As of Friday, 19th March 2016, Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (DWP) has resigned. It’s a victory!
In case you aren’t familiar with UK Politics, the Conservatives have been in power since the last election in May 2015. They were the largest party in the previous government from 2010 to 2015 and, thus, the country was run mostly under their rules but with much more capable opposition. Think of it as “conservatives-lite.” Since they have had a slim majority since the last election this country has fallen further and further into disarray and the Tory frontbenchers (their highest officials like the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, etc.) have mostly been to blame with a series of terrible ideas.
IDS himself has taken a lot of criticism because, as head of the Department for Work and Pensions, he has been in charge of welfare. He has made significant cuts to disability benefits and has hugely cut back on providing benefits to the poorest in our society. Because of him, the number of people using food banks in the UK, which I am constantly told is one of the world’s richest nations, has consistently gone up. Every month a new record is set for how many people are using food banks because they can’t afford food due to cuts in their benefits.
There have been cases of elderly people dying because they have to choose between buying food and having the heating on over winter because of this man. There have been cases of desperate parents and disabled people threatening to commit suicide, in front of people who work at the Job Centre where you have to go to collect benefits, because they see it as a preferable option to how they are being treated by the government.
The “Fit for work” scheme has failed utterly. People who physically can’t work, who have physically and mentally debilitating illnesses, have been declared “fit for work” and have had to spend at least 30 hours a week proving that they are looking for jobs or doing volunteer work. As an extra kick in the teeth for people like that, the volunteering they usually do isn’t for charities or for a good cause that they can choose, it’s for the government and for private contractors who work for the government who have been replacing their workforce with “volunteers” who have to work there for a few days a week without pay.
Because of this man, and the whole Tory leadership, this country has become a significantly worse place to live. These instances are only what I can remember from the DWP in the last few months but I have no doubt there are more. Everyone should celebrate IDS’s resignation and should take heart in the fact, as I do, that the Tories are falling further and further into disarray. I had somewhat lost faith in protest and opposition over the last few months. After getting a majority it felt like there was nothing people could do to stop the Tories from forcing through their diabolical cuts and changes but this is the proof I needed.
Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation was a huge victory for all those who oppose the Tories. It has shaken the Tory Party right at the top and you can clearly see the cracks starting to show. Regardless of who you support, if you oppose the Tories then take this to heart and keep fighting against them. Keep protesting. Keep talking about how you think that their ideas and cuts and changes are ruining people’s lives. They clearly keep up a good front but the things people say and the opposition to them does get through so keep protesting.