He was asked earlier in the week whether he could live off the minimum Job Seeker's allowance of 53 quid and instead of giving the usual politician's fudge answer he simply said yes. This triggered a storm of abuse from the Twitterati and the launch of a petition to make him prove that he could do so. Everyone joined in to make the "Tory Scum" eat his words - the bloke is an obvious toff with three names and no hair so let's give him a good seeing to. It's like a populist version of "I'm a Celebrity" but with the witchetty grubs replaced by cheap ready meals.
It makes one despair that this Country is on the verge of becoming ungovernable. A stupid media question to a Minister is (unusually) given a straight answer and it is met with a veritable wall of idiotic abuse. The subtext is that the status quo (plus inflation and allowances) is always the preferable option. Proper reforms are always going to produce unpopularity and the idea that all benefits should be "comfortable and acceptable" to the recipient is nonsense. It takes guts to tackle the difficult problems.
What, I would ask, was he supposed to say to the question? If he had answered "no" he would have been pilloried as a heartless toff. If "yes" he gets pilloried as a heartless toff. It's a "when did you stop beating your wife?" question.
Ian Duncan Smith has his faults but is a genuine sort of bloke who has made an honest and genuine attempt to get to grips with the ludicrous poverty traps created by our benefits system which have for many years penalized those who have attempted to break away from their state dependence and found themselves worse off for working. He hasn't done this from Whitehall, he has been out travelling the Country for the last few years researching and building up a case for a more sensible system and one which actually costs more in the short term through incentives to break the chain.
It is particularly stomach turning to see that the biggest sneerers and abusers are people like John Prescott and Alastair Campbell, Guardianista champagne socialists nouveau who were once at the heart of the problem but have used Twitter very cleverly to re-invent themselves to whip up moronic Tory-Hate and fan the flames of mis-information about benefits reform taking us "back to the 1980's". Frankly, Messrs Campbell and Prescott, I think even that would be preferable to what you both supported in Iraq which was bombed back into the Middle Ages. Sadly Twitter wasn't around in 2003 so we couldn't all read what you had to say about your support for Blair at the time.