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Michael McGowan

IDS's work in this area has really impressed me. I did not vote for him in the 2001 leadership election but he has more than proved that he has the courage and imagination to espouse a vision of social justice which actually emancipates the vulnerable.....unlike Labour's vision which merely involves the nationalisation by stealth of the voluntary sector. For far too long the Tories have failed to challenge the left's spurious monopoly of compassion.

Of course, lots of Tory leadership contenders are trying to jump on IDS's bandwagon but will they actually have the courage to reject Labour's lowest common denominator concept of social justice?

Simon C

"There is now a lot of rhetoric in Tory circles about ‘social justice’. The good causes highlighted on show the Conservative Party how social justice can be delivered."

Let's hope that some of these examples inspire some more coherent and considered thinking on the part of our would-be leaders.

David Sergeant

IDS's work is hughly impressive, and I did vote for him. But few electors will take our Social Justice seriously until we address our work during the 18 years. Until then electors will not trust us and Labour can get away with acusing us of intending to do anything

Kevin Davis

Maybe the time has come for us to demonstrate Compassionate Conservatism in action. IDS has done a great job in highlighting poverty fighters but is there a role for us to now identify a specific issue against which we would legislate. Wilberforce did it with slavery, Shaftesbury did it for education, Thatcher did it for the Unions, the next leader will do it for.....?

Simon C

Education again. Vouchers all round!

Paul Marks

Slavery is a series of Common Law offenses (abduction, false imprisonment, assault, and so on) although it took a long time to get Judges and legislatures to accept this.

In Education the work of both the Church of England National Schools and the Nonconformist British Schools should be praised far more than than it is, as should the work of other non profit (and for profit schools) and nonschool edcuation in this country.

As for government intervention (whether we are talking about subsidies from 1833 or Board Schools from, in some areas, 1870 onwards), E.G. West in "Education and the State" examined this matter many years ago and there is no need for me to bang on about it.

How the majority of people can be liberated from a de facto government monopoly is a complex matter, but certainly claims that "structures do not matter, what matters is good education under any structure" are tosh. We are back to Milton Friedman's story of the barking cats - politicians do not want to fight to oppose a de facto government monopoly so they claim they can keep it whilst still having high standards - they might as well claim they are going to keep a cat (rather than a dog), but that it will bark.

On the matter of "social justice": Justice is to each his own, caring about the poor is caring about the poor - a matter of compassion not justice.

Being just is not the only virtue, a just man with no compassion for anyone else is a poor excuse for a human being. There is also a long and respectable tradition of government taxing people in order to provide for the needs of others - not out of "justice" but out of concern for the welfare of the helpless.

People who really do believe that justice is a matter of a certain distribution of income or wealth (the "outcome of the game" as opposed to the "rules of the game"), in terms of "social justice" or "distributive justice" or "justice as fairness" are, of course, not Conservatives.

The lack of basic knowledge concerning what words mean is irritating. I know that J.S. Mill (not a man I very much admire) sneared at us as the "stupid party", but there is no need for us to be the "ignorant party". It does not take much reading to get one's thoughts straight on such matters - for those people unable or unwilling to read whole books, just reading the footnote on page 153 of M.J. Oakeshott's "On Human Conduct" will do.

Still I have discussed "social justice" quite enough elsewhere on this site and will not go into all the details again.

As for a "One Nation" position. This (as Lady Thatcher used to point out) holds that there are in fact two nations ("the rich and the poor") and that a different general line of policy is to the benefit of each. This position (contrary to Dizzy) is false, and the position of that old Whig Edmund Burke is correct - i.e. that a general policy of allowing civil interaction and limiting government is to the long term benefit of the nation as a whole.

Of course, these days being "One Nation" simply tends to mean trying to be friends with the B.B.C. (an odd activity, considering they will hate us whatever we say or do).

I recently heard an interview (on B.B.C. Radio 4) with Sir Malcolm Rifkind in which he declared that we must not follow the line of the last few elections. I agree that we must not go about trying to match Labour spending pledges on just about everything (or as Mr Major used to say "we have spent more than they promised to spend"), however I doubt that it is what Sir Malcolm meant.

Sadly "One Nation" and "Centre Ground" seem to be code for supporting ever more government spending and regualations at home, and (of course) submitting to the regulations of the E.U.

