Iain Duncan Smith

Trusting voters

Many politicians have a deep mis-trust of voters, especially on the left.

We saw this last year when Martyn Martin Bradbury was incredulous, despite a political conspiracy and his own deep involvement in Dirty Politics, that the voters simply didn’t conform to his world view.

There is a brilliant article in the Telegraph about trusting voters that explains why you should. The synergies between the current situation in the UK and last year’s general election here make it relevant.

How on earth did we get here? An Opposition leader who was almost universally regarded as an unelectable joke (at least outside of highly specialised circles) six months ago is now apparently locked in an unbreakable popular tie with a Prime Minister whose government has engineered a remarkable economic recovery. Either the Conservatives have run a quite spectacularly disastrous election campaign – or this isn’t actually happening.

Now, as regular readers will know, this column has not been shy about criticising the Tory campaign, or the performance of the Prime Minister in question, for all the things that so many other observers have noticed: negativity, absence of passion and energy, etc, etc.

But, hey – it hasn’t been that bad. There are things I would have wanted to see that I did not – especially greater participation by members of the team who might have provided what David Cameron and George Osborne lacked: Eric Pickles for a voice that did not sound a million miles from working-class experience, and Iain Duncan Smith for a genuine moral vision of the party’s aims. There are things that I did see that I wish I hadn’t: a relentless and sometimes puerile attack on the obvious personal foibles of the Labour leadership.

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UK Cutting Benefits to Bludgers who won’t work

Welfare is a safety net, not a lifestyle choice. Ninety years of welfare has created intergenerational welfare dependency, and instead of accepting this, the Pommy Tory Party have been aggressively chasing people off welfare. They started by limiting the benefits any family can receive to twenty six thousand quid, which drove people to work. Previous some families were receiving double this, maying work very unattractive.

Now Iain Duncan Smith has started nailing bludgers who aren’t looking for work.

More than 466,000 people have their benefits suspended including 2,000 who are barred from claiming for three years

Nearly half a million people have had their benefits suspended over the past year after they failed to do enough to find work, turned down job offers or missed Jobcentre appointments, according to new figures.

A total of 466,000 people were hit by sanctions which saw them barred from claiming Job Seekers Allowance for an average of between four weeks and three months.

However, 2,000 repeat offenders were hit by significantly harder sanctions and had their benefits stopped for the next three years, including 49 single parents and 978 people under the age of 24.

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, hailed the figures as evidence that the sanctions system is deterring people from offending after the proportion of people sanctioned fell by 18 per cent.

He said that “there should be consequences” when people “don’t play by the rules”: “The vast majority of people on benefits want to work – and take up all the support on offer to move into a job. We can see this from the record numbers of people in work and falling unemployment.   Read more »

First it was the Japs, now it is the Poms, clamping down on welfare for migrants

Kiwis moan about their “entitlements” being eroded by Labour in Australia when Helen Clark sold them down the river.

But migrant welfare bludgers are causing problems all around the world and just a few weeks ago the Japanese moved to limit entitlement to welfare.

Now the Poms are doing it too…a signal perhaps for Paula Bennett to look at toughening up our welfare eligibility rules too.

Migrants will be banned from receiving any benefits until they have contributed to Britain, under government plans to limit access to handouts.

David Cameron today announced the period for which European migrants can claim benefits is to be halved and recruitment agencies are to be banned from advertising jobs exclusively overseas.

But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed plans to go even further to secure EU agreement to stop benefits being paid to people who have not contributed to to the state, raising the prospect of handouts being linked to tax payments.

The Conservatives are forcing through further measures to deter so-called ‘benefit tourists’.

In January, the Government introduced rules that meant European migrants had to wait three months before they could claim out-of-work benefits – and then could only claim for a maximum of six months.    Read more »

Welfare reforms in UK encouraging entrepreurial spirit

Good news out of the UK as welfare reforms appear to be working well.

Benefit cuts are pushing more people into self-employment and helping to create a new generation of entrepreneurs, the Bank of England has suggested

The Bank announced that one of the most “striking” features of the economic recovery has been the record 4.5 million Britons who are now self-employed.

According to official figures, the number of self-employed workers has risen by more than 600,000 since 2010, accounting for more than a third of the 1.5 million new jobs created since then.

The Bank said the trend was partly down to government welfare reforms, such as the £26,000 benefits cap, pushing people back into work. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, claimed that the figures were evidence that the Coalition was reviving Britain’s “entrepreneurial spirit”.

He told The Telegraph: “Every one of our welfare reforms has been about getting Britain working, so it’s encouraging to see the Bank of England explicitly linking our reforms with the strength of the UK labour market.    Read more »

“Forget reforming the welfare state. We must blow it to smithereens!”

