Features

Iain Duncan Smith on how to save Conservatism

23 April 2016

9:00 AM

23 April 2016

9:00 AM

Iain Duncan Smith may have lost his job, but he has found a new whisky. It’s called Monkey Shoulder, and they became acquainted when he went to Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 06.40.11lie low in the Highlands after his resignation. When he went to buy a new bottle from Robertsons of Pitlochry he was told he’d have to wait a few days.
‘I told them not to worry, that I had more time on my hands. The man behind me said: “Yes, we know all about that — you were the talk of the town here for days.”’ It’s an example, he says, of how his resignation struck a far deeper chord than he imagined it would.

‘It has been very odd,’ he says. ‘There’s a huge number of letters and emails piling in, saying “thank you”. Scot Nats, Labour people — not chain letters, handwritten ones. It’s been a bit surprising.’ He says he never sought to pose as an anti-cuts martyr — which would, anyway, be unconvincing from the bedroom-tax author who cut welfare more than any of his predecessors. But Duncan Smith chose to resign with such drama — at 9 p.m. on a Friday with a spirited ‘J’accuse’ against the government — in order to warn his party that it is heading in the wrong direction. That it is in danger of being hollowed out, and losing sight of the people to whom it ought to be dedicated.

This week, Duncan Smith has been in Washington to address Republicans interested in what George W. Bush called ‘compassionate Conservatism’. Many names have been attached to the basic idea, articulated by Irving Kristol and Milton Friedman, that government welfare schemes tend to entrench poverty, rather than alleviate it. As Duncan Smith put it in his speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Conservatives ought to abhor the ‘feed-and-forget compassion’ of the left, and judge welfare by the extent to which it saves lives, not just money. They should build ‘a welfare system that encourages rather than replaces work and the family’.

Sitting in the Spectator office (he doesn’t have one of his own any more) he says the Tories ought to see this as an issue of political survival. ‘The left are told by voters: yes, you may be incompetent but your heart’s in the right place,’ he says. ‘Conservatives get the opposite: yes, you may be competent but we question your motives. When -voters mark the ballot paper, they ask: are they good for me? That’s the competence issue. But they also ask: are they good for my neighbour? If we have both boxes ticked, we get elected. But if we fail the good-for-my-neighbour test, we don’t.’

This is precisely where he thinks David Cameron’s government is now going wrong. ‘Winning the last election made us become casual about this,’ he says. Tories can never assume they are seen as well-intentioned reformers, rather than ice-hearted hatchet men. ‘It takes five minutes to lose this narrative, and a lifetime to get it back. This has been my concern over the past nine months; I’ve been worried that our reputation was being slowly chipped away and that we’d be left with the narrow message of caring only for finances. And being seen as favouring only those we regard as the wealth creators.’


His resignation was triggered by George Osborne’s last Budget, which announced disability benefit cuts alongside tax cuts for the better-paid. Duncan Smith supports each of these measures individually, but had argued — in private and in vain — that to juxtapose them would be politically toxic. He made the same case when trying to prevent the (now rescinded) tax-credit cuts. He felt he was losing his ability to influence not so much the government, but a Cameron-Osborne duumvirate that had stopped caring what he, or other cabinet members, thought. He even became nostalgic for the days of the coalition, thinking that at least ministers were listened to then.

Although he was not listened to — or even notified — when Osborne declared two years ago that he’d shave another £12 billion from welfare in the first two years of a second term. The Chancellor was impressed by polling showing the widespread popularity of the welfare cap, and saw deeper cuts as a way of drawing a dividing line between the Tories and the Labour party. Duncan Smith thought he’d already cut welfare to the bone. The extra £12 billion was ‘announced arbitrarily’, he says, without his being consulted. ‘There was a little bit of a debate, to put it politely. A massive cut to working-age benefits had been announced before an election, with no work done to see where the cuts were going to be found.’

So the situation was every bit as -chaotic as Ed Miliband claimed at the time: a £12 billion pledge — a figure plucked from the air — without discussion, and with no thought as to how many people would be affected. As the election campaign drew near, Cameron further narrowed the options: pensioners would be protected, winter fuel payments would not be touched. Anything that affected pensioners (the group most likely to vote) was exempt from austerity. Duncan Smith says he considered resigning after the election. ‘The reason I decided to stay was that I felt I had to somehow ameliorate this process.’ He negotiated down the cuts, and extended the two-year deadline. But in doing so, he shortened his own life expectancy in government.

