The Right-Minded View On Iain Duncan Smith’s Resignation

by richardhutton

'Arise and walk'.

‘Arise and walk’.

In many ways, Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation exemplifies his entire period in office, as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

Smith was a deeply principled man, of noted integrity, and seemingly limitless compassion. Give or take. He was also a well-regarded intellectual – having overcome tremendous odds, in order to graduate with a PHD in Believeonomics from the prestigious University of Perugia.

In between matriculation, and entering public service, Smith enjoyed a successful career in the military – rising to the rank of private, in the same space of time as most people would would attain the status of corporal. Under his straight and level eye, the barracks’ stationery cupboard he oversaw never had its integrity breached, even once: in three years, not a single paperclip was unaccounted for; whilst he replenished depleted stocks of staples and pencils without fear or favour. This period would foreshadow his oversight of the Universal Credit programme.

In between leaving the military and being appointed the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, however, Smith founded the Faith-Based Institute for Social Justice – which epitomized his time in government office. Smith would let nothing stand in the way of his efforts to reduce poverty in Britain; by redefining the term it until nobody could be said to live in poverty by any official definition.

Instead of using the amount of money somebody has to measure the amount of money they have, the Iain Duncan Smith opted instead for much better forms of evaluating poverty. For example, whether someone could balance an umbrella in the palm of their hand; how many types of hat they were able to name in a minute; and the number of empty flour bags or potato sacks they may have to dress themselves with, during the cold winter months. Besides, if money was a bit short, then people could simply follow the sterling example set by Mr Smith himself; and make good any financial difficulties they experienced, by marrying into a generous inheritance, and using Parliamentary expenses.

Nor was Smith ever one to shirk a challenge – while data, statistics, consultations, and expert opinion might suggest that one of his policies was a bad idea, you’d better believe Smith would press on, undeterred. “We must pound people with the iron-fist of compassion” he declared; “and grind them beneath the boot-heel of kindness”. And this he did, at every opportunity, through the steady application of Believeonomics.

In many ways, Smith was the great reformer of our times: determined to end the something for nothing culture he saw all around: wheelchair users being given free ramps; blind people gifted free walking canes; or the sick and ill being granted free oxygen. The exhibits of our society’s something for nothing culture were simply endless – until Smith intervened.

And the people were thankful – their gratitude knew no bounds. People incapacitated by chronic illness appreciated the positive impact that a sanctions-based diet could have. Those who could barely afford to pay the rent on their properties soon found out how much simpler life could be when you lived on a rent-free pavement instead. What’s more, people who were short of the odd lung – or two – would be mentored by a work programme coach until the missing organs had grown back.


However, people who were too ill to work – be they suffering from degenerative conditions, or having lapsed into a coma – were perhaps the most thankful beneficiaries of Smith’s benevolent policies, among all: as many thousands of them undertook a work capability assessment, and were found to be perfectly healthy once again; as many an autopsy would denote shortly afterwards.

This was all for people’s own benefit, of course. If the six years of his time in office can be neatly summed-up, it is that Iain Duncan Smith only wanted to help people help themselves.

Perhaps Smith’s own words should be his epitaph here, however: “I’m proud of our welfare reforms“.