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Conservative conference: Iain Duncan Smith rips into Labour’s welfare legacy

8 October 2012

Iain Duncan Smith has just delivered the most political speech of what has been a highly partisan conference. He tore into Labour’s record on welfare, accusing them of having fostered welfare dependency and increased inequality. He said that they had created two nations: one who worked and one who was trapped on welfare.

Having done that, he then denounced Labour for having opposed all of his changes to the welfare system, attacking them in moral terms for this. Labour ‘don’t know anything about work do they’ he told the audience to cheers.


The flip side of this attack on Labour was an attempt to claim the mantle of ‘social reform’ for the Tory party. His message to delegates was ‘if we care for our country, we must care for all our people’. He had some choice words for the European Commission, too, saying he would resist their plan to force the DWP to give welfare to any EU national irrespective if they have been working in Britain. He used the old continental war phrase – deployed from the First World War  onwards:

Nation States run their own welfare and we are not prepared to change that. So Conference, let me simplify the message for the Commission, in case they don’t understand. Ils ne Passeront Pas: They shall not pass.

What was interesting about Duncan Smith’s attack on Labour is that he hasn’t been a partisan warrior these past few years. This speech combined with his agreement to a further £10 billion of cuts suggests that he is fully on board with the leadership at the moment.

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  • Moi

    IDS loves his job too much and that says more about the man’s psychological mind-set than any other aspect of his character. A failure in many other areas including Tory leader, he has to prove to himself but alas in doing so he digs a deeper hole. The reality is these welfare reforms have just become his sick vanity project heaping misery upon the lower classes and also heaping shame upon the country, maybe he should be removed from his position in “Doing a good job”, move him to immigration, with epic numbers of illegal immigrants roaming our country that would engage him for years to come… out of sight and out of mind, the best place for a tory robot on the blink.

  • In2minds

    David Davis resigned on a point of principle, unusual in an MP yes, and too difficult for some people to understand! He was in fine form to today as well.

  • In2minds

    David Davis resigned on a point of principle, unusual in an MP yes, and too difficult for some people to understand! He was in fine form to today as well.

  • philip sayers

    true tory beliefs alright. a real genuine bigot!!! just remember he said no to more welfare cuts. but whats happening. yes a true blue to his word tory.

  • toco10

    The fundamental point IDS makes concerns economic migrants from countries such as Bulgaria and Rumania-one can see given generous unemployment benefits,housing,education,healthcare and cash for a myriad of indulgences why such people bring over the entire family.Not sure the majority of the British electorate who have paid into the system are best pleased by these EU intruders.Let it not be forgotten that the dysfunctional Brown and his Oppo Red(‘never had a proper job because he is a millionaire and is rumoured not to have paid his fair share of inheritance tax due to expensive tax planning’) Miliband encouraged such people because they all vote Liebore.

  • andagain

    ” he then denounced Labour for having opposed all of his changes to the welfare system, [b]attacking them in moral terms for this.[/b] ”

    Now, that is the way to do it.

  • Alan Eastwood

    Mr Forsyth. I mean, ‘rips into’? I watched IDS give his speech and it was the most laboured, extremely poorly delivered speech so far. He cocked up all the good points and from what I saw (BBC Parliament) most people were bored silly.
    What I cannot forgive is politicians who know this is their one time to deliver a speech which will get maximum coverage and they do not practice, or even read it prior to giving it.
    Sorry any message was lost in the ghastly delivery.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Presumably, Mr Eastwood, you attack his ghastly delivery because you cannot attack what he actually said.

      • james102

        It is unfortunate that so much of modern politics is about
        presentational skills. This results in the best actor being elected. Think
        recent US presidents—think Blair—think Cameron.

        How many politicians, of any of our parties, could you name
        who genuinely believe in a set of principles? Half a dozen? With the exception
        of Hannan and Farage are any very good orators? Redwood does not come over well
        although he is probably the most able Conservative in parliament.

        • telemachus

          And after the debates last week
          Think Romney, the Moron

          • james102

            But he is again considered a ‘Contender’ because of his
            performance and Obama’s weakness without an autocue.