By then, he had become concerned about the ‘triple lock’ — the Tory pledge that the state pension would rise with inflation, earnings or by 2.5 per cent, whichever was the highest. He came to see this as generational discrimination, and argued for more balance. ‘I have believed that for some time,’ he says. ‘Don’t get me wrong, I think the overall pension position had been allowed to fall.’ But it started to recover, quickly. ‘I’m not against the growth but it comes with a whole patchwork of other benefits, like winter fuel and bus passes.’ And, he says, ‘There is a whole number of wealthier pensioners engaged now in this process.’

Today, thanks to booming house prices, one in six pensioners lives in a millionaire household — each one receiving the -winter fuel payment and the triple-lock pension protection. Does he consider these pledges unaffordable? ‘I think you can do the maths,’ he says. ‘It is ratcheting up at a rate of knots. I’m for a much better state pension but I think there’s a balance to be struck in all these things.’ Reneging on a manifesto promise on pensions, he says, is not an option for the Prime Minister. ‘But I do think there are grounds for us to look again at the balance of this.’

His resignation had been seen by some as an act not of principle but of sabotage, aimed at destabilising David Cameron at a time when he was leading the campaign to stay in the European Union. Ros Altmann, who worked under him as pensions minister, said his dramatic departure had ‘everything to do with Brexit’. But Duncan Smith declares himself a recent convert to the cause.

‘I never was for “out”, believe it or not. I actually thought it was possible to get a proper reform deal with the European Union and a semi-detached relationship,’ he says. ‘Ultimately, that’s where we’ll end up. Vote Leave is about a completely new relationship with the European Union. It means we don’t go round squealing and getting angry with them; they don’t get fed up with us — and we have a really good, balanced relationship. One they’ll be happy with. They can integrate as much as they like, even pursue single-state status — we won’t be joining them.

But won’t this referendum, like most referendums, end in a victory for the status quo? ‘It depends what you think the status quo is,’ he says. ‘In my view, the status quo is to leave. That gives the greatest sense of balance and fairness. To remain is the exact opposite: to remain is to leap in the dark.’ But he doesn’t seem terribly interested in all of this. Ask him about Europe, and he stops talking after a sentence or two. Ask him about welfare and he never shuts up: about schemes he started to train lorry drivers, about his Universal Credit programme, about a man who wrote to tell him that he’d not only found work, but found a wife at work.

Even Tory MPs, he says, have been writing to him. ‘I’ve had a lot of letters saying: your agenda is what I believe in, it’s what I campaigned on. A lot of the new MPs, particularly, have written. I thought there’d be a bit of frostiness, but not at all. I’ve just had lots of people saying, “We must stick with this agenda.” Lots of them are very committed to this.’ Including, he says, his successor Stephen Crabb. ‘Although I’ve not had a massive chance to discuss it with him.’

Duncan Smith has not spoken to any newspapers since resigning, explaining that he has made his point — and is even back on speaking terms with the Chancellor. ‘We bumped into each other in the lobby the other day; all very reasonable. We chatted a little bit. The funny thing is, this isn’t personal with me. Nothing in politics is personal.’ A fine theory. With enough whisky, he might even come to believe it.

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Show comments
  • davidshort10

    This awful man is even more out of touch than the posh boys who don’t like him. He tried to push people ‘back into work’, as if they had ever been in work in the first place. He was an idiotic DWP head who didn’t understand that there were no jobs. Under his term, the ratio of unemployment to vacancies was about three. That’s just the national average. In somewhere like the North East or south Wales, it will be a lot higher. They cannot up sticks and search for low paid jobs in the south. They are all taken by (very welcome) central and eastern European people who will sleep in one room. Rod Liddle of this parish described how some guys from Middlesborough travelled to London to get work at the Olympic site (on their bikes), only to be told only Poles were being given jobs. Men will move to jobs as the Poles have shown and as the fictional Geordies in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, showed (they went from Britain to Germany in search of work). IDS has caused people who have to go and sign on for their tiny amount of money (less than a day’s pay under the minimum wage to last them a week). He also wanted them to ‘work’ for this pittance, thereby causing more unemployment. He is a c..t.

    • Pretty_Polly

      ‘Very welcome’ to you but almost certainly not to the public as a whole.

      That no doubt is why YouGov demonstrated last August that the public wants a ‘2 year total ban on immigration’ which means the country is far to the right of UKIP on this matter.

