ColumnistsRichard Sullivan

We must resist these grinning executioners

Iain Duncan Smith
Iain Duncan Smith

The sight of Iain Duncan Smith celebrating Tory savagery against the less well off encapsulated the brutality of this government.

He could barely contain himself, had there been rafters within easy reach he would, no doubt, have been swinging from them. 

Fists clenched, and grinning from ear to ear,  his delight at having a hand in the great Tory con trick was complete.

A few feet away Osborne the Callous was plunging the sword deeper in the breasts of the working poor, the disabled and unemployed.

And to think these are the boys the DUP shamelessly wooed and cuddled, but such was the brutality of the assault it even shocked aspiring blues Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson.

In a considered and deliberate act the millionaire Boy George took aim at the under 25s, students, nurses, teachers and parents thinking of having more than two children.

But perhaps the most cruel cut of all was his attempt to rebrand the minimum wage as a ‘living wage’ - £7.20 an hour cannot be described as a  living wage in any circumstances and his pledge to increase it to a whopping £9 by 2020 - that’s  40p a year, is beyond cynical.

His ‘generosity’ is more than offset by massive cuts to tax credits will mean full time workers on the minimum wage will be more than £800 a year worse off.

By abolishing student grants and morphing them into the already discredited and chaotic student loan system he has created another revenue stream for the government heaping millions more debt on our graduates.

The central plank to this manifesto of misery is the shameful cap on benefits. 

Emboldened by an obedient House of Commons he happily drove a coach and horses through his pre-election promise of cutting the limit from £26k to £23k by breezily slashing it to £20k outside London.

And that is where Osborne the Callous took his cruelty to a new level – there is no arguable logic to the benefits cap, it only serves to satisfy the bitter nasty Tory rhetoric that has branded the poor and disadvantaged as spongers.

By this stage IDS needed oxygen such was his excitement.

But now it’s over to Stormont. They’re off the hook with tax credits as that is not a devolved matter but they face big decisions over the benefit cap and the abolition of student grants.

The Assembly has nothing to lose, they have resisted Osborne’s earlier round of cuts. To endorse them now would open Northern Ireland to double the misery.

No, we must continue to resist.