          • Scott

            No, he’s a Mormon, lol

        • Dimoto

          Alec Salmond has principles and is a good orator, he’s a kind of poor man’s Lloyd George and just as unscrupulous (although not to his wife). Is that what you are recommending ?

          • Fergus Pickering

            What exactly are Salmond’s principles? I think I must have missed them.

      • Alan Eastwood

        Mr Pickering, As I said ‘He cocked up all the good points’ IDS is doing a superb job, a very necessary job but he will never win people over speaking as he did. Delivery IS important.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Well if that is all you meant. It is true IDS is not a very good speaker, though I am sure he tries his best.But I remember we were told Michael Foot was a very Demosthenes. He seemed to me loud, cliche-ridden and boring. A windbag, in short.

      • Dimoto

        What he said was fine, but could have been said in half the time.
        Hague’s speech was also far too long – speaking a bit faster doesn’t help either.
        Hammond was concise and well-measured.

  • james102

    It is not about him being a ‘partisan warrior’ but more
    about him having genuine beliefs, as most unbiased people always acknowledged
    he did.

    Unlike Cameron,Blair,Osborne,Clegg,Balls etc etc, IDS actually believes in a set of principles
    rather than mouthing fashionable platitudes
    while just wanting power for power’s sake ,and in the case of Blair personal

    • telemachus

      Maybe he does believe but what a todger
      Just a couple of years ago Duncan Smith told people in Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales to “get on the bus” to go and find a job in Cardiff.

      And here a typical repost

      “I got the bus to Cardiff last week, and it was a two and a half hour trip to get
      where I wanted to—and two and a half hours back.”

      Even if people do get to Cardiff there are very few jobs to get. Some 15,000
      unemployed people are chasing 1,700 jobs in Cardiff. In Merthyr, there are
      1,670 people chasing 39 jobs.

      “Many of the jobs are part-time on the minimum wage, and it would cost about £10 a day to get there and back,”

      “That’s a lot of money out of your pay packet.”

      Maybe Duncan Smith should take a bus to Cardiff—and give himself the experience of what it’s like.

      • James102

        We need to accept that levels of taxation are at their limits.
        This is from Guido’s blog:

        “Tory MP Rob Halfon will reveal that unions help their
        members minimise their tax bills by an astonishing £26 million through a
        variety of complex financial services schemes. Unite offer personal
        taxation services which have resulted in “over £6.3 million
        already refunded to Unite members”, while Unison say that on
        average over £200
        tax per person is saved”

        We also need to accept that we cannot continue to mortgage
        our children’s taxes to service borrowing.

        To expect someone to get up at dawn to clean offices or do
        other menial jobs for the minimum wage when an alternative is available that
        allows you to live on welfare is frankly either naive or stupid.

        • telemachus

          Yes bu no need to withdraw benefits from the disabled in wheelchairs

          • james102

            Can we have examples of this actually happening and why?
            There have been cases of people faking disablement that were later found, and
            filmed, taking part in sports.Such as:


            • philip sayers

              daily mail. what a surprise! so everybody in wheelchairs is faking it. you numbskull.

              • james102

                The “numbskull” comment just distracts, as it gives the
                impression you are rather juvenile.The Daily Mail comment suggest you are rather snobbish. It is possibly the most professional newspaper currently on sale.
                Compare it with the Guardian, that has to rely on public sector advertisements and a rather interesting tax strategy. Are you suggesting the court report was inaccurate?

                To get back to the point ,it shows that emotional attacks are
                not very useful. No one believes that someone who was confined to a wheelchair and unable to fend for himself would be deprived of benefits ,other than by error, which can happen in any large government department —consider the children who have been murdered while under the supervision of social services

                • treborc

                  So you think because I’m in a wheelchair I cannot fend for myself, the problem is of course as it has always been people see the wheelchair not the person in the chair.

                  last two years I’ve applied for well over 2800 jobs according to the job center. and I’ve had three replies, all negative.

                  The fact of the matter most offices still have problems with access or with the idea that I could actually do something.

                  My last job was working with the NHS in one of Labours non jobs they so loved us doing. I was given an office and a computer and for six weeks I sat waiting for somebody to connect the computer as we were not allowed to do it our selves.