      • Alex

        But that is patently not possible. Princess may want but princess doesn’t always get.

        • Pretty_Polly

          Oh you mean that the overwhelming majority of the British electorate are ‘Princesses’ in your view.

          Certainly that is an interesting and original opinion.

          • Alex

            Yes they are, because immigration has only a very tiny impact, even if you assume immigrants somehow contribute 0 to our economy while natives recycle 100% of the money they receive.

          • Pretty_Polly

            Very tiny?

            Really?

            So reports that over half the population of London are immigrants are wrong.

            How interesting.

          • Alex

            That is the case in 9 of the 33 boroughs of London. Somewhat commensurately, around one third of Londoners were born abroad.

            This is as expected for by many accounts the stablest, richest and most “business-friendly” city on the planet.

            The problem of ghettoisation of immigrants causing socioeconomic problems in particular locations is real and can be solved by a proper system of social housing that engineers mixed communities.

            But a strand of political thought begun by a certain Mrs Thatcher put an end to social housing long ago.

          • Pretty_Polly

            Social engineering !

            That does sound fun 🙂

            I’m sure the population would love to be socially engineered so that they live next door to people they might not like.

            What a disaster that is likely to turn out to be.

          • Alex

            Well it’s either that or ghettos isn’t it: pick one.

          • Pretty_Polly

            I don’t think the public wants either which is probably one reason why they never wanted mass immigration in the first place.

          • Alex

            What prosperous society in the history of the world has had no economic immigration?

            The only places with no economic immigration are the ones the economic migrants are leaving.

            Do you want to become that sort of economy? Ready to put your money where your mouth is?

            As I said, princess doesn’t just get.

          • Pretty_Polly

            I don’t think the public was against all immigration, just a lot of it. Doubtlessly they would have liked the government to pick and choose rather then throw the gates right open.

          • Alex

            Then they come illegally and don’t even get taxed. Plus we need them, we aren’t having enough children ourselves because life is so expensive.

          • Pretty_Polly

            I’m sorry, I disagree with almost everything you say, but that is all I have time for right now.

          • oldoddjobs

            Moving tax cattle about in “social engineering” schemes, hooray!

          • Alex

            Well it’s either that or ghettoisation, because when people get to choose where they want to live they choose others of the same sociocultural background. So stop being a baby and take your pick.

          • oldoddjobs

            No, YOU stop being a baby etc, etc Yawn

    • wibbling

      Why do these people not then move about? What stops them looking for work?

      • davidshort10

        Oh dear, oh dear. We call it having a house in somewhere like Teeside. We call it not being able to get a house in the Home Counties. We call it having skills in Teeside that are not valued in the Home Counties.

      • David Beard

        And go where for what what jobs?

  • wibbling

    The problems with the UK are fairly obvious: there’s too many people taking and too few contributing. The :Left wing state is obscene in size and scope while providing almost no value whatsoever.

    IDS set about trying to make sensible reforms to welfare – reforms that are urgently needed to allow the system to exist. As it is we have people who could work choosing not to. People who are housed, clothed and provided for simply because they don’t have to work.

    What needs doing is unpopular and because of that, government won’t do it. It likes taking other people’s money and giving it to someone else. It sees nothing wrong with such theft. It likes massive immigrantion because the more people in the country the more it can say that GDP is going up and thus look good.

    The simple reality is we need fewer people with more skills who contribute more than they cost. The birthrate was falling in 1997. Because more mature people tend ot vote Conservative Labour deliberately set about wrecking the country and skewing the demographic. That nuked society and public services. Repairing that damage is impossible.

    • davidshort10

      Why not give your name and what you do? This is my name and I work in communications in various African countries. Tell us who you are and what you contribute. Tell us why IDS has anything useful to offer. He knew nothing in office and he knows nothing now. His Army record was undistinguished.

    • davidshort10

      Read this contribution from above you. We are waiting for you to have the courage to give your name.

      The man has failed at everything he ever attempted in life, with the exceptions of marrying into a family of extreme wealth, and being selected as a Conservative candidate, and subsequently elected as an MP.

      Mr Duncan Smith was a failure at university, never finishing his course or gaining a

      degree, and indeed lying about the university he attended in order to embellish

      his CV, until of course he was exposed by the media.

      He was an obvious failure in the Army, only advancing by the single automatic promotion from 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant during six years of ‘service’, and taking more than a year longer than is typical to achieve that.

