Dinner with Iain Duncan Smith and Wokingham Conservatives.

On Friday evening local Conservatives met for an excellent dinner at the Sand Martins Golf Club. Our guest of honour was Iain Duncan Smith

Iain spoke to us as one who has dedicated so much time, effort, and fund raising to working with a range of charities to give people a better chance in life. He  has worked with those who help people off drugs and alcohol, help equip people for work, assist those who are disabled and and young people who need access to sport, recreation and other facilities. He was the architect of the main welfare policy, making it always worthwhile to get a job with help from the Employment service to do so.

He gave us the benefit of his experiences, told us an amusing story about his time as a senior Minister, and set out how a Labour government would be damaging to our country.


  1. Bloke
    October 9, 2023

    IDS is a fine Conservative.

  2. Richard1
    October 9, 2023

    Mark Carney, whose tenure as governor of the BoE was marked by dreadful failures in monetary policy and the politicisation of that institution, has now endorsed Rachel Reeves to be chancellor. I guess its no surprise for an eminence gris of the blob to endorse the party of statism, big government, wokery and EU-federalism. But it is a radical departure, and I would have thought, entirely improper? What a terrible appointment by Osborne he was – and at a massively inflated salary as I recall.

  3. doin it doin it
    October 9, 2023

    Wasn’t IDS the architect of UBI /universal credit
    Where we all get the same fixed sum in digicoins
    when there’s no jobs.

  4. Ian+wragg
    October 9, 2023

    The quiet man
    I liked him very much.

    1. Donna
      October 10, 2023

      I still do. He has integrity and that’s a great deal more than can be said for many MPs.

  5. RDM
    October 9, 2023

    IDS invented IR35? Universal Credit? He obviously, doesn’t understand the damage being done!

    So, it is time for Labour?

    Does he support the Self Employed, Contractors, Owner Drivers, or Family SME’s?

    When is the Reforms of IR35, Accountancy Rules, Owner Drivers, etc,…

    Supply-side Reforms? De-regulation? Competition Regulator!

    Goodbye Brexit!

    What is the point of a Conservative Party?

    1. Ukretired123
      October 9, 2023

      Reply to RDM

      Labour’s Gordon Brown hatched IR35 with his sidekick Balls and it is disinformation to suggest IDS and other nonsense. It clobbers self employed like the proverbial “Sledge hammer to crack a nut” ideal for union funded Labour.

      1. jerry
        October 10, 2023

        @Ukretired123; IR35 does NOT clobber self-employment, it clobbers FAKE self-employment that is nothing but fire and rehire via a questionable subcontract, removing most, if not all, employer tax liabilities.

        That said, I agree, IR35 had nothing to do with IDS.

    2. iain gill
      October 9, 2023

      IDS had some OK ideas, but seemingly didn’t bounce them around with someone experienced in large system change, or with an understanding of the psychology of potential benefits claimants. What he should have suggested was a massive simplification of the system, and returning incentives to “do the right thing”, but he did the opposite sadly.

      1. Berkshire Alan
        October 11, 2023


        From memory I think IDS original Idea on Universal credit was modified by others before it’s introduction, thus his original concept and some detail was modified/lost (by those who did not have a clue about human nature, or how the poor unfortunates live, or have to live) and the original thrust of the policy was changed.
        Result we have what we have got now !

  6. Lindsay+McDougall
    October 9, 2023

    Sorry to be a party pooper but benefit levels are too high and Iain Duncan-Smith is as responsible as anyone. In particular, the Universal Credit cap is too high. We should take anyone earning £20,000 pa or less out of income tax and personal NI altogether and reduce the benefit cap to £18,000 pa (£20,000 in London). To get people back to work, carrot and stick does the trick.

  7. Margaret
    October 9, 2023

    The country didn’t want a quiet man they prefer loud competition to gentle cooperation. They like show off’s who tell everyone why they are better than the next man or woman .

  8. Cliff..Wokingham.
    October 9, 2023

    Sir John,
    I would imagine IDS was an interesting speaker. He was right about one thing, a Labour Government would indeed be damaging to our country.

    Around the time IDS was in charge of The Department for Work and Pensions, there was much in the press and media about the changes to disability benefits and the misery those changes caused to so many disabled people perhaps leading to some taking their own life. The changes saved £14bn which, on reflection, seems a paultry sum in light of the money spent and wasted on Covid. Did IDS talk about those changes and did he express any regret over the misery caused by those changes or was he proud of his work?

    I do think that those who can work should do so however, it did seem at the time he and the then PM, were not supportive of disabled people who already had enough to worry about with out the hate campaign waged against them
    Consider this.. Although Sir Mo Farah could run five thousand meters with a pebble in his plimsoll, would it be reasonable to expect him to do it every day? Of course, the difference is, he could remove the pebble, a disabled person cannot remove what’s causing their problem.

    I am a lifelong Conservative supporter but, unlike far too many of your colleagues, I have a conscience.

    Reply Iain would agree with your analysis. He did a lot to boost disability benefits for those who could not work.

  9. Bert+Young
    October 9, 2023

    I have always had great respect for IDS .He is a straightforward politician with views I thoroughly endorse . I still consider him for the Conservative Leadership .

  10. Sakara Gold
    October 10, 2023

    I am sure that IDS efforts to reduce the welfare bill, by making sure benefits recipients in his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency are actively seeking work, will secure their votes at at the next election

    The polls have been consistent ever since Truss and Quarteng’s Fiscal Event caused a sterling crisis and trashed the nation’s pensions; the next election will be Labour’s to lose.

    1. IanT
      October 10, 2023

      SG, Ms Truss simply wasn’t around long enough to cause the damage you describe.

      The facts are that the Pound had been in steady decline since January 22 and any market alarm was really just a blip in it’s downward trajectory. As for ruining the “Nations” Pensions, that distinction must go to Gordon Brown, who killed off (private sector) Final Salary Pensions. Nor was Truss responsible the LDI crisis which had been flagged 18 months prior and which had not been addressed by the BoE or The Pensions Regulator. Some Trustees were wise enough to keep LDIs at barge pole distance but many were not (including the BoE’s own Pension). They were a result of ‘cheap’ money and Pensions looking for (needing) higher incomes and taking risks…
      Whilst Liz Truss may have been naive, I can see no good reason to blame her for other peoples stupidity. Frankly, Andrew Bailey should have been kicked out long ago. (Personal allegation about someone else left out Ed) So before giving Ms Truss another kicking, look deeper and wonder why some folk are so keen to use her as a scapegoat.

      1. IanT
        October 12, 2023

        My apologies Sir John – but The Pensions Regulator was clearly asleep at the wheel as far as LDIs were concerned.

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