Iain Duncan Smith, IDS, the man who sounds like an intestinal problem is the coalition government minister charged with reforming the over complex, over bureaucratic welfare system. Can he succeed where others have dabbled?
Through the course of our lives many of us will find our circumstances have changed in ways that affect our ability to earn a decent living. Illness, family responsibilities, disability, unemployment and old age are among the most frequent causes of people having to look to the social security system for financial support.
The welfare system, which was begun by the Asquith / Lloyd George Liberal Government of 1908 – 1914 and has evolved under all governments since then is now ill equipped to deal with the jobless economy of a post industrial society.
When I began my career in the computer industry more years ago than I care to remember the ideal of machines doing all the mundane work and freeing humans to fulfil their potential seemed very attractive. Unfortunately politics and politicians are too blinkered and short – termist to plan for a society so radically changed by technology that most people will be jobless for a very significant part of their lives.
In the past few days David Cameron was talking about being unable to see a reason why people should be doing jobs a machine can do better. Allow Little Nicky to tell you why Dave: Because people need meaningful work. OK some are equipped to fill their time blogging or writing poetry, painting works of art, compiling sports statistics or creating a fine garden. But not all.
So what do you with your spare people, the ones best equipped to stack boxes or work on a factory production line? Kill them?
I don’t think that would go down well at the ballot box.
The welfare system does need reform but who, especially in the dullard world of politics, has the imagination to propose the right reforms, the ones that will solve the problem rather than just slapping a sticking plaster over it?
I’ll be surprised if it is.