Make Iain Duncan Smith live on £53 a week


On Monday, in an unintentional April Fool joke, Iain Duncan Smith claimed to be able to live on £53 a week, the amount of job-seekers allowance (after rent and bills) that some people under 25 have to survive on. This is on the day the Coalition introduced swingeing benefit cuts, which they call “reform.” Lest we forget, IDS earns a not too shabby salary as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (£1,581 a week), and “lives in the 17th-century Buckinghamshire manor his wife’s family has owned for six generations.”

A petition for IDS to live on £53 a week was launched almost immediately. Predictably, IDS called this a stunt, after the petition went viral. There were 370,806 signatures at the time of writing. In fact, the stunt was his own claim to be able to live on this risible amount. It’s an insult. I know because I did attempt to live on £53 a week for several months, as a glitch in my pension credit got ever so slowly sorted out. Despite extreme penny-pinching, I was overdrawn every week, with all the attendant bank fees. By the time it was resolved, I was over £300 overdrawn. The DWP had parked my file somewhere and forgotten about it, so at the end I got a backdated lump sum that covered the overdraft. I hate to think what would have happened if I did not own my flat.

Please consider adding your own signature to the petition. Let’s shame the bastard, if that’s possible, by getting it into six figures.


Thank you. There’s a widget on the sidebar so you can see how the count is going.

Slavic Dawn

Little Englanders are much exercised by the possibility that the combined working populations of  Romania and Bulgaria, 29 million work-shy, benefits-scrounging immigrants, will descend on dear old Blighty in 2014. This is when the perfidious EU lifts restrictions on movement between the 25 member states.

The Coalition has hearkened unto its heartland (the Daily Mail) and produced an action plan – negative ads in Romania and Bulgaria emphasising the downsides of life in the UK. You would have thought that triple-dip recession, an economically illiterate government demonising immigrants and the poor, and swingeing cuts to social services, would do the trick. Romanians and Bulgarians must be desperate to come here.

But enough carping. As a patriotic Brit, I’m willing to do my bit in repelling the Eastern Hordes. To that end I made a poster for the ad campaign, and here it is:

Keep Out!

What do you think? I’m not 100% convinced about the caption, but the image scares the crap out of me, and I live here. Suggestions are welcome as long as I agree with them, and there might be a prize for the best one. No, really, there won’t be a prize, though the winners will get a mention. Shall we say a week?

Update: Just changed the caption to something I like a lot more.