Despite all evidence to the contrary, Iain Duncan Smith still insists everything is tickety-boo with his big project

His bold attempt to restrict welfare is an even bigger calamity than previously thought

Share

For anyone who may have missed a devilishly subtle change in mainstream attitudes to welfare, a brace of news stories collided on Friday to offer a handy tutorial.

One reported that copies of the Beveridge Report – that 1942 statement of the intent to use welfare to eradicate the plagues of want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness – were air-dropped on Germany during the war. The copy found in Hitler’s bunker had an annotation in which the Führer banned any public mention of the report, fearing the morale-sapping effect if Germans realised how noble the enemy actually was.

It simultaneously emerged, meanwhile, that Iain Duncan Smith’s bold attempt to restrict welfare is an even bigger calamity than previously thought. Despite IDS’s cunning plan to have the distasteful announcement released on Friday, while the “Ukip earthquake” was dominating the news cycle, it was hard to avoid noticing this: his flagship Universal Credit was said to have narrowly escaped (after pressure from IDS) a Major Project Authority “red rating” - Whitehall Mandarin for “unworkable catastrophe". Eight months after a “reset” was supposed to rescue it, UC remains an unmitigated disaster. Hard fact of this kind being a red rag to a bullshitter, Iain continues to insist that all is tickety-boo.

So to those behind the new Longitude Prize, rewarding whoever finds a solution to one of six facile tasks (discovering a cure for dementia, eradicating hunger across the globe, that sort of doddle), we suggest the addition of a more properly challenging seventh. For £20m, can anybody locate Iain Duncan Smith’s brain?

Guests Gatting and Carling are worthy of Cameron

 The latest list of Chequers dinner guests is out, and what a delight to find, among various sports folk David Cameron had over last year, the former England cricket captain Mike Gatting. In geopolitical punditry terms, the world’s most-spherical human is best known for declaring, before leading the infamous 1990 rebel tour to South Africa: “I don’t know much about how apartheid works, but one way to find out is by going there.” Once there, his researches extended as far as watching a demonstration against the tour, and then dismissing it as “just a bit of singing and dancing”. A most worthy prime ministerial dining companion, as was his one-time rugby counterpart. Whether Will Carling arrived in his traditional manner when visiting the very highest in the land, hidden in the boot of a car, is not known.

Campbell keeps quiet about Egyptian connections

I am ecstatic to note Alastair Campbell extending his international campaign to promote progressive values. Ali was spotted a while ago in oil- and gas-rich Kazakhstan, whose dictator, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has a quaintly retro approach to human rights, and who, by weirdest happenstance, has paid Mr Tony Blair handsomely to advise him on “good governance”. Heaping spooky coincidence on Jungian synchronicity, Alastair is now suspected of selling his strategic genius to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a few weeks after Mr Tony praised him for leading the military coup against Egypt’s democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi, who is accused of brutally suppressing internal opposition, will become president in a faintly dodgy election this week. Questioned about this addition to his business portfolio by the Mail on Sunday, Ali denied working on Sisi’s campaign, but would not comment on whether he has spoken to Sisi or his people, or how much, if anything, he was paid for possibly doing so, and whether Mr T brokered such discussions, if indeed they took place. This reticence is strangely out of character, and we look to Alastair to correct this on his blog, which until now has held its tongue on the matter.

Police toss a coin

Helmets off to the Police Federation’s latest triumph. Whether Jon Gaunt, mastermind of the Solihull meeting with Andrew Mitchell, had a hand in it is anyone’s guess. But when the vote for a new chairman was tied 15-15, the Fed elected Steve White by the toss of a coin. Good luck to Inspector White.  Heads Theresa May dismantles him, tails she takes him apart.

Twitter: @MatthewJNorman

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, JAXB, ...

Service Delivery Manager - ITIL / ServiceNow / Derivatives

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading Financial Services orga...

Senior Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

CCNP Network Engineer - Farnborough, £250 pd

£250 per day: Orgtel: Network Engineer (CCNP), Cisco Gold Partner, Farnborough...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
 

Once I would have agreed with Dawkins. Then my daughter was born with Down's Syndrome

Jamie McCullum
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home