      Mr Duncan Smith was of course a laughing stock, during his brief period as leader of the Conservative Party.

    • hobspawn

      “The simple reality is we need fewer people with more skills who contribute more than they cost. The birthrate was falling in 1997. Because more mature people tend ot vote Conservative Labour deliberately set about wrecking the country and skewing the demographic. That nuked society and public services. Repairing that damage is impossible.”

      At last a comment that presents the deep problem. We need to eradicate these ConLab traitors who use long-term destructive immigration to fiddle GDP figures. Let’s put in power some people who understand arithmetic. Vote UKIP. Vote Leave.

  • Robert Shrubsole

    i am not against the case for putting work before benefit and if there isa sense of entitlement in this it is not limited to the poorer elements because amongst the aristocracy wealth is passed down from generation to generation within the same family and even there a sense of entitlement exist even when the present beneficiaries have done bugger all for it.

    • David Beard

      IDS himself married into wealth.

      • Stu

        The man has failed himself at everything he ever attempted in life, with the exceptions of marrying into a family of extreme wealth, and being selected as a Conservative candidate, and subsequently elected as an MP.

        Mr Duncan Smith was a failure at university, never finishing his course or gaining a
        degree, and indeed lying about the university he attended in order to embellish
        his CV, until of course he was exposed by the media.

        He was an obvious failure in the Army, only advancing by the single automatic promotion from 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant during six years of ‘service’, and taking more than a year longer than is typical to achieve that.

        Mr Duncan Smith was of course a laughing stock, during his brief period as leader of the Conservative Party.

        • davidshort10

          Wonderful. He really is such a dunce.

          • Stu

            Certainly not a leader of men, whether in the army, or a political party.

      • gillardgone

        Good man.

  • paul

    The philosophy & doctrine of Conservatism is as archaic a dinosaur as it’s members average age suffice to say there is no place for this approach in a modern day civilised Society !!!

    • jeffersonian

      Calm down dear.

    • oldoddjobs

      Socialism is the wave of the future! Forever…

  • David Beard

    Conservatives ought to abhor the ‘feed-and-forget compassion’ of the left, and judge welfare

    by the extent to which it saves lives, not just money.

    IDS neither saved lives or money. On the contrary many died and the costs of his office and waste went into the millions; and still nothing has been saved. The Universal Credits debacle cost 36 million. As for the bedroom tax (or what he likes to term ‘the bedroom subsidy’), there are now thousands of willing tenants waiting to downsize, but as there happens to be a massive shortage of one or two bedroom places available, it means they could be waiting a long time yet. But then the Tories knew all this at the outset.

    Meanwhile… DWP may have to publish details of benefit claimant deaths
    The Guardian‎ – 2 days ago

    • davidshort10

      It was the same with his ‘back to work’ doctrine…..Just as there are no smaller houses, so were there no jobs. For every job vacancy, there are four or five unemployed and that is just the national average.

      • Alex

        And most of those jobs give only a few hours a week, if they even really exist at all (apparently Universal Jobmatch, the new DWP online job board, is full of scams and duplicates).

      • hobspawn

        That problem is easily solved by an exit from the moribund EU and increased participation in global markets which all have higher growth.

  • somewhereinthesouth

    The triple lock is an outrageous policy designed to bribe older voters at taxpayers expense . It is grossly unfair to taxpayers and of course the young and those in work . I am a pensioner and I don’t see why i should get rises in my pension above the going rate when others don’t, especially when the nation is trying to cut spending and its borrowing /debt. This policy comes out of the same stable as spending 0.7 % of GDP on foreigners – it doesn’t matter much where its spent , it doesn’t matter on what – just keep spending and giving so we look like were good and generous . Giving money per se and just walking away doesn’t do the poor much good either [it tends to keep them that way ] and it doesn’t do much for underdeveloped countries either [ It often does more to line the coffers of the corrupt ]. Giving the EU £350 m a week doesn’t earn much gratitude either . These are all rubbish policies from what is I am afraid to say a rubbish government obsessed with spin . I used to support the Tory party [ and have always voted for them ] but I doubt i will in future .Their referendum campaign is proving to be the lat straw.

  • Badger

    Conservatism is out of date. There is little left to conserve and many have had enough of conserving the bank balances of the wealthy at the expense of the rest of society.
    It’s not conservatism we need, it’s something far more radical.

