The worst argument ever for Brexit: Iain Duncan Smith’s championing of the poor and vulnerable could be rallying cry.
After he resigned as Conservative leader in 2003, Iain Duncan Smith found a new purpose in his quest for social justice. That cause inspired him to co-found the Centre for Social Justice and brought him back to frontline politics, despite his bruising experience in the leader’s chair. Ultimately, it also led him to resign from the government on Friday, as his frustration at what he saw as endless obstruction from the Treasury boiled over.
The government itself sought through the renegotiation to regain power over who can claim welfare in the UK. The two central requests were set out in the Conservative manifesto – that benefits should not be paid for those children whose parents work here but who do not themselves live in this country, and that new arrivals should work for four years before they become eligible to access the welfare system. These were modest and popular demands, endorsed in a general election, but the EU still rejected them, watering down each so heavily that the process more closely resembled policy homeopathy than a renegotiation.
That failure sent a clear message about the reality of EU membership – we have lost the right to define the rules of our own welfare state, and have thus lost the ability to manage its costs or focus its resources as we wish.
Whatever your preference might be regarding the size and nature of the welfare system, it is hard to argue that the voters who fund it and use it should not have democratic control of its terms and scope. During the renegotiation, Duncan Smith identified the four-year waiting period before migrant workers could access benefits as “crucial”, and with good reason. With a stubbornly large deficit, there is no unlimited source of money for the welfare state; therefore, the greater the number of people who have the right to claim benefits, the less money there can be for each recipient. If one argues, as he does, that a permanent improvement in the lives of those in the greatest need requires the allocation of sizeable up-front resources, then allowing unlimited access to in-work benefits for EU migrants reduces the opportunity to deliver a new life for those in the direst need.
Cuts benefits for migrant workers to defend the poor and vulnerable!
It would be good to state that the Stand up to Racism demonstration over the weekend took up this issue and denounced this xenophobic attempt to raise hatred against migrant workers.
Instead they, the supporters of “Immigrants are Welcome Here” got this from this man (the one on the left…).
Galloway with new best friend before Stand up to Racism Rally.
Galloway at said Rally.