Iain Duncan Smith is just trying to stay afloat.
Everywhere you look you can’t help but notice that IDS is being slammed for his reasons for stepping down as Work and Pensions Secretary. From his own Tory party to the Labour Party, from past supporters to everyone in the public with an axe to grind.
Grind that axe they might and with good reason, he has presided over one of the most consistent campaigns against the working poor and disabled for many a year and his reason for quitting despite it all? Unfairness. Morality. The fact he couldn’t in good conscience go through with the latest round of cuts, this time to PIP payments. A benefit received by disabled people up and down the country.
Many are saying that his reasons for leaving are connected to his own stance on the EU referendum. He sits in the Brexit camp and it’s believed this resignation will help split the party further helping to convince the public that the right thing to do is leave.
That may or not be true. No one knows for sure. But I take a different view to most, that actually IDS is genuine..at least in part..for his reasons in wanting to leave.
IDS has had a very secure position in the cabinet. Like a good school prefect he has towed the party line and gone through with all the cuts thrown at him.
Few recall the near fallout between him and George Osborne when it was announced that working tax credits were planned to be cut before the Tories were beaten back by the House of Lords. IDS felt that he was being forced into yet more cuts which his work and Pensions budget could not accommodate as Osborne looked to use those saved funds elsewhere.
Fast forward to now (shortly after the announcement of planned cuts to ESA payments) and IDS is presented with, seemingly to him, unexpected cuts to PIP payments. Or at least he didn’t expect it to be announced in the budget. Already under fire from everywhere for his implementation of cuts to the poor it seems his back was well and truly against the wall and had a choice to make.
If you had a job where every request to not do something was thrown back at you by management and you were ignored at every opportunity..wouldn’t you pack it in…at least after some period of time? That’s exactly what’s happened here.
IDS has been the man in the spotlight for a long time and all for negative reasons whilst best buddies Cameron and Osborne laugh away on the front bench as they take the, wrongly applied, plaudits for a recovering and stabilising economy. It must have actually been a job role from hell.
To me, Cameron and Osborne look like the proverbial popular bully boy school kids in a playground of followers whilst a few sit on the periphery just trying to stay out of trouble but will even Polish the boots of the bullies if it means being popular. IDS did Polish their boots and got no recognition for it, now having been pushed to the brink IDS has had enough.
Why would he give up a secure ministerial role? Why would he risk the wrath of management and colleagues?
This isn’t a defence of what he has done. This is a recognition that he has done a good thing and boy is it good for the opposition.
Remember also that Cameron and his minions would much rather you believe his reason for quitting was Brexit rather than because their fiscal policy attack on the poor and disabled being the reason. It looks far better for them and takes the heat away. Let’s not give them the satisfaction.
IDS smacks of a lost little boy. Let loose on the vulnerable with the backing of the playground bully.. and now finds he isn’t quite like them..and on retreating.. find he himself has been cast away from the popular crowd.
Sympathy? No. Recognition? Yes.
IDS was the willing and culpable whipping boy, Cameron and Osborne the architects and they are still in power.
***Update 21/03/16 21:55****
I happened upon this article in the telegraph this evening that does point to clear evidence of a rift between IDS and Osborne giving credence to the argument that he did indeed quit because of the interference from Osborne and thus felt the announcement of cuts to PIP were a step top far and the resignation having nothing to do with Brexit.
By focusing on the reason of Brexit as the reason for the resignation what the left has done is miss a huge opportunity to focus on and attack Osborne and Cameron as the architects of the cuts. Osborne and Cameron loaded the gun and handed it to IDS but too often they interfered because in fact it was them who had their fingers on the trigger.
Instead Osborne and Co. can sit back and claim that they are the listening and caring government they always claimed to be and have now backed down on cuts to PIP. Now they look like the good guys to the gullible. The relevant part of the article we linked to above has been reproduced below.
Feuds between George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith
Early clashes over welfare reform
After a senior Treasury official described Iain Duncan Smith’s plans to reform the welfare system as “impractical”, Mr Duncan Smith told George Osborne that officials in his department must “show more respect”.
Mr Duncan Smith was caught off guard at the 2010 Conservative party conference when Osborne announced higher rate taxpayers would lose their child benefit.
Benefits for pensioners
Mr Duncan Smith said in his resignation letter that he thought the cuts would have been fairer if the Government had been willing to reduce “some of the benefits given to better-off pensioners”.
In 2014, Mr Osborne blocked Mr Duncan Smith’s attempts to redefine child poverty in a clash said to be motivated by “personalities”, not policy.
In November 2015 Mr Duncan Smith was reportedly ready to resign over a row with Mr Osborne over Universal Credit reforms. Mr Duncan Smith feared his flagship welfare programme would be undermined by Mr Osborne’s plan to raid Universal Credit to lessen the impact of the cuts to tax credits.
Mr Duncan Smith said as he resigned that the planned changes to disability benefits were a “compromise too far” in the context of a Budget that included giveaways to the wealthy. Mr Osborne faced a backlash over his proposals to cut the benefits paid to the disabled by over £1bn.