    • gillardgone

      It is great to have a chance to vote in this referendum, we have UKIP to thank for this, with luck and a good wind we may just vote to get out of the EU, God willing.

  • Stu

    What I’d like him to expain is this…if he was so against further cuts to welfare, then why was it at the previous budget statement, he was thumping the air, fists clenched, with a look of absolute triumph and joy on his face, when Osborne announced a further £30 per week cut to Employment and Support Allowance?

    • ElenaH

      The answer to your question is that the response as described was not to a cut in Employment and Support Allowance but to George Osborne’s announcement that a living wage would begin to be phased in from April 2016.

      • Alex

        Yes, and because employers cut hours in response, a higher minimum wage takes money away from, or introduces job insecurity in, the poorest households. The extra money goes to lower-middle-class housewives on minimum wage.

        Tax credits are a far better way to distribute wealth than minimum wages because they rely on actual household income rather than the number of hours of work someone can find.

        Who on earth thought up the idea that whether a family can afford to put food on the table every week should be dictated by whether some random business has enough work for them to do? Even to a Tory it must sound insane when you put it like that.

        And the new wage is still so low it should be referred to as the “not-quite-living” wage. A minimum wage is one thing; a living wage implies quite another thing, and Osborne’s one falls pathetically short, like most things he does.

  • davidshort10

    This man is such a dunce. I cannot understand why the Speccie wants to give so much coverage to an old boring baldie failure whose views are no different to the posh boys who dislike him. in a country where the unemployment rate is 5.6% and that is the national average, where are the jobs? He is a stupid disgrace and if it were up to me I’d strip him of his Army pension, his MP’s salary, his MP’s pension and let him ‘find work’ as a middle-aged man with no real skills.

    • MartinWW

      With those sentiments, you reveal a great deal of yourself – and it’s not flattering.

      • Alex

        Are there or are there not more people than jobs?

        • mikewaller

          Of course there are but the problem is global not just the UK or the EU. The tectonic plates have shift; long gone are the days when merely to be a white male with industrial skills ensured a wholly disproportionate share of the global pie. It is simply not within the power of antediluvian clowns like IDS to bring all that back.We are facing a tidal wave of cheap imports of ever-increasing sophistication that will crush us, welfare state and all. The only protective bulwark is the EU which just might preserve some semblance of present living standards behind tariff walls. Brexit = suicide!

          • Alex

            I am firmly In but protectionism is ultimately doomed. We need to take a deep breath and embrace automation, but we have a lot of growing up to do before we will accept the idea, so long entrenched among the present oligarchical owners of the means of production, that income need not be linked to work.

          • mikewaller

            No good using a class analysis, Darwin’s the boy. We are a classic case of a species having massively over-exploited its environmental niche on the very, very foolish assumption that the good times would go on forever. Brexit will hasten the end for us, the EU may stave things off for a time, but a massive population crash in horrible circumstances is what any sensible biologist would predict. It has always been my belief that the reason why we have never met any little green men (or whatever) is that brains with the potential to grow big enough to contemplation interstellar travel or communication bring disaster upon themselves long before that point is reached. As they used to say all those years ago: “it’s being so cheerful as keeps me going!”

          • hobspawn

            Are you familiar with the essays of Thomas Malthus? You will enjoy them. “Too many people! Woe! Doom!” Something like that.

          • mikewaller

            I have always believed that those who deny that ultimately Malthus has to be right, are rather like the guy who on reaching the second floor having fallen off a very high building, says: “All right so far!” [:-)]

          • hobspawn

            If we had observed Malthus’s advice we would be dying of syphilis in large numbers and dreaming of powered flight.

            His predictions turned out to be reliably wrong: high population densities have the best standard of living and are not limited by disease or famine.

            You are no closer to knowing the optimal human population than he was. Nature is a better guide in this than some crude proto-Marxian theory.

          • mikewaller

            I though that those believing there is are no limits to growth had experienced the same fully justified catastrophic population crash as had flat Earthers. Indeed I still very much hope that this is so, leaving you as one of the few remaining delusional odd-balls. You are, however, right in one thing: nature is precisely the place to look for multiple examples of population crashes arising from species after species over-exploited their particular niches.

          • hobspawn

            We don’t know the point at which we are over- or under-populated. Nature wages her war of attrition regardless. For the moment, we are winning. It’s called life. 99.9% of species are extinct. A pre-emptive policy to limit population growth makes sense only if you know you are overpopulated. You cite no evidence for that, nor can you. Instead, you feign authority and dress hoarding as virtue.