                  The real problem of course is why the hell would anyone want to employ me and my wheelchair when you have so many people able bodied ready and willing.

                  I’m in a wheelchair and I was refused ESA

                • telemachus

                  This is the single most important post on the Spectator blog this year
                  We need more examples of the lack of care in our society and the uncaring Tory administration

              • Fergus Pickering

                That isn’t what he said, philip. But you know that. And you also know that many people pretend to be disabled, but are not.

                • philip sayers

                  you seem a pleasant and reasonable chap,fergus. yes of course there are cheats in every walk of life,including the ‘disabled’,and the benefit system is in need of reform. however my objection to this tory govt is they are demonising all benefit claimants. effectively creating a them and us split throughout the country. furthermore harking back to cheats,the fact that expenses cheat david laws was allowed back into govt when he probably should have been gaoled for paying his homosexual partner public funds,doesnt make the govts cause any more plausible.

          • Nicholas


        • toni

          @ James 102
          “To expect someone to get up at dawn to clean offices or do
          other menial jobs for the minimum wage”

          Employers should pay their workforce a wage commensurate with the cost of living. An hourly minimum rate that’s the equivalent cost of two cups of coffee is beyond shocking, and it’s employers who are ripping off taxpayers by forcing their low paid workers to claim benefits sufficient for them just to live.
          Btw. No comments from Nicholas? I reckon I spotted him on the front row at conference cheering GO 😉

          • Sweetpea

            Maybe he’s been taking his medicine this week?

            • Nicholas

              Stalker 2.

          • Nicholas


        • dalai guevara

          ‘We need to accept levels of taxation are at their limits.’

          – how come the Germans have 12 months dole followed by HartzIV, whilst we have 6 months of a pittance – which no one in their right mind claims – followed by nowt?
          – how come the Germans have 14 months(!) maternity/ paternity leave on near full pay, and we have 12 weeks on dole level.
          – how come the Germans have statutory child care from 12 months onwards and we have nowt.
          – how come the Germans have third generation HS rail in public ownership and we only have1970s style London buses in public ownership.

          How come the Germans still pay their taxes and we just complain about it?

          • Olaf

            Maybe if successive governments didn’t just take as much money as they could get away with then piss it away on vanity projects. Maybe if they spent that money responsibly we wouldn’t be in half the trouble we’re in now.

            • dalai guevara

              Perhaps begin with my last bullet point and end the debacle of 1993?

      • HooksLaw

        They could try the train. It takes an hour. The line is due to be electrified as part of the 9 billion govt plan for the railways.
        A significant part of the Cardiff area workforce commute. Unemployment in Cardiff according to the council is about 10,800. Unemployment in Cardiff doubled under Labour between 2008 and 2010.
        Under the Tories the Cardiff claimant count had fallen significantly between 92 and 97.

        • telemachus

          Ordinary folk cannot afford the train whether run by pocket capitalist Branson or other

          • HooksLaw

            Train fare from Merthyr to Cardiff £7 return. Leaves 7.38 arrives 8.39. Cheaper still by season ticket.
            From where I live the return fare for a 30 min journey into town by bus is £5.10. So the cost is more than acceptable.

            You are a total ignoramus and pathetic with it.

            PS its just 23.5 miles and 37 mins by car.
            Further PS
            As of 2008 gross weekly mean earnings for all residents of Cardiff in full-time Employment were £440.00 per week. So you are complaining about someone having to pay £35 a week to earn about £450.

            • telemachus

              Acceptable to you who have economic means but to a mother with dependants on minimum wage
              Come on

              • Fergus Pickering

                Are all the people out of work in Wales mothers with dependents? Where are the bone-idle teenagers that we have round here. Is it that welsh work ethic?

      • Sarge

        Perhaps you could make the trip? only one way though. No need to come back

    • HooksLaw

      Its Cameron and Osborne who have actually given IDS a job, so just grow up.

      • philip sayers

        given him a job. they tried to oust him a few weeks ago. and by the way,grow up.

        • HooksLaw

          Change of job. And don’t make me laugh. Davis walked out of his job, how childish was that.

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