Sunday, 20 March 2016

I don't care about IDS's resignation

For what it's worth, I think I have a well honed nose for disingenuous bullshit and having watched an IDS interview what I'm hearing is little linguistic flourishes learned from the PM that have become fashionable in Westminster speak - designed to make said individual sound more genuine - when in fact from the lips of the PM have the precise opposite effect - and I believe IDS is much the same.

What I really think this resignation is about is his agenda being overruled in cabinet once too often. This is a man who has had his brief snatched away from him and he is no longer listened to. It will be the treasury office that has done it to him on the instructions of Osborne - in that oh-so Westminster way of knifing people in the back and going round the houses rather than just directly telling someone what you're doing to them.

Knowing that a resignation would damage Osborne, this is what IDS has done as an act of revenge - and were I in his shoes I would done the same. But this isn't a principled move - not least when IDS would not hesitate to shaft his own people in exactly the same way.

I think he does care about welfare reforms, probably for the same reasons I do, but what we are seeing here is the result of a power struggle that IDS lost and was faced with spending the rest of his term in position being told what to do by the treasury and taking the fall for it. Very few would put up with that unless they were only really in it for the title and the fame.

The media is now asking whether this hurts Osborne's leadership bid. I don't honestly know and I seriously don't care. What I do detest is the inherent presumption that chancellors are entitled to a crack of the whip following a lead run.

Along with Cameron's announcement to stand down before the next general election I very much get the feeling that the office of Prime Minister is not the top job and is in fact a gateway job to an elite world of money and considerably more power - which is why they line their friends up for the job - and yes I do think Boris Johnson wants in every bit as much as Osborne. It's the only reason any of that little club entered politics at all.

Boris Johnson thinks coming out for Brexit is his best ticket and IDS's resignation is very much window of opportunity. I do not for a moment think that Boris Johnson is in any way sincere about leaving the EU and that his only real concern is making it through the door of Number Ten.

What this categorically isn't is a principled stand on the EU because if it was he would have said so. If any of these Tories were in any way serious about leaving they would be damaging the prime minister on his bogus reforms and his lies to parliament. Not one single minister has done this. That would be the only principled course of action and the only possible action that would demonstrate a sincere desire to leave the EU that puts the issue before the fate of the Conservative Party.

This, Duncan-Smith's resignation matters not one jot to me because I couldn't give a tinker's damn who the next leader of the Tory party is or indeed who the next prime minister is - because if we don't end up leaving the EU then it seriously doesn't matter at all. We'll still be stuck in the same dismal, corrosive deadlock where the levers of power inside the high offices of state are not actually attached to anything.

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