It’s not helping me to adopt any serious tone that every time I see Inane Duncan Smith’s name in print I think IDS = IBS and now think of him as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Insert your own ‘pain in the arse’ themed joke.
So, IBS has made the grandiose claim that he could live on fifty three quid a week, instead of the £2588* on which he’s currently squeaking by. I imagine that there was such a chorus of incredulous obscenity over the nation’s breakfast table that it was audible in space. If the Hubble telescope’s been knocked out of orbit you know who to blame.
Of course, it could be that he’s just lying through his teeth – he has form, after all, having lied repeatedly about his qualifications. More likely, though, that as the son of an army captain and a ballerina, your typical working class lad made good, he has no idea what it’s like to live on fuck-all.
I’m not a big fan of Polly Toynbee, but she tried it and she’s written a terrific response to IBS in the Grauniad. It’s hard to believe that a politician of his experience would come out and say something so moronically inflamma-tory (see what I did there?) when there’s a whole team of eager Conservative assistants and interns swimming around him like pilot fish, helping him to keep his big posh foot out of his big posh mouth.
So let’s, for a brief minute, allow the big, excitable mongrel of our inner cynic off the leash for a few minutes. Is it at all possible that following the backlash about NHS reforms being a backdoor privatisation and the welfare reforms, someone in the hollowed out volcano that I imagine Tory HQ to be has summoned the League of Vaguely Incompetent Evil (LOVIE), spun the bottle and IBS is ‘it’.
“Iain, be a good chap. Get on the telly or something and make such an egregiously unbearable wanker of yourself that all the 38 degrees lot forget about the ghastly stuff we’re doing to the country and focus on you instead. Excellent. Next order of business, can we actually just take people’s money straight from their accounts, like in Cyprus? What a hoot.”
What’s really tragic about this whole affair is that there’s a tremendously important point that’s going to be buried under the sheer weight of indignation produced here. IBS and the rest of his cronies are supposed to be public servants. Servants. Who the bloody hell pays a servant two and a half grand a week? Moreover, who lets their servants use their money for trading of dubious legality? Good grief, more porkies, it would seem, naughty IBS.
Why shouldn’t our public servants’ living standards be related to ours? They should all spend at least a month living like the poorest sectors of society. I’m not suggesting that they should live as paupers all the time; it’s a stressful job, I’m sure, and deserves fair remuneration. Fair, mind, not way over the odds, and any politician who ever slightly uses political influence to feather their own nest should be asset stripped and banged up.
Anyway, sign the petition if you like; make your voice heard. But if you’re doing that much, remember to stick up for the NHS, the poor and everyone else who’s getting shafted by this current bunch of crooks.
*Cabinet minster’s pay = 134,565. Divide by 52. He also claimed nearly 100k in expenses in 2008/9.