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Iain Duncan Smith, a man with four children who has spent a sustained period of his life claiming state benefits, has described the UK’s benefits system as “overly generous”. Is he going to return the public cash he received, then? (No, I didn’t think so)
The Sun reports that he said big handouts for jobless parents are resented by their hard-working neighbours. How odious. He’s hoping that, by saying it, gullible members of the public will believe it, rather than thinking for themselves.
According to the article, “Most people get up in the morning, work hard, come back late and can only afford to have one or two children,” said the father of four.
“They look down the road to the house with the curtains closed, no-one going out to work but lots of kids around.” Your house, Iain.
“It’s dividing society.” No – you’re dividing society, Iain.
He added: “Everybody in Britain makes decisions based on what they can afford and how their family life works.” Fine words, coming from a man who lost a job at property firm Bellwinch after six months. I wonder if he was married then (he probably was; he’d been at GEC-Marconi in 1981, prior to Bellwinch, and they wed in 1982). So he knows that life-changing events can happen unexpectedly.
He just refuses to acknowledge this universal fact of life – it would contradict his ideology.
And his ideology is twisted, when it comes to money.
Look at his policy special adviser, Philippa Stroud, who is also being paid by a right-wing thinktank, the Centre for Social Justice, that lobbies his own Department for Work and Pensions!
He knows that the special advisers’ code of conduct stipulates that they “should not receive benefits of any kind which others might reasonably see as compromising their personal judgment or integrity”.
An annex to the code, titled the Seven Principles of Public Life, adds: “Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.”
The code also makes clear that ministers making such appointments, in this case Smith himself, are held responsible for their advisers’ conduct.
He seems to think it’s okay for her to take public money on top of her own salary; he seems to think it’s all right for her to have a job as a senior member of a pressure group that tries to influence his department, when he role within that department is to give him advice on what to do; he seems to think it’s permissible to allow all that and still lecture the nation about what is morally acceptable; and he seems to think he’ll get away with it.
Sadly, as a member of a government that is so twisted its members need help screwing themselves into their trousers in the morning, he’s probably right about that last assumption.
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