Larry Begg

Perhaps IDS could now do some "effective giving" of his own and carry out his reported threat to leave the Conservative Party; then he could finally give something positive to us after all the ills he brought upon us during his bizarre leadership. I get very annoyed when I hear how "decent" he is. I met him twice and found him to be breathtakingly rude and condescending - singularly an unimpressive little man. I have talked to others who have had the similar misfortune to meet him and they had exactly the same experience. They too wonder how the media granted him the "decency" tag and they too feel that all his "social justice" talk is nothing but the greatest hypocrisy and, coming from him, humbug - merely a desperate attempt to reinvent and rehabilate himself, after he had a chance which comes to few and comprehensively blew it. Many of us know Mr Mark Macgregor to be a similarly appalling character, and probably more dangerous. We would be delighted to see him blackballed from future parliamentary candidacies, but for better reasons than Mr Duncan Smith's childish petulance. At the end of the day, it was Mr Duncan Smith who appointed Mr Macgregor to Central Office after all, when wiser counsels were reportedly telling him not to do so, and if he has reaped the ill wind of that astonishingly crass decision, he has no-one but himself to blame.

Louis Julian

Well put, Larry Begg.
IDS the campaigner with a heart? Or, for that matter, IDS the campaigner with a head? I haven't laughed so much at a politician since Nick Scott fell down drunk. Get back in your little box, IDS, and don't come out ever again. Or else join the Labour Party and mess them up instead.

Cedric Onway

It's amazing how many people (REAL people, not Westminster Village commentators and hangers-on) comment on what a nasty little man IDS is. I think so too - on three encounters with the guy I failed to detect any milk of human kindness whatsoever. That is why Larry Begg is bang on the money to describe New Improved, Cleans Brighter, Touchy-Feely Duncan Smith as a complete hypocrite. If there is any sincerity in his agenda at all, it seems to be based on some sort of personal crisis. Let's face it, none of us would like to have our uselessness paraded in such a public fashion by colleagues. Is he still in denial? There is certainly no modesty about the man, or else he would recognise that it isn't really on to say more after you've finished as leader than you were able usefully to say whilst you actually were the leader. There's certainly still plenty of anger there, isn't there? But we all take knocks and on the other hand most of us never get the chance to shine that Duncan Smith was given. He messed it up all by himself (yes, making sworn enemy Macgregor your CEO - smart move, IDS) and, after all this time, it's time he just grew up and faced up to the fact. I'm sure that's what his infinitely more accomplished father would have told him (maybe that's his problem, of course, with all that heroism to live up to). But no, he's still on his "political journey", or rather, he's still in the midst of his political nervous breakdown. If that leads him out of the Tory Party, better still if it leads him to becoming the left's embarrassing figure rather than ours, then we ain't going to miss him, frankly. In fact, Larry Begg is right, it would be a blessing to be rid of this bad-mannered, ill-tempered little hypocrite. Nothing wrong with much of the agenda - especially when expressed so well on this excellent website - but, coming from the Duncan Smith so many of us have experienced, it has a very hollow ring.

Dickie Bodd

Yes, he is rather dim, old IDS, isn't he? That's a well-known fact. By far the least intelligent Tory leader in living memory (that's quite a long time in my case), which is quite a feat in a line-up which includes the last PM. Ill-educated too - in a concrete bunker which passed for a cadet boat, I believe. Rather odd - explains plenty. Poor old Sir Alec, God bless his soul, used to say that he needed matchsticks to count, but at least one felt he would be able to use them. One rather feels that IDS would be confused by just half a box full. And with that infamous temper! He probably would start snapping off the heads after he reached five or six. (Am I being too generous there?) Really, his being as thick as two short planks is a source of much mirth amongst his colleagues. He would do well to learn a little of Sir Alec's modesty, but he is so self-unaware that that's sadly unlikely.

Julia Brazen

Mr Duncan Smith makes much of his Christianity, but he rarely seems to practise what he preaches, which is upsetting. He has no humility, which is un-Christian. Notoriously, he does not listen to people and will not take advice. He is arrogant and conceited, with nothing to be conceited about. That way leads to blind alleys. At a personal level, that's his own look-out, but he led his whole party down blind alleys because of these character flaws. That was supremely selfish, which is also un-Christian. If he had the humility to say "Lord, I am stupid and dim-witted, but I trust in Your guidance", his leadership would not have been so disastrous. Aside from all that, his personal manner, the way he treated people, was also un-Christian. I know - I am yet another of the unfortunate faithful who met him at Conferences, with much unwitting glee initially, only to be cast off most hurtfully. Justice? Yes, he (and we) have had some justice. It seems that many fellow sufferers of the IDS treatment just laugh at him now. Well, they are able to do so, for he is of no consequence, a nothing, a nobody. I shall try to be less uncharitable, but I shed no tears for him. Time and relevance has passed him by.

Richard O'Sullibrien

Yeah! IDS! Groovy baby! He's a real "man about the house of commons"!!! Who said cheesy old comedy was dead! Hat's off to old IDS - the man who stops politics from getting too serious!

