Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Workers and Shirkers: Jesus, okay, Iain Duncan Smith Wept.

with 50 comments

Bringing the discussion into the here and now … Workers Or Shirkers? Ian Hislop’s Victorian Benefits.

Ipswich Unemployed Action is in two minds about watching this documentary tonight: Workers and Shirkers.

Thursday 7 April. 8.00pm-9.00pm. BBC TWO

Ian Hislop’s entertaining and provocative look at Victorian attitudes to the poor sheds a sharp light on today: controversial benefits cuts, anxieties about scroungers, sensational newspaper reports, arguments about who does and doesn’t deserve welfare – it’s all there!

Ian explores the views of five colourful individuals whose Victorian attitudes remain incredibly resonant. Pioneer of the workhouse Edwin Chadwick feared that hand-outs would lead to scrounging and sought to make sure that workers were always better-off than the unemployed. That sounds fair – but was his solution simply too unkind?

James Greenwood, Britain’s first undercover reporter, made poverty a cause célèbre – but is that kind of journalism voyeuristic?

Helen Bosanquet, an early social worker, believed that poverty was caused by ‘bad character’ – that some people simply more deserving than others. Bosanquet came to blows with Beatrice Webb, who took a more economic view of the causes of poverty, leading her to argue for the first foundations of the welfare state.

Finally, even if we want to be generous, are there limits on how much we can afford to help? That dilemma faced Margaret Bondfield, Britain’s first female cabinet minister who, despite her impeccable Labour credentials, advocated controversial welfare cuts in the 1930s, a time of national austerity.

Wrestling with these questions with his customary mix of light touch and big ideas, Ian also has revealing conversations with Iain Duncan Smith (former Secretary of State of Work and Pensions), Deirdre Kelly (also known as ‘White Dee’, famous for featuring in Benefits Street), Owen Jones and Tristram Hunt MP.

The one mind says, Hislop is bound to say something interesting, as are most of his interviewees, and it would be pleasant to see Iain Duncan SMith put on a snivel.

The other points out that the war of the United Federation of Planets against the Dominion and those bastard Cardassians is at a crucial point. Sisko is about to undertake a dangerous mission to  take back Deep Space Nine and keep the minefield in the wormhole (CBS Action).

Hard choices have to be made.

At the moment it looks as if the cause of the Deep Space Nine Resistance looks like winning.

In which case we will rely on the Newshounds who comment on the Blog to report back from the Workers and Shirkers front.

Ian Hislop says former work and pensions secretary broke down during filming of new Workers or Shirkers documentary.

Iain Duncan Smith broke down and wept about the plight of a single mother during a television interview months before he quit as work and pensions minister.

The Private Eye editor Ian Hislop said Duncan Smith started to cry during an interview last December for a documentary on Victorian attitudes to poverty. “It was a curious thing,” he told the Radio Times. “IDS actually broke down. He wept in front of me. It was a very extraordinary moment.”


Written by Andrew Coates

April 7, 2016 at 3:10 pm

50 Responses

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  1. Crocodile tears from IDS. Someone who sat there resolute as these appalling cuts were made, and people driven into destitution and despair. All based on the flawed ideology of his wretched Centre For Social Justice. It is a pity he didn’t show some mercy years ago.

    Jeff Smith

    April 7, 2016 at 4:47 pm

  2. According to an article in Tuesday’s Daily Mail, Hislop will be taking tea with White Dee and is shocked to learn that she puts the sugar in the cup first.

    Pass the smelling salts, I think I’m having a fit of the vapours.

    jj joop

    April 7, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    • Does she put milk in first?

      That is the crucial question.

      Andrew Coates

      April 8, 2016 at 10:17 am

  3. George “Iain Duncan” Smith Wept crocodile tears- did he? Really?

    h/t to Refutted for both links:



    I suspect that The EC (Equality Commission) has had concerns for some time – it explains why when I called them about my situation they said to keep in touch (and yes, things have got way more interesting since then if anyone’s read all my previous posts about my ‘Adventures’ in Sanction Land Gameshow & now the handling of the SAR & the information contained within it/or not, i.e. lost and unfindable – supposedly)


    April 7, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    • Lord [Chris] Holmes EHRC’s disability commissioner, said: “Our new business plan for 2016-17 puts a strengthened focus on improving disabled people’s lives so that they can participate fully in society. –

      We know what the means.