          • mikewaller

            Don’t be bloody daft. Yours is just a self-serving delusion fed up by your subconscious with no other purpose than to enable you to carry on regardless. The lead times in getting a grip on population numbers and reining in resource demands are so long, your prudent old granny – sad you didn’t get the genes- would tell you to start acting on the precautionary principle.

          • hobspawn

            “Woe! Portents! We have Broken Nature itself! It is in the stars!” It must be weird just believing everything you are told by the science-funding authorities. A proper scientific outlook requires great skepticism, especially in proportion to the balance of what is believed and what remains unknown. If we allowed the unknown to determine our actions, we would just hide in a bunker forever.

            The truth is that you don’t know whether we have reached optimal population, just as you don’t know what is going to happen to the climate next week, next month or next millennium. You don’t know how the sun’s output will change either. Scared now? I’m off to have another child. Good luck.

          • mikewaller

            You really attain Olympic level daftness. What extreme scepticism means in the context of an irreplaceable s life support system is that one treats with the utmost wariness the claims of bloody fools who think it is indestructible. Do try to think before hitting keyboard!

          • hobspawn

            Your ideas are very romantic. Do you really think that after billions of years of life, suddenly a creature might emerge who has the capacity to destroy the planet? Seems like vanity to me. Even a full scale nuclear war would only put a tiny blip in the inexorable journey of life on Earth. What you are really worried about is that we may destroy ourselves. There is no reliable evidence whether that goal is now better attained by breeding less or more. Nice try, Catastrophe Boy.

          • mikewaller

            My genes having yielded up some rather nice grandchildren,I have considerable concern about their future. Sadly it seems to me that it may well be shaped by clowns with the kind of toxic mix of indifference and arrogance you have so comprehensively displayed. Early in this thread I suggested that the reason we have never met little green persons (or whatever) may well be a brain big enough to achieve interstellar travel invariable does something catastrophically stupid to its home planet long before that point is reached. Henceforth I shall see you as the paradigm of that kind of lethal idiocy.

          • hobspawn

            First, your only argument for your far-fetched catastrophe theory seems to be aggressive insult.

            Secondly, you don’t seem to understand how big space is. The voyager 1 probe, at 135 au is the furthest thing we have made. It is a long way from being able to support life. It is due to reach another star, undetectable, in 40,000 years. The nearest star is 266877 au from here. That’s probably why we don’t see little green tourists. Life-supporting planets may not be of a scale to offer the resources for interstellar travel. Is your blind faith in science a cache-sexe for the fact that you have no real mathematical/scientific background?

          • mikewaller

            Lord Kelvin told us “No balloon and no aeroplane will ever be practically successful”; Lord Lindermann assured Churchill the V2 rocket was wholly impractical etc. etc………

            Rather than sending me for maths classes, you would do well to study recent research of the psychology of the scientist. One such study recently reported on the BBC said that a near absolute conviction in the rightness of their own world view (as with Kelvin and Lindemann above and your pronouncements on the possibility of interstellar travel) coupled with a whithering contempt for any counter-position no matter how small the difference and regardless of the background (including other scientists) of the individual daring to put forward the counter view, were high on the list. They then went on to say that, given choice, students of “hard” sciences were far more likely to be supportive of right wing movements than left wing ones and to have lower resistance than others to the use of physical violence in ensuring that their ideas prevailed.

            Now I have no idea how much of the above applies to you; but if the cap fits…….

          • hobspawn

            “Lord Kelvin told us “No balloon and no aeroplane will ever be practically successful”; Lord Lindermann assured Churchill the V2 rocket was wholly impractical etc. etc…”

            It is just as easy to cite inventions that have not arisen: time machines, hover boards and the like. Some things turn out to be feasible, others not. The absence of visitors from other stars is more likely to result from the enormity of the cosmos and the sparsity of energy in it, rather than some puffed-up fancy of the psychology industry.

            “Rather than sending me for maths classes…”

            Is that an answer to my question? I suppose I must take it to confirm that you have no scientific background while you lecture those who do about what you mistakenly think is science.

            “…you would do well to study recent research of the psychology of the scientist. One such study recently reported on the BBC said that a near absolute conviction in the rightness of their own world view (as with Kelvin and Lindemann above and your pronouncements on the possibility of interstellar travel) coupled with a whithering contempt for any counter-position no matter how small the difference and regardless of the background (including other scientists) of the individual daring to put forward the counter view, were high on the list.”

