IDS, the new Wilberforce, is freeing benefit slaves from the tyranny of being able to eat

Thu, 06/08/2015 - 13:26 -- nick

Iain Duncan Smith is a vital crusader against the modern moral failure that is having a tiny bit of money and being able to eat.

Without him, some of the UK's poorest people would simply stuff their faces with food, extending their lives unreasonably and defying their Department for Work and Pensions overlords by continuing to claim meagre social security payments.

A Smith speech from last year has just been sent to us in which DWP supremo Smith shows again how his fight against benefit 'dependency' (having enough money to live when you are ill or don't have a job) is liberating the poor from difficult decisions.

No more agonising over paying for 'heating or eating' - he will free you by taking away every bit of your money through his sanctions targets so you won't be able to afford either.

Smith, presumably feeling extra-feisty as he was speaking to the horribly-misnamed Centre for Social Justice he founded when at a loose end after failing at the Tory leader's job, compared himself to anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce in his reforming zeal:

"Wilberforce ... faced a massive problem, a social problem, and saw only the need to change it, and embarked on that change against the vested interests and accepted wisdom of their age, and the results you can see were massive and transformational.”

Those vested interests Smith has been forced to fight include the massively powerful unemployed-industrial complex (a few Facebook groups, the odd Guardian writer and occasional shrinking union), while he has gone to war with only the full might of the government, most of the media, the poverty-porn-loving masses, a timid Labour opposition and the delivery agents of billion-pound support programmes to back him up.

Of course, the comparison between benefit cuts and slavery is perfectly reasonable, and the speech saw Smith speak of 'freeing' the poor from the servitude of being able to pay for things, much as Wilberforce freed the slaves from being owned by another human being and regularly dying of overwork and disease.

He describes his policies as being 'historic', a reasonable assessment as they will see provision rolled back to that point in the past when there were no universal benefits and the poor were left to beg for charity and die young.

Some carpers have pointed out that his forced labour schemes, including the mandatory work programme, mean he is actually closer to slave owner than abolitionist, but they don't understand the man.

Smith doesn't need facts or real information to support his assertions. This is the man who, when faced with criticism from the National Statistics Agency that figures did not back up his claim that the benefit cap was pushing more people to find work, simply said that he 'believed' he was right even if there was no proof.

What bravery and imagination, to stand up in the face of mere facts to declare his policies to be effective as well as making him one of the greatest reformers ever to have lived.

Wilberforce saw the bodies of slaves piling up and knew he must dedicate himself to ending this travesty.

Smith saw the bodies of the sanctioned piling up and knew that he must never allow the information on why they died to be made public.

The two men could be intellectual twins.