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IDS defines his mission

Tim Montgomerie

DUNCAN-SMITH-+-FIST

One of Jill Kirby's last acts as Director of the Centre for Policy Studies was to invite Ian Duncan Smith to deliver the annual Keith Joseph Lecture. The Work & Pensions Secretary delivered the speech last night and grand stuff it was too. It began with a call on centre right think tanks to keep the intellectual flames alive and prepare for the day when we had that hoped-for Conservative majority. The bulk of the speech was a call to redefine what we mean by poverty-fighting. Fight poverty with stronger families, better schools and work, IDS said - not just by higher benefits (as the state currently and miserably measures poverty).

Read the full speech here but, if you haven't got time, his peroration is terrific:

"I once promised that whatever I did in politics I would do it for people suffering from worklessness and dependency in housing estates all over Britain. I am more passionate than ever to fulfil that promise. Because this isn’t really about our national finances. That’s just the starting point. It’s not the destination.

Yes we have to balance the budget. But beyond that there’s a higher purpose. The purpose of changing lives. Of moving people trapped in the tyranny of self doubt and dependency, To the freedom of enterprise, endeavour and self belief. Surely that is our duty, and Conservatives have always been good at duty. A duty to put our country first; after all we are the party of the Nation, or we are nothing, remember?

But this Nation, for all its beauty and majesty isn’t just a piece of land or a geographical term, no; it is the home of a free people. For this nation is its people, the British people, for it is they who shaped it, gave form to it, lived in it, loved it and too often, died for it. A nation, where everyone’s value should be measured anew and parents’ hope for their children can outreach their own span.

It is to them that we pledge our duty. A duty to ensure together, that no one is written off, no one is discarded - no one is left behind. That together, through our reforms, this becomes the nation of the second chance."

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