Monday, 21 March 2016
The unravelling following the budget is already bringing out co-ordinated responses from a group of government MPs. The briefing appears to be along the lines that "we are all great friends with Mr. Duncan-Smith, but don't agree with him on this issue" (sometimes adding that it is part of a EU exit diversion).
I listened to the Iain Duncan-Smith interview with Andrew Marr at the weekend and it seemed clear that ID-S was mainly championing welfare reduction of inequality and that this had little to do with EU arguments. He has run his welfare positioning for at least the last eight years and it is not something hastily assembled as a back-story.
Rather, the situation seemed to reveal someone cornered by the political machinations of his party, a party determined to use the rule of spreadsheet to achieve its ends.
That's not to say that ID-S schemes have worked. He is no project manager. Among other things, Universal Credits delayed and overran, with Osborne now stealthily using them as a vehicle to re-introduce tax credit cuts. Universal Cuts, one might say.
By now the political landscape has all changed. IDS resigned from the Cabinet and already speedily replaced. Cameron has slammed the brakes onto Osborne's 'take from disabled' scheme and rank and file conservatives are being wheeled out to replay the party line version of events. Corbyn has hinted that Osborne should 'consider his position'. Politics as a twitch game.
Disruption coverage assures that the signal to noise over the next few days will be low, and I expect there is already a team looking out for a good diversionary story to overtake this in the news.
I'll go back to my jelly steering wheel viewpoint from a few weeks ago. Maybe with Ant and Dec driving.