Matthew Norman on Monday: IDS gives Britain's jobless the doubts of his benefits

 

Concerns that the Government is secretly operating a positive-discrimination scheme, whereby the possessor of a double-figure IQ is randomly selected for the Cabinet, were assuaged yesterday.

When Iain Duncan Smith joined Eddie Mair on the unwell Andrew Marr’s Sabbath sofa, the Work and Pensions Secretary derided the rumours about his intellectual capacity when dismissing the courtroom setback to his plan to make the jobless work for a minimum hourly wage of £0.00.

“I absolutely tell you this. People can’t do nothing and take benefits,” he said, reflecting not on his personal history (see below) but on the geology graduate Cait Reilly, who was illegally coerced into swapping volunteer work at a museum for unpaid work at Poundland. The High Court said this was absolutely fine, IDS explained, and what the Court of Appeal thought it was doing in hearing the appeal, let alone granting it, is anyone’s guess. “I’m sorry,” he went on, “there’s a group of people out there who think they’re too good for it. Next time one of these smart people who say there’s something wrong with this go into the supermarket, ask themselves this simple question. When they can’t find the food on the shelves, who is more important? Them the geologists, or the person who stacks the shelves?” Utterly, utterly brilliant.

Now those of us who are unable to locate eggs in an aisle confusingly marked “Eggs” will know who to blame: those fancy-pants scientists who fixate on the trivia, such as how to save the economy by making fracking pay, when they should be stacking shelves.

Even ministers have claimed the dole

IDS spent six months on the dole himself after leaving the Army in 1981, yet curiously there is no record of him doing unpaid work to safeguard his self-respect. Obviously, he volunteered for some noble cause, such as shelf-stacking, because the great altruist who eventually found work selling arms for GEC-Marconi  would not have lounged around in his jim-jams while the neighbours braved the commute. Perhaps he would care to tell us about these good works. The image of IDS as archetypal welfare scrounger  is simply too painful to bear.

The Welsh wizard with journalistic prowess

Still with frontbench titans, it’s refreshing to note how well Wales is served these days. The talent of  the Welsh Secretary David Jones, who feels gay couples cannot provide children with “a warm and safe environment”, is matched by his Labour shadow, Owen Smith. Rod Liddle, who as editor of the Today programme once hired him as a producer, recalls asking Owen to arrange an interview with a senior copper. “Owen dialled 999,” writes Liddle. “Asked which emergency service he required, he said: ‘Police. I want an interview with the Chief Constable NOW’.”

Yet again, The Sun fails to lead by example

Dominic Mohan’s editorship of The Sun continues to impress. “What were This Morning thinking when they broadcast a photo of a pregnant Duchess of Cambridge in a bikini,” mused a leader on Thursday. “It was either an appalling blunder of a deeply cynical trick to boost viewing  figures. We suspect the worst.”   By eerie happenstance, on the same day Dominic filled his front page with the photo of Reeva Steenkamp in a bikini, within 24 hours of her death in Pretoria. We do not suspect the worst.

McKenzie… for once Fleet Street’s quiet man

Worrying times for Dominic’s best-loved predecessor. Kelvin McKenzie is threatened with a civil lawsuit for malfeasance over the eccentric Sun coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy that resulted after he recast himself as a copy-taker to take down the South Yorkshire police’s fantasies in perfect shorthand. It is almost as if victims’ families doubt the sincerity of his “profuse apologies”, offered so promptly last autumn barely 23 years after the event.

In fact, Kelvin is so riven with guilt that he cannot bring himself to discuss the matter at all, and has vanished from  public life. No doubt the silence will end, and he will be back brimming with good sense before long. Do not, as a gleaming-pated genius once told a Tory conference, underestimate the determination of a quiet man.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?