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By David Vance On March 11th, 2013

Good to see Iain Duncan Smith talking some sense;

Iain Duncan Smith was embroiled in a battle with the new Archbishop of Canterbury last night. The Work and Pensions Secretary told Church leaders there was ‘nothing moral’ about their opposition to flagship welfare reforms. He reacted with fury after the Most Rev Justin Welby led an uprising against the Government’s plans to limit benefit increases to one per cent a year for  the next three years. Mr Duncan Smith, a devout Roman Catholic, insisted it was neither fair nor moral to trap millions of families on welfare payments which made it not worth their while seeking work

He’s right but of course there is more to it than that. There are many who prefer NOT to work at all and who must chortle at the misguided drivel from Welby. Here’s another point. The Archbishop presides over a Church which has chosen to obtain charitable status meaning it does not pay tax. So, here’s the deal, Welby. You give up YOUR tax exemption and then we can  look at how much of our tax the parasite sector can drain?


  1. Come get advice on tax-efficient giving from the Curch of England.

    Church people should understand that this recovery of tax is not “stealing from the Government” but good stewardship of their resources.

    Sheltering what’s yours from looters is certainly not stealing from anyone, but maybe the CoE should advise church people to forego tax recovery before exhorting the government to steward the resources of everyone else.

  2. All very well making it into a ‘them and us’, a ‘scroungers and workers’ issue, but there are a few things to consider before condemning welfarees per se.

    First the huge influx of immigrants in the past couple of decades, a figure of 3,000,000+ was quoted only last week, – yes, many do fill – or should that be ‘take’ jobs from the unskilled manual sector, but a large percentage of those immigrants seem to do quite well for themselves ‘on benefits’, the recent case where the ‘lady of the house’ demanded rehousing, and this in a smart area of London, while on some 35,000 p.a. of benefits gravy train.

    Secondly, – just where are all these vacant jobs supposed to be? – it seems that most are in the south east, where the cost of living is appreciably higher than elsewhere in the country, and even there, there are many applicants for each job.

    The politicians, in their benighted ignorance, did a pretty good job of killing off much of the industry in the midlands and the north, the decimation and decline of many once properous towns is heartbreaking to see, – with communities destroyed as effectively as if they had been bombed.

    Followed by the very neat sidestepping of responsibilty with the cheap shot remark – ‘Get on your bike!’ – as it it was the workers fault that jobs were lost, rather than government’s management ineptitude.

    Of course the remarks of Duncan Smith and Welby do little to help or guide either side into reaching a sensible solution. The one with a bald head, seemingly knowing little of economics, and the prat with a hat, thinking that by making us all poor is a good thing – from the ‘all being equal’ pov.

    How poliicians, are so blind to the most obvious and inevitable unintended consequences of their diktat and subsequent actions, is surel proof that we are governed by fools…

  3. I am prepared to listen to the CofE on religious issues, but not on political matters until such a time as the bishops and archbishops are democratically elected.
    I have a vote for the PCC and church wardens, they in turn appoint the Vicar or Rector, albeit from a list which is reminiscent of CCHQ’s list of potential conservative candidates.
    There is no reason why the clergy should not, in turn, appoint the diocesan bishops, who in turn could elect from among their numbers the archbishops.
    When they have democracy, I’ll consider their views on matters other than religion, not before.

  4. Speaking as a non conformist member of our local parish church I can tell you I have just emailed Iain Duncan Smith in support.
    The is no Biblical justification for keeping people permanently idle. It rots their sense of self respect and self worth, and as the old saying goes,
    “The Devil finds work for idle hands to do!”
    I have to say that I have never come across such muddle headed, hand wringing vague platitudinous thinking masquerading as Christianity as I am currently experiencing.

  5. Ps
    I also accept the validity of Ernest’s comments, but all the more reason why the basic functions of State need to be removed from the hands of politicians and given to men and women with real world business experience, AND I still think that some of the ngo’s like Taxpayers Alliance, Age Concern the CBI and Citizens Advice Bureau should help run our country.
    AWAY with politicians before they destroy us all!

  6. the basic functions of State need to be removed from the hands of politicians and given to men and women with real world business experience

    A lot of truth to that, though once they seek office, they are politicians, but I get your point.

    There’s a lot that I don’t like about NYC’s Bloomberg, but he was a world class entrepreneur who started a very successful world business, and not everyone can do that. Some of that knowledge has helped him reform municipal practices.