      “In the coming year, we will be starting a number of projects that will focus on removing barriers disabled people face in their day to day life.-

      That too – the work and health programme, with it’s therapy & sancions.


      April 7, 2016 at 8:39 pm

  4. Its a pity he didn’t weep for all those who have suffered everyday by the treatment of this tyrant government.


    April 7, 2016 at 6:47 pm

  5. Panama Papers & CammiePiggie Snout in Trough….

    h/t: unemploymentmovement

    And News Just in:



    April 7, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    • Meanwhile

      Tories at war over EU ‘propaganda’ leaflet as MPs threaten to ‘grind Government to a halt’ in protest at David Cameron


      April 7, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    • MPs have demanded David Cameron’s immediate resignation, after being “less than 100% honest” about profiting from his father’s offshore fund.



      April 7, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      • enigma

        Good post, I love the way he insisted Reporters wear a Bright Yellow Badge [shades of how the Jews were treated] so they could be spotted from a good distance, and even then went as far as to hide behind a huge Iron Gate with a Red Stop Light on it. Class.


        But one cheeky student managed to get a cheeky question in during the session at Exeter University.

        He was ambushed by a young man who asked him about working with other EU member states to combat tax avoidance, because “obviously that’s something you’ve got some personal experience of.”



        April 7, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      • How much would anyone bet that there will be more serious revelations during the anti-corruption summit, to be hosted in London on May 12th?

        I know its what I would do to really pile on the pressure, current drip feed like now, then the big bang then which will force real change.

        I think I’ll get some popcorn in for then.


        April 7, 2016 at 10:28 pm

  6. The Panama Papers prove it: we can afford a universal basic income.

    We should all be able to agree: no one should be poor in a nation as wealthy as the US. Yet nearly 15% of Americans live below the poverty line. Perhaps one of the best solutions is also one of the oldest and simplest ideas: everyone should be guaranteed a small income, free from conditions.

    Called a universal basic income by supporters, the idea has has attracted support throughout American history, from Thomas Paine to Martin Luther King Jr. But it has also faced unending criticism for one particular reason: the advocates of “austerity” say we simply can’t afford it – or any other dramatic spending on social security.

    That argument dissolved this week with the release of the Panama Papers, which reveal the elaborate methods used by the wealthy to avoid paying back the societies that helped them to gain their wealth in the first place.



    April 7, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    • enigma

      But, but that would mean people could say fuck off to the Peon/Poor creating little shits in charge, they’ll never allow that as it means loss of privalage, power over us.

      Surely we all like being labelled as Mice riddled with ADHD, Workless, Useless, Not Agreeable, Baby Producing Men and 1 or two women [using American Data, according to Dr A Prik that is].

      We are all in it together after all, and its all OUR fault and not theirs, our betters who Full Steamed onto the Rocks/Iceberg.


      April 7, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      • I know what you mean Gazza, I know many people would like it. not in our lifetime.


        April 7, 2016 at 9:34 pm

  7. Hislop supports the workers, meanwhile as many have said it’s back to the 30’s.


    April 7, 2016 at 8:32 pm

  8. Abuse to claimants by 3rd party staff hired by the DWP & DWP.



    April 7, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    • I would class being handed a Job by my CWP provider that Turns out to be for a employer who if [get your head around this one] you’re good they push you out, and if you don’t meet targets they harrass you, did I mention that the pay starts below the living wage? Oh and its Zero Hour, as Abuse.


      April 7, 2016 at 9:54 pm

  9. Unpaid chores.- work.

    Transport, care for family and friends, and volunteering are all included in the so-called household satellite account, calculated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

    With a total value of just over £1 trillion in 2014 – that is the equivalent of unpaid work valued at £38,162 per UK household over the course of a year.

    The ONS says the calculations are important because they show the value of activity carried out unpaid by householders, which could have been contracted to the market.



    April 7, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    • Don’t tell me they’re going to charge me, for doing me own housework. Come to think of it, I’ll be
      OK on that one. 🙂

      We all work hard on here.