Countries with comprehensive welfare systems teh world over are seeing an explosion of entitlements as bureaucrats and political parties use welfare to continually bribe voters.

If welfare worked and money was the answer then after literally billions of dollars each year in this this country you’d think we would have solved the issue. We haven;t and neither has anyone else.

Time for radical change…Martin Durkin explains.

IF TV’S Benefits Street raised a fuss, James Bartholomew’s The Welfare State We’re In should cause an earthquake. Never mind a few scrounging scallywags, Bartholomew’s book (just republished) gives us the total historical horror of the welfare state in living Technicolor.

Bartholomew is a Redbull double-espresso to Iain Duncan Smith’s limp chamomile tea. Forget reforming the welfare state. We must blow it to smithereens! Bartholomew is clearly a monster. Why else would he attack the welfare state with such ferocity? It is, after all, a modest attempt to help the vulnerable in difficult times. If it has grown enormously, it merely reflects the increasing cruelty of capitalism.

Ha! Bartholomew grabs the welfare state by the throat, and exposes something ugly, frightening and dehumanising. This isn’t a dry book about public policy. It’s an explosive blockbuster, guaranteed to boil your blood, beautifully written, sweeping in its scope.

It is about the transformation of a once independent, prosperous people into a demoralised, dispirited, lumpen mass. It explains why we marry less and divorce more (and the terrible human cost). It tells us why we are so stupid and unhealthy, why our state health system is so inadequate and cruel. It tells us why we don’t save any more, why we are no longer so charitable or polite. It tells us why popular entertainment has descended into pornographic imbecility, why human progress in the past century has fallen so far short of expectations.

The cost is huge in money terms. “Benefits” alone account for about £200bn a year – more than the combined GDP of 30 African countries. But the result of this Niagara of handouts is not contentment. As Bartholomew shows with heartbreaking clarity, the real victims are those whom welfare is supposed to help. It has created legions of single mothers, fatherless children, and jobless boys and men. For them, the welfare state hasn’t given, it has taken. It has taken their savings, dignity, independence, initiative, pride, it has denied them full lives as productive economic agents. Walk through a council estate, as Bartholomew has many times, and witness what he calls the tragic “concentration of despair”.  Read more »

Bugger off bludging foreign ratbags

Iain Duncan Smith the UK work and pensions minister has some stern words for bludging Johnny Foreigner.

The work and pensions secretary vows to protect Britain from ‘exploitation’ by benefit tourists and put those who work hard and pay their taxes first. …

Employment here is growing at the same rate as in Germany, and faster than the EU as a whole. Meanwhile, as unemployment rises in France and Spain, in the UK it has fallen by nearly 100,000 people in the past three months alone — the biggest drop in over a decade.

For those who are out of work, our dynamic labour market offers a real opportunity. Yet too often in the past, I believe we faced a challenge with our workforce at home. Under the last Labour government, more than half of all new jobs were taken by foreign nationals. Meanwhile, even during the years of growth, we had well over four million people sitting on out-of-work benefits — too many of them unwilling or unable to take advantage of the job opportunities that were being created.

There is no kindness in a welfare system that traps the individuals and families it is meant to help, nor anything moral in a fundamentally divided nation, one in which one section of society has been left behind. Yet that is the challenge I was confronted with on entering office, after Labour tried to cover up the problem. They left far too many British people on the sidelines, while companies imported labour from abroad. It is one reason why this Government is taking decisive action to reform the welfare state, a process that is now well under way.

We’re already fixing the broken system we inherited from Labour by placing a cap on the amount people can receive in benefits, reforming sickness benefits and increasing the expectations on some people to move into work while restoring the incentive to do so.

We are seeing excellent results. Already, half a million fewer people are on out-of-work benefits since the election. And notably, the latest data shows that of the rise in employment over the past year, over 90 per cent went to UK nationals.   Read more »

Great idea for the hordes of onesie clad benefit troughers in the UK

Perhaps we could implement something similar here.

I hope Paula Bennett is reading this news. The UK is moving to make sure the work-shy are pushed into work and off benefits.

The long-term unemployed are to be told they must do an unpaid full-time job or be stripped of their benefits.

A dramatic extension of the conditions attached to unemployment handouts  will be unveiled at the Conservative party conference next week, according to well-placed sources.

Ministers are convinced a new US-style ‘work for the dole’ scheme will help to reduce  Britain’s vast benefits bill and curb the something-for-nothing culture.   Read more »

Throwing leadership over to the membership

Labour members are all cock-a-hoop that they may yet get the chance to select the next leader. But what will actually happen?

We can only really look at the recent history of the UK to discover what will happen.