    I was astonished to see on TV over the weekend that there is now a third generation of the Bush family that is in full time politics. What’s wrong with this picture? Bushes, Kennedys, Pauls, Clintons, one crime family after the other.

  7. Phantom,
    why do they have to become politicians?

    After all, if you framed things in such a way that local government functions are run by paid, experienced, business people judged on efficiency and results by the shareholders (taxpayers) what is the problem?

    Same with national admin and infrastructure. Run them as publicly owned businesses answerable to the stakeholder/taxpayer, then you dramatically reduce the need expense of incompetent interfering egomaniacs politicians.
    As long as you take political philosophies and rivalries out of the equation, there is no reason why competent skilled business people couldn’t run the country.
    You hire them and fire them on the basis of results, not politics.

  8. It shows the ultimate lack of creativity and initiative in these families, and in others families like the Paisleys.

    The kids see how privileged a politician’s life is, and they say ” give me that “.

    Much easier than working in private business, with the head start that you get with a famous name and all the connections already made.

  9. according to an FOI for the belfast telegraph 24m per year is spent for DLA on alcoholics alone. This is wrong, alcohol is an addiction not a disability. There is room for review, but IDS doesn’t have it right if he is using atos, where a lot of genuinely ill people are having benefits removed. Liam Fox is today talking out of his arse, as the cbi chiefs are saying to osborne that spending needs to increase, and to do something about it in the budget next week.

    By all means reform the welfare state, but don’t make a worse different problem to replace an already chaotic mess.

  10. Phantom.
    It is interesting that many of our Victorian entrepreneurs were not capitalists in the strict sense of that word. They were merchants and businessmen who were greatly influenced by the cultural values of the day i.e. Christianity.
    That is why they built better housing for their workers, brought in education and tried (in a paternalistic way) to look after them.
    There is no reason why we as a society couldn’t adopt a business model for our society based on results and efficiencies, whilst ensuring equally fair wages and conditions for public sector workers.
    Of course you would never have a perfect or incorruptible system, but I think it would be much more responsive and accountable, as well as far less wasteful then our current politically led system.

  11. The best of the new companies ( google, etc ) treat workers well. Probably because it is in their interest to do so.

    But many companies only want to pay the least that they can get away with, either out of naked greed, or because they are in an ultra competitive business ( retail grocery, fast food, clothing manufacturing ).

    The worst actors, domestically or internationally would impact whatever you try to do there.

  12. Kateyo.
    What’s an foi?
    What’s atos?

    As I see it the point is the bigger a society becomes the more complex and impersonal it becomes.
    In a small community or tribe everybody knows their place and their worth. It is far harder to make a case for idleness in a small community where everyone knows the value of the other.
    Now I am not saying we should return to a tribal society, but the fact is that if you keep arguing the case for kindness and compassion then ultimately all that will happen is that you will create more of the needy and fewer of the productive members of your group.
    So by all means protect those whop really can’t work. The elderly, the disabled the sick. But as Ernest points out our politicians have allowed vast chunks of industry to disappear and replaced it with a client base paid for by the working population
    Which is why I would NEVER EVER vote Labour.
    We need to create REAL productive jobs, not public sector ones. Politicians could care less. As long as they can get people to vote for them they’re not going to worry whether it benefits our country as a whole or not.

  13. Phantom,
    What you are proving is that a mixed economy, even a capitalist led one, needs a strong moral influence to combat its worst excesses and ensure all men have a conscience towards their fellow man.

  14. A strong moral influence is highly desirable.

    But since some bosses have zero conscience, we’ll still need a few regulations thank you very much.

  15. Agit


    Freedom of Information act

    BTW, Try and obtain an FOI on any ‘Common Purpose’ business and see how far you get.

    I mention ‘Common Purpose’ for a reason ..

    I have to say that I have never come across such muddle headed, hand wringing vague platitudinous thinking masquerading as Christianity as I am currently experiencing.

    They are ‘Common Purpose’ graduate drone placemen, that’s why it’s all gone Pete Tong.

  16. “But since some bosses have zero conscience, we’ll still need a few regulations thank you very much.”
    No problem with that, but do you disagree with my basic premise that experienced, accountable business men and women could make a better job of running things than politicians??

  17. Ago ATOS is the company that sponsored the Paralympics and now runs govt reforms in welfare with an emphasis on what disabled people can do rather than what they can’t. ATOS is a French company that now holds 7billion in British govt contracts to reform the welfare state.

    FOI is indeed a freedom of information request.

