ignored and the staff survey of civil servants showed it was in utter chaos.

                • Terry Field

                  Thank you Sue – EXTREMELY informative.

                • clouty
                • Sue Marsh

                  The civil servants warned him repeatedly, he ignored them too. The journalists were busy hiding up his bottom – believe me, I’ve been one of those trying to get very series and important stories reported. Being IDS, he then tried to frame the very same civil servants for giving him excellent advice he ignored – see Robert Devereaux.

              • clouty

                Just so. Mr. Smith relies on his feelings, assumptions and hubris. Far better to rely on facts, but the facts do not underpin IDS’s plans.

          • m montgomery

            you do not receive minimum benefit while the ESA is being looked at anymore only if it goes to tribunal people are being left with zero to live on .welcome to the world under the caring tories

            • clouty

              …and people who have been tested and found to be too ill to work are sanctioned, and their benefits taken away, for … not being able to attend work-related full time courses.

          • Terry Field

            Looks like its time to emigrate!
            Hang on —- I did.
            Dang, must be the alkasertaheimers.

        • GraveDave

          Because of the way the right attempt to sell the idea.
          By populist media.

  • Amir
    • FrenchNewsonlin

      Why are you spamming all the threads with this link piffle?

  • Oldmanlabourrollinghome

    A very well balanced article. I have always assumed that he survives because Cameron cannot sack him because that would upset the right of the party. How IDS became leader of the Tory Party is one of the great mysteries of our time. It defied common sense when you had Portillo a candidate of the Right who was 4 times better. I met IDS once at a schools event. There didn’t seem to be a ,lot going off in between his ears. He came over a little deranged like that Tony Blair character.

    • anosrep

      He survives for the same reason Gove, Osborne and Grayling do: because the only way Cameron can survive is by having ministers who are even more awful than he is and soak up so much of the public’s dislike that there’s not a lot left for their boss.

  • jaydeepee

    IDS, a baron of subsidy. Has been suckling on the teat of welfare for some years now. A man who knows his way to claiming a subsidy, from his undercrackers that he believes the public should pay for, to his £54 breakfast which he, once more, a multi-millionaire, believes the public should also pay for. The man is a social inadequate and better start looking for a job very soon.

    • goatmince

      I suggest we come up with the post of peace envoy for the Northern Alliance in 11 months time.

  • Retired Nurse

    You missed out because he’s nuts, and they can’t get rid of him anyway….

  • David Moss

    “The GDS is one of the successes of this administration.”


    Are you sure?

    GDS’s achievement

    They don’t become one of this administration’s successes just because UC is one of its failures.