What a stunt
It’s funny to think Iain Duncan Smith was ever out of job considering how he is trying to dismantle the benefit system. According to the Telegraph, he had two periods of unemployment in his life. He is quoted to have said:
“It was a shock – absolutely awful. I felt pathetic. I remember telling my wife. We looked at each other and she said: ‘God, what are we going to do for money?’”
That second spell of employment happened when he was married and had the second child on the way. He fails to mention he had access to his wife’s inherited wealth. It’s ironic that he denounces people who are in exactly the same situation he was in: you have a job, you have kids and then you lose your job but still have to take care of your children.
IDS still insists that he knows how it is and that we are trying to take attention away from the welfare reforms. Quite to the contrary – we are bringing attention to it by pointing out that it is already near impossible to survive.
Greg Clark, the Treasury minister, admitted that any MP would find it hard to live on the breadline (yes!) but went on to say that
“I think the context is this – we’re all having to tighten our belts…right across the board there are difficult choices to be made, it is an incredibly difficult situation.”
Why can’t he see that our belts cannot be tightened any more? That the belts themselves were pawned because we could not afford the ever-rising bills? That people, even those who work, are already using food banks?
For the poor, it’s not a matter of having meat-free Mondays or forgoing the annual retreat to the Alps. It is making the really difficult choices about buying a tin of value baked beans or a pint of milk. About topping up your electricity meter (cooking) or gas meter (heating) – March 2013 was the second coldest on record. Usually, I guess, it’s simply energy versus food. Nobody believes us when we say it because such pauperisation of society is too hard to comprehend in a developed country in the 21st century. It’s easier to blame it on us being workshy scroungers.