17 December 2006

The Tories are in a right IDS mess.

What does it tell us about David Cameron that he thought Ian Duncan Smith was the right person to head the Tories social justice farce? It either means you are not serious about the subject or it means you are stupid (or both).

Just saw IDS on the Sunday Edition interviewed by Andrew Rawnsley and he bumbled his way through a few interesting facts about marriage breakdown and cohabiting splits and then refused to answer every question on what the Tories planned to do about it.

300,000 words and nearly a year of investigation and not a single policy, just vague comments about how good marriage is. So what? What are the Tories scared of? I think I understand what the Tories are up to.

It is pretty clear the Tories are just trying to sound 'caring' about social justice and then will quietly announce the same policies they always do - give money to wealthy 'deserving' parents and sod the rest.

Of course the sort of people who go through the process of marriage ARE less likely to split up, but as Polly Toynbee suggests it is not the marriage certificate that makes the difference to social justice.

Duncan Smith had no answer when Rawnsley pointed out that single parent families are higher in Denmark but poverty there is much lower because the state redistributes more. This is clearly not on the Tories agenda. Just some nice soundbites about how much they 'care' and then announce the same policies that Thatcher managed to triple child poverty with. Well hopefully they won't fool too many people and if the recent Tory drop in the polls is anything to go by, just maybe, people are beginning to realise what the 'Con' in Con-servative really means.


  1. How did Thatcher manage to "triple child poverty" and don't say it's because she f**ked the nation!?!

    Would fewer children be raised in poverty if the state didn't reward the poorest members of society who produce the most offspring!?!

  2. Even the Tories now accept Labour's definition of poverty - i.e. less than 60% of median income.

    It is a simple definition and of course poverty in the UK is not the same as poverty in the developing world but the Tories now claim to aspire to Labour's commitment to abolish poverty (by this definition) by 2020.

    It can be done as the Scandinavians have proved. The Tories now admit that inequality matters when it comes to quality of life. It is inequality that causes misery not just absolute poverty.

    Even the Tories now admit this because Labour have won the argument with the electorate. The difference however is that the Tories cannot be serious about reducing poverty when they still stick by the policies of Thatcher which widened inequality so much. By this international definition Thatcher tripled child poverty while Labour have reduced it by a third. That is the difference between Tory spin and Labour real achievements.

  3. Neil, I don't accept such a ridiuclous definition! It is meaningless and totally unachievable unless everyone, regardless of worth or merit, earned the same!

    Labour have not won this argument with the electorate. I am yet to meet anyone who agrees that their taxes should increase to help the "poor and needy"!

  4. Snafu: "It is meaningless and totally unachievable unless everyone, regardless of worth or merit, earned the same!"

    If you accept that inequality matters (and now the Tories accept this), then this definition makes perfect sense. Even under this definition there would still be wide disparities in wealth, but they would be less. I think your position of defending someone who earns ten thousand times or more what a full time worker can earn is disregarding 'worth and merit'.

    "I am yet to meet anyone who agrees that their taxes should increase to help the "poor and needy"!"

    If you ask people if their taxes should fall, of course a majority might say 'yes'. Just as a majority will also say 'yes' to better funded public services and reductions in inequality.

    This tells us nothing other than the majority want totally contradictory things. The best surveys weigh these two against each other. These surveys show a majority want to redistribute wealth. So it seems they effectively do want their taxes to rise to pay for the poor.