            That describes your attitude quite accurately. Yet you appear not to be a scientific person. The worst of both worlds: dogmatic, yet uncomprehending. You suggested we have no interstellar visitors because of the limitations of intelligence. I countered that the reason might in fact be the sparseness of energy resources. Hardly a basis for your silly attack on scientists, science fan-boy.

            “They then went on to say that, given choice, students of “hard” sciences were far more likely to be supportive of right wing movements than left wing ones…”

            Maybe that’s because they can do arithmetic, unlike the left.

            “…and to have lower resistance than others to the use of physical violence in ensuring that their ideas prevailed.”

            Bearing in mind the 20th Century history of the left, you may be confusing scientists with pseudo-scientists. That century showed that the pseudo-science called socialism is the most violent and murderous disease ever to have afflicted mankind. Nothing else has killed hundreds of millions so swiftly.

            “Now I have no idea how much of the above applies to you; but if the cap fits…”

            …let the pot wear it, hypocrite.

          • hobspawn

            Or we could gain our independence and implement policy which allows us to compete in global trade. Good luck with that walled garden of EUden bollocks. Visited Greece recently?

  • DaviddeAngelis
  • Disqus Bolloqus

    Following the referendum, the Conservative Party splits. Corbyn and Sturgean cease the levers of power. That will be Cameron’s legacy.

    • jeffersonian

      Seize?

      • Disqus Bolloqus

        Yes seize, now corrected, thanks

        • rockylives

          Sturgean?

          • hobspawn

            SturgeIn.

      • gillardgone

        Are you marking people’s spelling now, teacher with a red pen by chance.

      • hobspawn

        The only seizing Corbyn is going to be doing is seizing up.

  • mikewaller

    My only conclusion is that his admirers must be as delusional and out of touch as he is!

  • Richard Lutz

    Is this an advert for Monkey Shoulder? As for conservatism, it seems that extending the traditional institution of marriage to close relatives and three or more people is one way forward in protecting conservative values. Why is it that a man can marry the two women he loves and love him in nations like Malaysia but group marriages are outlawed in the UK? Likewise, why is it that a man can marry his half-sister in nations like Sweden but such marriages are banned in the UK? Likewise, why is it that an Australian man can marry his 18-year-old niece but such marriages are outlawed in the UK?

    Labor leader Bill Shorten said failing to legalize same-sex marriage says to same-sex partners: “your relationships are not equally valued by the state, your love is less equal before the law”. Thus it follows that if we fail to legalize incestuous close relative marriages and polygamous group marriages we say to closely related partners and polygamous partners: “your relationships are not equally valued by the state, your love is less equal before the law”. We must ensure that all adults in non-traditional relationships can marry each other so they and their children are provided with the protection of marriage, while it is none of your business if three adult lesbian sisters marry.

    • hobspawn

      I must admit, marrying my son would certainly be tax efficient. Tell me more about this ‘conservatism’ of which you speak.

      • Richard Lutz

        Seems to me you should ask David Cameron.

    • Tom M

      On failing to legalise same-sex marriage “….. your relationships are not equally valued by the state, your love is less equal before the law…….” Why so? Never get this argument. What legal advantages does marriage confer over a civil ceremony? And if any exist there is no reason they should. If any two people wish to live together then I see no reason not to recognise this in law and good luck to them.
      However for my money it would have to include all types of people who wish to live together not just homosexuals as it does at the moment. As far as marriage goes that should be for heterosexuals only that’s what the institution was created for and it should have been left alone.
      I just don’t believe this rubbish that my-life-was-ruined-because-I-couldn’t-marry-my-partner-like-straight-people-do.
      As for all the rest of your suggestions I would only say that this is how we have organised our society. Right ? Wrong? No real answer, it’s got to be arranged in some manner or another and that’s just how we did it and it seemed to work for quite a while.

  • Freddythreepwood

    ‘Nothing in politics is personal’

    Maybe. Certainly, letting it get personal left Ted Heath a bitter and twisted shadow.

  • Sean L

    Where was the bit about saving Conservatism? – I must have missed it – but one is becoming accustomed to Daily Mail style headlines that bear little or no relation to the article in question. Besides, does it even make sense to speak of saving a thing if it is already extinct?

