Week 35: Villain – Iain Duncan-Smith

by George_East on September 2, 2015

Tory_VillainLast week’s Villain of the Week Award goes to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith for making shit up again.

The Freedom of Information Act is a useful thing. So useful that passing it was Tony Blair’s biggest legistlative regret and David Cameron’s government are committed to gutting it.

It was a Freedom of Information request by an on-line journal, Welfare Weekly that revealed that the Department of Work and Pensions had been using fake profiles to advance propaganda in favour of the policies of the department. These profiles always had an Orwellian quality of the thank you for removing my benefits kind.

So one benefit claimant, ‘Sarah’ said how pleased she was that she had benefit sanctions imposed because it motivated her to improve her CV and that made it more likely she would be able to get a job. Another Zac explained how he was able to persuade his benefits advisor (or ‘Work Coach’ – it just gets more and more Orwellian) that he had a good reason for missing his appointment and that he didn’t have sanctions imposed as a result.

The only problem with these rather convenient stories was that Sarah and Zac did not exit. They had been made up by the DWP.   The explanation for this once the truth had been revealed was that they were only ‘for illustrative purposes’. Nothing on the published profiles (which include photographs of Sarah and Zac) would suggest that these are fictional benefit claimants facing fictional benefit sanctions.   The DWP having been found out has now removed the profiles ‘to avoid confusion’ – an odd reaction if they were always intended to be nothing more than fictional illustrations.

Of course at the pinnacle of this pile of bullshit is none other than Iain Duncan Smith, a man who positively oozes glee in the misery he causes the weakest in our society.   A villain for the ages.

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