      Another Fine Recession

      April 7, 2016 at 10:52 pm

  10. Youngsters not at university ‘overlooked’, say Lords.

    Young people who do not go to university are “overlooked and left behind”, says a report by the House of Lords social mobility committee.


    Why is that –

    The UK and Scottish Governments of all political creeds have not developed a sustainable and proactive industrial strategy over the last twenty years (and more). The current crisis engulfing our nation’s steel industry has illuminated a number of these structural and strategic weaknesses in our economy.

    If we take a look more closely at the nation’s skills and apprenticeships programmes then you begin to understand some of the reasons for this inchoate approach.

    View story at Medium.com


    April 8, 2016 at 10:04 am

  11. Andrew Coates

    April 8, 2016 at 11:11 am

  12. Equality watchdog to mirror UN inquiry into DWP’s rights violations

    The equality watchdog is to commission a major piece of research into whether the government’s welfare reforms have harmed the human rights of disabled people and other minority groups.



    April 8, 2016 at 11:29 am

  13. Is Universal Credit doomed to fail?

    Later this month Universal Credit will finally roll across the country, but the Department of Work and Pensions is being challenged in court to release files about its management in the early days.

    Is the controversial new system working and might there be problems ahead?



    April 8, 2016 at 12:18 pm

  14. OT: DWP UC Postal Lottery Gameshow, coming to a City near you… Yes I mean You Workless There!

    h/t : Refutted


    robverco posted:

    UC helpline advised us to send proof of housing costs to:

    Freepost DWP
    UC Live

    No address, no postcode.

    [ME: about as much as we would expect from DWP isn’t it]

    Andrew Dutton:

    ‘UC Live’ sounds like a nauseatingly upbeat TV show.

    “So, Kevin, can YOU name all the jobs on the conveyor belt? And remember, failure means loss of benefit!”

    “Only a 91 day sanction, diddnee do wellllll?”


    April 8, 2016 at 12:37 pm

  15. Resign David Cameron: Calls for PM to go snowball ahead of Downing Street Protest.

    Furious demands for the resignation of David Cameron grew overnight, following his sensational admission that he had £30,000 stashed away in his Dad’s tax haven.

    The hashtag #ResignCameron is the number one trend on Twitter at the time of writing, with MPs, celebrities and furious Brits calling for the PM to step down.

    Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden led the charge last night, within hours of the Prime Minister coming clean about the offshore trust.

    And support for a protest planned for Saturday outside Downing Street is gaining momentum.

    Here’s how it developed, and who’s calling for David Cameron to go.



    April 8, 2016 at 1:29 pm

  16. Mossack Fonseca: inside the firm that helps the super-rich hide their money.

    As Panama Papers shine light on offshore world, Luke Harding takes a closer look at company exploiting tropical tax havens.



    April 8, 2016 at 1:40 pm

  17. superted and every one else:


    “mas locin left an annotation ()

    You state it is not mandatory to sign health @ safety and sign in sheets. However, I have experienced a very different situation. I have been subjected to multiple consecutive sanctions for seven months and repeatedly harassed, bullied and intimidated for refusing to sign these documents on the WP despite willing to fully participate at all times.

    Matters became very nasty with JCP/WP when only a few months before I had completed WP I was mandated to suddenly sign in on health @ safety grounds. At the first of several appeals for the same reason, the judge would not listen to me when I told him I did not legally have to sign ANY documents the WP put in front of me.

    The judge’s reason to dismiss my appeal was on the grounds I HAD to legally sign the documents in order to comply with the landlord of the building’s insurance and health and safety obligations and where the WP was taking place!

    There is NOTHING here or anywhere else to state this as I have undertaken a vast amount of research and am well aware of Peter Baker’s upheld appeal for the SAME reason! Neither have I been provided with any proof of any insurance policy by DWP/WP/judges – just told this is the law and raises alarm bells! (no pun intended!!!)

    The unheard identical appeals have dragged on for over two years.

