A letter a day to number 10. No 1,377
Sunday 20 March 2016.
Dear Mr Cameron,
Whilst I welcome the news that Iain Duncan Smith has resigned as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, he walks away from the chaos that he remains responsible for orchestrating.
In his letter of resignation Smith writes, ‘It has been a particular privilege to work with excellent civil servants and the outstanding Lord Freud and other ministers including my present team’.
Let us not forget the outstanding Lord Freud who said, “people who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks” as they have “the least to lose”: only their attachment to welfare holds them back.” In that one statement was contained the entire ideology of the attacks on social security, the sanctions regime and incentivising people by reducing them to penury and worse.
What Smith leaves behind is a bunch of like minded rabid dogs who share his vision and will continue to hound poor, sick and disabled people to death, most notably Lord Freud, Priti Patel and Justin Tomlinson. These are people with no more conscience than Smith himself, they are ideological attack dogs who care nothing for those they viciously hound.
Let us also remember Debbie Abrahams saying to Smith, ‘People are dying after being sanctioned’, and Smith responding, ‘No, I don’t agree with that’. There have been deaths a plenty, David Clapson to name but one, yet you and your entire government have ignored their plight and the ongoing suffering of all those despairing under your brutal cuts and ideological austerity.
Whatever Smith’s reasons for resigning, he remains answerable for his actions. The record of his time as head of the DWP is engraved on the lives he has ruined, in grieving families and those in the grip of abject terror. I wrote yesterday of ‘brown envelope syndrome’ to which I can personally testify. I care not how you spin it or what lies you tell, I am telling you a plain truth and you cannot rob me of that. You, Smith, Freud, Patel, Tomlinson and now Stephen Crabb can issue a million denials, but you cannot erase what we know to be self evidently true or our lived reality and the certain knowledge that your war on the poor is not over yet. In the light of all that, Smith’s resignation must be viewed as the first step towards the end of your government.