It’s been a few days of fun for Iain Duncan Smith.
After claiming that he could live on £53 a week if he had to, he’s seen hundreds of thousands of people sign a petition to make him prove it, and stories in the press implying that he might not be the best person to talk about expenses given he can claim for things like travel and stationery.
In an Independent Voices poll, 95% of over 4,000 respondents have said they'll like to see IDS take on the challenge.
The thing is, for Iain, none of this really matters because he’s quite rich. He’ll never have to prove his point and in a few weeks people will have just put it down as yet another example of a politician saying one thing and doing another.
But I am not Iain Duncan Smith. I have a full head of hair and absolutely no privileged background whatsoever which means I am far more likely to stick to my word: I will happily prove I can live on £1581 a week, if I have to.
At the moment I probably earn about a quarter of that a month, if I’ve got lucky and found some extra work. Most of that income is spent on paying bills and boring, unimportant things like that. The extra cash would come in quite handy to fund far more urgent things like a second house or, to start with, a first house. That would be easy; I’d only need a few rooms to put all my possessions and the caviar bath I’d buy. I’d only have to spend a few weeks saying things in the House of Commons then doing the complete opposite to earn enough for the deposits.
Of course sometimes I might not want to spend much time in my second house, so I’d likely have to buy a season ticket for the train, too, for those days where travelling just seems like too much fun an opportunity to pass up. How much is a first class seat? I’ll take them all! Can I hire someone to place a silk cloth on the seat before I sit down? I’ll put an ad out on Monster. It will be a voluntary position but it will definitely enhance your CV so that the next voluntary position you apply for will definitely be impressed. No expenses will be covered, you can eat my leftovers if I am feeling generous.
Then I think I might quite like to buy one thousand five hundred and eighty one lottery tickets one week just to see what happens. If I lose on all of them it doesn’t really matter because I’ll have earned it all back by next week. Then I’ll buy a Eurolottery ticket instead because that’s where the big money is. Wouldn’t that be fun? Me, being a millionaire earning a fortune every week. I’d say we all had to tighten our belts in these tough economic times but what I’d really mean is the rest of you poor people have to tighten yours. I’d be too busy buying new ones made out of unicorn skin.
Another thing that excites me is how quickly I’ll be able to pay off my student loan. I don’t like to look at exactly how much I owe them but I reckon after fifteen weeks or so they’d stop sending me letters in the post and just send me a card saying ‘Well done!’ on it instead. Is that how it works? I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody who has paid off their student loan, I could be the first. I hope there’s a cash prize for it, I’d be struggling after all that expense.
The thing I think I am most excited about, and I’m sure you’d all feel the same if you were in my position, is quite how superior I would feel compared to everybody else. You’d all be scrabbling around in Aldi looking for food that sounds like real food but is actually pretend, while I’ll be shopping in Harrods for every day essentials like bread and toilet paper. ‘This roll is made from the fur of an otter sir. It’s highly impractical because an otter’s skin is designed to repel liquid but that won’t matter because, ultimately, the tax payer is paying for it!’
So if you don’t mind, when you get a spare moment, could you please start a petition to make this happen instead? IDS won’t act on the one about him, but I will act on this one… if I have to.