    Anyone else any remote experience of this anomaly and error of law? I’d be very grateful for any comments asap. Thanks.”


    jj joop

    April 8, 2016 at 2:57 pm

  18. Forgot to say mas locin posted this annotation on whatdotheyknow.com today

    jj joop

    April 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    • should have signed in but use a different name like super ted or S-T 😉 its not a provider contract that you are signing and i can call my self what i want at the end of the day.

      only reason i said not to sign ur real sig is that it stops them lifting it for there own paper work contracts.

      sounds like they was out to get him any way they could think off and using the above is just a joke tbh.


      April 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm

  19. UC, you’ve been laid off from your job, you have claimed UC, first interview (UC) you state you have been laid off, because you were, ( you didn’t give consent to DWP – to phone your ex employer) 4 weeks later you receive a letter stating “help us decide about your sanction”
    “you stated that your previous employment ended due to being laid off, but there’s still some more info we need from you, this will help us decide weather you lose any of your payment”

    Qs” “when did your job end, what were the reasons why you were laid off, were you told that the job was due to end when it did, before you took the job were told that it was a temp contract, if not – why did the job end when it did”.

    “List any extra documents your sending and why they prove your answers”

    “If we don’t have this info by…. your likely to lose some or all of your universal credit payment for a time”

    “Deciding weather you’ll get a sanction”.- once we have this info we’ll let you know what we decide, this will normally take less than a month”


    April 8, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    • enigma

      I am laughing in disbelief at this – this means the 6 week wait becomes, what looks on the outside to be ten weeks in length. A person could starve to death and be long buried in that time…


      April 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm

      • Gazza Very true, listen people – volunteer in your local food bank, it’s the best place to be in 2016 😜


        April 8, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      • This of course means if you’re on a Zero Hours Contract you will be totally borked

        DWP Robot to Prospective Claimant:

        Q – why were you let go?
        A – Don’t know, was just called and told after no work for 4 weeks already that no prospect for next week or so, I am down to my last 5 pounds
        Q – You must supply an answer as to why you are unable to work
        A – But I’ve just explained in writing I cannot get the information, its a Zero Hours Contract for gods sake…
        Q – As you are unable to provide proof of why you left your job, a sanction doubt is raised, you should hear back from us in a month or so….
        A – But I’m starving!!!
        AD Infiamitum


        April 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm

      • Gazza, in my case I have proof on paper, but the fact that you receive this letter just before you should receive payment tells you something. why did it take 4 weeks after claiming.


        April 8, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      • enigma

        I will say it out loud:

        To Starve you into work, even if it kills you.

        As for why late? Why be early when you can be late and apply even more pressure?


        April 8, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      • Gazza, it’s yet another threat of your benefits being stopped, the letter states you can phone to tell them the info – how do you prove you were laid off.


        April 8, 2016 at 6:26 pm

      • So this is what happens if you don’t sign the paperwork – letting DWP phone your ex employer, even though you don’t have to sign it so …………….


        April 8, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      • The DWP want proof, no matter what.


        April 8, 2016 at 7:30 pm

  20. in other news

    Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change

    For more than a week, vast nocturnal gatherings have spread across France in a citizen-led movement that has rattled the government



    April 8, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    • Andrew Coates

      April 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      • It’s always good to see people fighting a system which is not in the best interests of the majority of human beings.

        I see Cameron is now trying to divert attention away from his tax avoidance. – it doesn’t work for me & won’t work for millions of others.


        April 9, 2016 at 12:20 pm

  21. CassetteBoy has launched its take on the Snooper’s Charter – and it pulls absolutely no punches, as you’d expect.


    April 8, 2016 at 10:15 pm

  22. Leaked report details proposals suggesting Department for Business, Innovation and Skills could cut up to 4,103 jobs.

    The Conservative cabinet minister in charge of trying to save jobs in the steel industry is considering plans to cut up to 4,000 employees in his own department and its agencies, and slash costs even more deeply than George Osborne’s austerity requires, according to official leaked documents.

    The leak also reveals how BIS is planning major cost-cutting in agencies that support apprenticeships, with plans to shut down the Commission for Employment and Skills entirely and reduce staff at the Skills Funding Agency by 40%.



    April 9, 2016 at 7:01 pm

  23. lol at the autistc/aspie guy on ‘Unemployable Me’. He would apply for ONE job at a time then wait until he received a reply before applying for the next one.


    April 10, 2016 at 11:38 am

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