  18. No question about it, Agit8ed.

    I have a much higher opinion of businesspeople than politicians generally. They are smarter than politicians generally, and they are hard headed people who get things done and who know that you must keep to a budget.

    It is astonishing that in the US, we elected Obama to run the US, when he had zero experience running anything before.

    Now, the Republicans are all swooning over the likes of Marco Rubio, or God help us, Rand Paul, with no private sector experience that I am aware of, and no experience running a hot dog stand or anything else.

  19. “ATOS is a French company that now holds 7billion in British govt contracts to reform the welfare state.”

    Run that by me again in simple phrases that a simple man might understand?

  20. If you get dal for example a dr from dal assessed you but not now, now it’s a dr from atos,and over 80 percent of their assessments have been overturned on appeal, thus costing the taxpayer more. Panorama did a great programme on atos, exposing it as not fit for purpose, with one man who’d been registered blind all his life declared able to see because a nurse from atos said he made eye contact with her.

  21. Dal is dla it’s auto correct on this ipad

  22. Kateyo,
    This is what I think I understood.
    Medical assessments for Disability Living Allowance used to be made by and NHS doctor.
    Now it is made by a doctor working on behalf of Atos (either one third of the Three Musketeers, or more likely a French firm working for the French government to assess DLA claimants)?

    1) Stop talking shop/professional lingo.
    2) Why would we employ a foreign firm to do this, especially if 80+% of the assessments were overturned?

  23. IN my view due to its sponsoring of the Paralympics and its ‘can do’ attitude, but what was thought to work in theory was rubbish in practice.

  24. SO forgive my slowness,
    Atos somehow was able to sponsor the UK Paralympics, and by so doing wangled the job of assessing DLA applicants??
    And we in the UK had no other company that could do the same thing? On what basis did Atos get the contract?

  25. Atos assess dla soon to be replaced with PIP which is being done by atos, atos assess ESA that is replacing incapacity benefit and these contracts are worth around 24 billion to the French company

  26. Yes due to sponsorship of Paralympics, basically the govt pays them to put people off welfare into work hence the large over turn of their assessments

  27. “Yes due to sponsorship of Paralympics”
    Got to be more to it than that Kateyo.
    More likely an EU directive/ scam of some sort.

  28. No, contracts went out and they got it and their angle was their can do attitude, fit right in with conservative policy! Get ppl off benefits and hey presto, result tax payer pays more. Check things out this week when a coffin full of forms is delivered to atos to highlight how disabled and others feel about atos. Infact disabled groups have forced a govt rethink on implementing some changes as 2015 is an election year

  29. Agit8ed –

    Probably it’s just EU law.

    If Atos staff (or, more likely, sub-contractors) are carrying out medical assessments, they will be doing so under contract, won by competitive tender.

    All state tenders over certain thresholds (the thresholds depend on the sectors) must be advertsied EU-wide. It’s called an OJEU Notice, since tenders must be advertsied in the Official Journal of the EU.

  30. Oh deary deary me ..

    Know your enemy.

    ATOS are connected to ‘Common Purpose’ well well, shock and horror, there’s a surprise.


  31. Peter what do you think of Liam fox’s comments today?

  32. Pete (bloody auto correct) your view on fox?

  33. OH for Goodness Sake Harri,
    What on earth is Common Purpose anyway?
    Yes, I followed your link noted Julia Middleton, but I am none the wiser.
    These kind of companies do not spring up without some kind of government insider knowledge/patronage/sponsorship.

  34. Agit

    It is sponsored by the Goverment.

    It’s an EU thing.

  35. Think harri is referring to CP having political influence and some say corruption but so far no programme or newspaper has linked the two, one needs to be careful with unsupported innuendo

  36. Kateyo

    Tell Brian Gerrish that !


  37. kateyo –

    Liam Fox is right in some respects.

    Britain is “welfare dependent and debt ridden”, as he says. It simply is. In other respects he’s a little way off. He said that we must “reverse the socialist coup of the last ten years”. The great socialist coup was in 1945, when Clement Attlee’s government stole and collectivised a quarter of the British economy.

    Liam Fox’s party was happy to go along with this settlement, and it still does, so he can’t tell the full truth there. Also, his solution of freezing spending is laughably pitiful, but it’s a sign of how sovietised we have become in mind that this is looked on as radical.

    Ultimately, it’s about internal Tory politics. Cameron is under growing pressure, Labour has a clear lead in the polls and the contenders for Cameron’s job are jockeying for position.

    On the Right of the party (making them, in reality, mild communists) are Fox and Theresa May. They’ve already started up with the promses and it’s all lies.