  • Terence Hale

    My analysis of what Mr. Duncan Smith said and did address a crisis of leadership. Well demonstrated by Mr. Corbyn who has made so many U-turn and does not get dizzy and Mr. Cameron being pulled in so many direction like the AA pulling the front bumper and the RAC pulling the back bumper.

  • gray cooper

    Coservatism stopped existing when the bullying nanny state was taken up by that dreadful Cameron. Whilst there is tobacco control, plain packaging, cigarette cover up, tobacco tax escalator and EU tobacco product directive, no politician is worth helping.

    • David Beard

      Sugar tax, water in restaurants…

      • newminster

        Water in restaurants is just one more step towards a civilised society. I expect a carafe of water to be provided without requesting one in any decent French restaurant.
        Shame that it needs government action before it happens in an increasingly mean-minded UK.

        • oldoddjobs

          Daddy government threatened those mean restaurants and now you can have your din dins with water. Good boy.

        • Central power

          No it is the Yanks idea and we want nothing to do with them or the EU. Our British freedoms are sacrosanct.Many restaurants on the Continent also serve free bread and butter. Please make sure that this vile idea is not forced down our throats.

    • trobrianders

      You can’t blame Cameron for that. He correctly diagnosed that although the mind politic was hating Blair, the body politic was still reflexively voting Blair.

  • Theoderic Braun

    Iain Duncan Smith is obviously not a well man. The kindest thing to do would be to put him out of our misery.

  • gillardgone

    Simples vote UKIP.

  • Realismista

    IDS save conservatism? Is this a joke??

  • oldoddjobs

    Yes, Irving Kristol and Milton Friedman came up with the weird and wacky idea that fining people for working and paying people not to work entrenches poverty rather than alleviating it.

    What a strange, esoteric idea! I simply never thought of that before. Thankfully Fraser Nelson has found some obscure scholars who originated the idea in the 1970s.

    Christ.

    • Stevie Mac

      but what’s the alternative to ‘paying people not to work’? No safety net= homelessness, slums and starvation. doesn’t that make poverty worse?

      As a result of Tory cuts/bedroom tax/welfare reforms, there are now lots of homeless people on the city centre streets of Liverpool. It hasn’t been like this since the 80’s.

  • The Masked Marvel

    George W. Bush’s so-called ‘Compassionate Conservatism’ led mainly to ever-increasing government spending on feel-good projects which helped few and wasted much. It certainly didn’t change the dreadful direction in which the Republican establishment was headed. What’s the difference between that and today’s Cameron/Osborne project? Precious little, other than their lack of honest Christian faith, which is what informed Bush’s compassion. What informs Cameron’s or Osborne’s? Call Me Dave can’t even remember which football club he pretends to support to display his common touch.

    IDS is confusing public display of compassion with truly fixing a system which harms more than helps. He may care deeply, but that cannot be the beginning and end of policy.

    • Rob74

      People like to deride him because he was a one-time leader of the Tory Party. They forget that he led at a time when the party was in deep confusion regarding what it stood for and attacked from all sides by a dominant New Labour regime that had confidently claimed the centre ground. To be fair to him, he didn’t stand a chance.

      For his troubles, he was given the task of reforming the UK benefits system in the face of the media supported Labour movement who have attacked him at every turn. It is unsurprising that he baulked at the Chancellor undermining him.

      The system is broken, most of us would agree, but his idea of using the benefits system to bring people into work is a realistic one at least.

      • The Masked Marvel

        I have to admit I didn’t care for IDS as leader, but did like Hague when it was his turn. Both men’s performance since then have proved me wrong.
        Trying to get people back into work is a good idea, far more compassionate than wanting people to stay on benefits in perpetuity, for generations, out of pure ideology. But too much of this ‘compassionate’ stuff ends up costing far more taxpayer money than it’s worth, because the solutions offered tend to be more about appeasing superficial perceptions than achieving long-term, sustainable results.

        • Rob74

          It’s easier to say than do unfortunately.

  • Watt

    The party has to split in two. The party advocating leaving the EU (Independence Party) will gain all UKIP voters and all those who voted Tory last time in the mistaken believe that Cameron was going to get proper EU reform or advocate leaving. The pro EU party will become indistinguishable from the Lib Dems and Blairite Labour (call it LIBLABCON). We will then have a two party system again : Independence Party v LIBLABCON. And the people will once again know where they stand.

  • Central power

    The man who said “he would lead the Conservative Party for a very long time.^

    • Rob74

      What should he have said?

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