Why IDS is still in his job is revealing of Conservative attitudes to social security

by Stephen Tall on December 10, 2014

Iain Duncan SmithWhen Andrew Lansley’s health reforms ran into trouble – and his inability to take with him the public or those working in the NHS proved toxic – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Jeremy Hunt was brought in to make nice to the health sector and patients.

When Michael Gove’s education reforms started to run before they could walk – and his inability to take with him the public or the teachers proved toxic, especially in marginal constituencies – David Cameron reshuffled him out of harm’s way. Nicky Morgan was brought in to make nice to schools and parents.

Yet when Iain Duncan Smith’s social security reforms fall flat on their face – and his inability to admit the failure of both unpopular policies like the bedroom tax and administrative cock-ups such as universal credit becomes starker by the day – David Cameron keeps him in his post for a full parliament. No-one has yet been brought in to make nice to those who depend on social security.

Presumably this is because David Cameron reasons there are more votes to be won being seen to crack down on benefit claimants than in running the system fairly and well. But it re-inforces the impression that Conservatives care little for those who have little.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.