Allowing members to vote on the leader of the parliamentary party sounds like a good idea in theory but what is it like in practice?

Well firstly such a scheme is always, based on the evidence, great for membership growth. Both the Labour party and the Conservative party saw growth in membership as a result of their respective rules around members selecting the leadership.

In 2001 the Conservative party had such a rule and a 5 way leadership battle. Ultimately the membership selected Iain Duncan-Smith, with the backing of the arch-conservatives and the Thatcherites. He was the perfect choice for the membership of the Conservative Party and precisely the wrong choice to try and get votes off of the Labour party. Ultimately the experiment was a failure:

Iain Duncan Smith’s leadership was widely regarded as a disaster for the Conservatives, with the party’s poll ratings declining to under 30% at times. After just two years in the job, IDS lost a confidence vote amongst Conservative MPs and was replaced as leader by Michael HowardRead more »

Measuring Child Poverty

The left wing has much to say about child poverty and try to define it by some amorphous measurement meaning there will always be poor children. In the UK they are moving to address this, not by spending billions more in welfare which doesn’t do anything for the statistics, rather they are looking at establishing better measurements:

Child poverty is to be measured by how long children have two birth parents looking after them, the length of worklessness in households and school achievement under controversial new plans to be set out on Thursday.

Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, will downgrade Labour’s system of measuring poverty relative to the rest of the population, which he believes can provide a skewed picture of household finances.

A new range of indicators will be introduced including family stability, worklessness and educational achievement. Duncan Smith, in a joint move with the schools minister, David Laws, will say the new measures better reflect the reality of poverty in the UK today.

He will stress the most recent figures, showing that since the coalition was formed in 2010, 300,000 children had moved out of relative income poverty, the number of households living below the median income. But he will point out that this fall is due to a decline in the median income nationally, which pushed the poverty line down, and the children defined as moving out of poverty were no better off in absolute terms than before.

Poverty is currently measured by the number of households living at or below 60% of the median income. Labour set a target to reduce the number of children living in relative income poverty to 1.7 million by 2010-11. This was not met; in 2010-11, 2.3 million children were living in relative income poverty. It also vowed to abolish poverty by 2020 and set this goal in statute.

Duncan Smith will say: “As we saw earlier this year, when the child poverty level dropped by 2%, a fall in the median income may lift a family out of poverty on paper. Yet … real incomes did not rise and absolute poverty was unchanged.” For the 300,000 children no longer in poverty according to the official statistics, life was no different.

He will add: “A fixation on relative income, on moving people over an arbitrary line … does little to identify those most in need and entrenched in disadvantage, nor to transform their lives.

Has the same situation developed in NZ?

Helen Clark and her legion of mongs left behind a toxic legacy of placemen and women throughout the civil service, NGO’s quasi-charities and public bodies whose sole aim seems to be to poo-finger our John Key led government at every turn.

From leaks to obstruction and distorted complaining we seem to be suffering from the effects of  the Fabian playbook about what socialists should do to slow things down when the public tire of them and elect adults to fix the wreckage. National meanwhile are too afraid to risk public ire for appointing their own people to boards, instead knee-capping them at every opportunity. Thankfully some of that attitude has declined with the political demise of Simon Power.

Britain’s charities and quangos are now stuffed to the gunwales with Labour placemen

Only now, long after the election, do we begin to realise how clever Gordon Brown really was. After the crash, in his last two years in office, he started preparing for a new kind of Opposition. Labour might be turfed out of government, but it could carry on the fight through charities, quangos and think tanks. At one stage, Brown had a team in Downing Street devoted to appointments in public bodies, carefully building what would become a kind of government-in-exile. And if the Tories tried anything radical – like welfare reform – then Labour’s new fifth columnists would strike.

We saw this yesterday, when Iain Duncan Smith trailed a speech about welfare and poverty. A now familiar welcoming committee rose up early to greet him. The Child Poverty Action Group declared that there are no jobs to be had, so why punish those on welfare? A revered charity, Save the Children, has identified government cuts as a major threat to British children. Even the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children warns that the “most vulnerable” children are “bearing the brunt” of Cameron’s cuts. And hearing them all, who would your average listener believe: a politician, or a charity worker?

But these charities are not the kindly tin-rattlers they were. In 2008, Brown changed the rules so charities could join political campaigns. In theory, they could support any party – but as Brown knew, not many would use these powers to demand smaller taxes. It was a masterstroke. The charities sharpened their claws by hiring former Labour apparatchiks. Save the Children is now run by Justin Forsyth, Brown’s ex-strategy chief. The NSPCC has hired Peter Watt, a former Labour general secretary. Damian McBride is working for Cafod. Britain’s charities are nurturing a colourful, talented and efficient anti-Tory alliance.