  38. Agit8ed, on March 11th, 2013 at 4:13 PM Said:
    OH for Goodness Sake Harri,
    What on earth is Common Purpose anyway?
    Yes, I followed your link noted Julia Middleton, but I am none the wiser.

    And therein lies part of the reason just why ‘they’ getaway with what they getaway with, and just why Great Britain is in the state it is in, and why we feel the need to dicuss and moan and bitch about it day in and day out.

  39. * Discuss

  40. Agit8ed,

    Re your 12.51 comment.

    I totally agree with your sentiment that evey man needs to work, and for many reasons, not just money. However when welfarism has been so generous that it has destroyed the incentive to work, – and for such a long time that has been the case, – it will take a miracle to reduce it to more sensible levels in the short space of time needed to reinstate the ‘will to work’. Too sudden a reduction and the streets will be on fire.

    The answer needs to be a steady reduction in welfare, but matched by a job creation programme that can absorb job seekers, and we all know that will not happen in todays economic climate, especially as the Chinese are in the middle of a ‘job creation’ scheme of their own and there just isn’t the demand for two rampant exapnsionist economies of the likes of them and us, and maybe also the USA.

    The Chinese economy is in the ascent, with ample resources and labour, while ours, it has to be admitted, is in decline. And still the front door remains open to all!

  41. There certainly is a need for some welfare programs, and a need to manage them effectively. The problem lies on the extremes wit hthose who would perpetuate them 100% for eternity, and those who would eliminate them immediately without takign into account need.

  42. Those who would eliminate them entirely are very few in number and are not serious people. They actually take away from efforts to make the system leaner, more temporary, more need based. Its not going away. But it can be made better.

  43. especially as the Chinese are in the middle of a ‘job creation’ scheme of their own and there just isn’t the demand for two rampant exapnsionist economies of the likes of them and us, and maybe also the USA.

    They should start a massive house building project, the Chinese can’t ship houses over to the UK (I think)

    Lets face it, give it another year, and there will be enough immigrants to fill a million new build homes.

  44. Phantom – few in number and unserious. But not necessarily without undue influence in trying to control the debate. For example, here we have welfare receipients labeled as parasites, becuase it is easier to attack the system if we pretend everyone is undeserving or takign advantage.

    And let us not forget that those who often label such people as parasites, or who at least don’t use care in the application of the lable parasites, are usually full blown advocates (or at least willfully blind) of wasteful spending on military and foreign policy matter.ss.

  45. Yes

    Most of those who oppose waste are a whole lot less concerned about waste for things that they like.

    In the US, when was the last time you heard a congressman decrying wasteful federal spending in their own district?

  46. So Ernest, Mahons and Phantom,
    When I proposed many months back that the government should use benefit payments as a component part of a wage for a real job for the unemployed person for something like a year, eighteen months, with six monthly reviews rto assess progress, is that not a gradual weaning off?

    Or else benfits are conditional upon attending a regular community work programme 39 hours a week; cleaning graffitti, picking up litter etc etc.
    Again, if you took these problems out of the hands of politicians who exploit them for their own purposes, and make them the responsibility of a publicly owned company, then it would get resolved. So do away with politicians and their endless interference and failed (and costly) initiatives.

  47. Agit8ed – your plan doesn’t take into consideration benefits for seniors, disabled or children so I am not sure it is of much use. In my country at least welfare reform for able-bodied people is already a thing.

    As for corporations they don’t have a better success rate than the government sector in this area and often tiems have a poor record on accountability and cost. I am not sure without real specifics that that would be the answer either.

  48. Mahons,
    Yes it does!
    I already said earlier in this thread that the elderly, incapacitated and those with learning difficulties should be cared for. That’s a civilised society, and you could still administer a fair and comprehensive benefits system without using it as a political football.
    On your second point and drawing on Harri’s reference to Common Purpose being an EU backed company, I would still say that the advantage of taking a lot of stuff away from politicians is that (here in the UK anyway) you would get away from the disastrous and wasteful cycle of a government taking your country in one direction, and then a subsequent government undoing it all and taking you in another.
    IF you kept the process politics free, you could actually build on what works and continue to improve it rather than dismantle it.
    As we have been saying there is good in free enterprise and also in socialism. Take politics out of it and you can then utilise what works best. You can change the bosses of different departments if they fail to produce the goods etc. etc. As the Phantom said about Mayor Bloomberg bringing his business experience to bear in running New York.