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The life and crimes of Iain Duncan Smith. The ‘quiet man’ should have kept a little quieter.

Dear Mr Duncan Smith,

As a disabled person, a welfare claimant, a taxpayer and a voter, I’ve followed your career trajectory with some interest. Given your fondness for regarding people like me as work-shy, malingering, prone to committing welfare fraud, a drain on public resources as we’re not productive units, seemingly being of little use to the rest of society and otherwise not being entirely honest with society as a whole, I’d like to draw your attention to the following:

In 2003 you were ousted as leader of the Conservative Party, when your own colleagues passed a vote of no confidence. This is a matter of public record and can be verified here.

You have previously claimed you can live on £53 a week. This was reported here.

You have yet to make good on this claim by actually living on £53 a week but, don’t worry, I haven’t even started yet.

You are currently in charge of the debacle that is Universal Credit while industriously blaming anyone but yourself (as DWP Minister and thus ultimately responsible for said fiasco). This has been reported by a multitude of sources but, to spare your blushes, I’ll confine myself to only two which can be found here:

And here.

In times past you claimed to have attended the prestigious University of Perugia. You didn’t attend the prestigious University of Perugia. You attended an entirely separate institution called the ‘Universita per Stranieri’ (University for Foreigners) as has been verified here.

Regarding the Universita per Straniera (which, to be fair, is in Perugia) you did attend. It’s just that you never obtained any actual qualifications. Nor did you finish your exams. Which can also be verified in the previous link.

Unlike the prestigious University of Perugia you did attend the prestigious Dunchurch College of Management. You went for a few courses, each lasting only a few days at most and didn’t get any qualifications there, either. This can be verified here:

You are responsible for welfare reforms that were roundly criticised by disability charities and that have made life a living hell for claimants and their families, the ‘benefit cap that leaves claimants with even less than the pittance paid before the cap came in.

You lost a court case brought against your ‘workfare’ programme that forced claimants to work unpaid for their welfare benefits, then retrospectively changed the law after the judgment was handed down so claimants whose benefits were cut or withheld altogether under ‘workfare’ would be unable to claim the money withheld under benefit sanctions. A retrospective law change subsequently thrown out by senior judges. That can be verified here.

Your department was found by the Office of National Statistics to have deliberately misused statistics in support of your welfare policies. Ah yes, here we are:

You also also defended ATOS and their ‘Work Capability Assessments’ even after Professor Harrington (brought in to review the computer-led assessments) stated publicly that they were not being used in the way originally intended. Ah yes, a little more verification is required:

You tried to claim the support of the Trussell Trust when defending his false claim that the explosion in demand for Foodbanks had nothing to do with welfare reform and benefit cuts. The Trussell Trust not only refuted your claims, but also received veiled threats of losing their Government funding if they didn’t stop publicly criticising the DWP. This can be verified here.

A report in the Independent newspaper dated November 16, 2015 cites statistics suggesting that:

‘Up to 590 additional suicides, 279,000 cases of mental ill health and 725,000 more prescriptions for antidepressants between 2010 and 2013 were associated with the introduction of the more stringent Work Capability Assessment (WCA).’

That can be found here:

So, thinking of the quote about ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics,’ it seems that you’re not averse to using all three. And that the ‘Quiet Man’ has a great deal he should (and probably wishes he could) keep quiet about.

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