Listen to this tribute...

Alastair Jimme

If IDS grew a moustache he would make a great George Roper. But who would be Mildred? It couldn't be Betsy, because she was never "about the House" (allegedly). I vote for Theresa May (and I never thought I'd find myself typing that).

Louis Julian

What a hoot! Let's start a thread on comedy characters which could have been played by IDS. There are plenty of absurd baldies one could think of alongside George Roper. How about Victor Meldrew? IDS could almost have modelled himself upon TV's inept "Mr Angry". One imagines him stomping into the garden and ranting over the fence at his neighbour: "The quiet man is here to stay and he's TURNING UP THE BLADDY VOL-YEWM!!!!"

Alastaqir Jimme

Or Alf Garnett.
With Dandy Nicholls as Betsy: 'I didn't know I was supposed to turn up to work'.
Iain Duncan Garnett: 'You silly moo....'

Louis Julian

The media famously started depicting IDS as Corporal Jones from "Dad's Army" when he started saying "they do not like it" all the time at PMQs, sailing dangerously close to Jones' "they don't like it up 'em" catchphrase. But we're talking about bald comedy characters, so in this context Captain Duncan Smith has to mean Captain Mainwaring. Pompous, absurd, ineffectual, chippy about his social standing and possessing a ludicrously inflated view of his own importance and abilities. Sounds like a pretty apt comparison to me. Mind you, when IDS was at the height of his military career, bag-carrying in Rhodesia, I bet the shoe was on the other foot. Captain or no captain, one can well imagine him being regularly berated as a "stupid boy" by his CO.

Francois Marque

Bald comedians? For once, IDS was a step ahead of us - he already tried to reinvent himself as Sid James. See this link (and wonder anew why he could ever have got the push):

Iain Duncan's Myth

Staying on the Carry On theme....Bernard Bresslaw. Each time he asked yet another useless question during PMQs, if he had been able to respond to the hoots of derision from the backbenches (on both sides) with a plaintive "I only arsked", it could have been touchingly disarming.

Stephen O'Sullibrien

My brother Richard posted a dud link for the Man About The House theme.

Total silence - perhaps it was actually the theme to "The Quiet Man"!!!

I know IDS is a dud subject, but dud links won't do. If we're going to have a pop at him, we need to do it properly, so here we go everybody...
Dada dada DA dada dadada....

Stephen O'Sullibrien

Now that we've hopefully got out of our system any thoughts of IDS leering at Julie Kirkbride whilst hassling a sheepskin coat-clad Ed Vaisey for the rent (before being cruelly put down yet again by Yootha "Betsy" Joyce), let's quickly move on.

(Although not before firstly stressing that, in the socially aware New Improved Tory Party, Mr Vaisey's sheepskin is, of course, fake - like everything else in the New Improved Tory Party).

And so, ladeezandgentlemunnn, getting back to comedy baldies, I give you....

Eric Duncan Morecambe!

What do you think of him so far?

(Please don't say rubbish, folks, because the "so far" is as far as it's going for him...)

Ed Sleazey

Bald man. Hunched shoulders. Mangled English. Incomprehensible. Hysterically Funny.
Yes. It is IDS.

Louis Julian

I know they weren't supposed to be comedians, but I always found the Sontarans funny on Dr Who. (Dr Who? Dr Julian! - sorry, couldn't resist... just a little in-joke that I use with my friends).
No, they weren't comedians, but that's exactly why the comparison's so apt - as with IDS, one was supposed to take the Sontarans seriously but just couldn't. Anyway, they were bald. And they always lost in the end.

Louis Julian

Another thing about the Sontarans: they were militaristic (and as with IDS, they were poor soldiers - as I said, they always lost in the end).

Look at this classic script for example:

Sontaran Commander: "Commander Kwai-Atman to Mother Ship! Come in, Mother Ship!"

Crackly voice on radio: "Turn up the volume, Kwai-Atman!"

Sontaran Commander: "I have crash landed in Chingford, Planet Earth! What are your instructions?"

Crackly voice on radio: "Follow the ancient Sontaran pledge, Kwai-Atman! Unite or die! Unite or die!"

Sontaran Commander: "I've just been shot in my probic vent!" (Dies)

Greg McMarker

Bald comedians who are like IDS. Hmm. William Hague? Michael Howard? Neil Kinnock? Jacqui Lait? (What, you didn't know it was a wig?)

Gilbert Stephen

Could it have been that "Last of the Summer Wine"'s Compo wore that woolly hat to hide a bald head?

On reflection, forget it, I can't sustain the comparison. Even if he was bald, he was much too classy and intellectual to draw parallels with IDS.

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