Simon Carr:

The Sketch: IDS takes the lid off social reform as Dave flatters the feckless

Share
Related Topics

It probably wasn't solely to annoy Polly that they held their poverty presser in Toynbee Hall but it must have been an incidental pleasure. Iain Duncan Smith and David Cameron announced the Tory welfare plan in that Edwardian palace of civic goodwill and self-improvement. I'm not sneering at either mind you, that's a trick you find on the professional left. But the venue was iconic, and part of the message-sending thing they enjoy doing – like Ed Balls eating the Kleinwort Benson canapes.

And it's always enjoyable watching IDS keeping a lid on it. A reporter asked whether it was wise for him to say on the radio that Brits were too lazy to work. Cameron made a joke about the Today programme and everyone laughed. But you could see a surge of the old warrior spirit in IDS. He does have a temper. That's quite attractive in a politician.

The PM was very much the Prime Minister giving the lead answer to all questions. That caused IDS to tighten the screws on his pressure lid occasionally. His policy has come through the fire, goodness knows how much table thumping, job threatening and knuckle whitening has gone into it. He has now expunged the shame of his career disaster – and in the same place that John Profumo expunged his. All credit to him, maybe his efforts really will prove to be the start of a cultural change in Whitehall's approach to the feckless incompetents who commission and deliver back-to-work schemes.

IDS has discerned a revolutionary truth: these contractors should not be paid unless they do what they're being paid for.

The PM gives his welfare message a good deal of wallop and it's clear to any fair-minded observer (I had to ask one) that he thoroughly means what he says.

He told us that he knew this country and refused to believe there were 5 million people not interested in working. "The system" must be providing the wrong incentives. If you were interested in twisting his meaning about – he was saying society did exist and that it was to blame.

The questioning wasn't what you'd call encouraging or even very supportive. And then there was chanting outside as of angry civilians who'd had their benefits tapered. The demonstrators turned out to be an Islamist goon squad chanting "David Cameron go to hell!" This sounded a little primitive, theologically speaking, to my untrained ear. The noisiest one declared, "No one has the right to make laws except Allah!" He didn't tell us what Allah's view was of the benefit taper rate on the Universal Credit. Some things are better left to Caesar, perhaps, or in this case Cameron.

twitter.com/simonsketch

React Now

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

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Corporate Commercial Solicitor

£45000 - £65000 per annum + Excellent: Austen Lloyd: Corporate Commercial Soli...

Year 3 Primary Teacher - Dewsbury

£110 - £155 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: An excellent, last minute opp...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Residents of the Gravesham constituency are 10 times closer to what Peter Hain scorns as the “Westminster elite” than are those of Linlithgow and East Falkirk  

Will no one stop the march of localism?

Jonathan Meades
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam