Anyone who worries about the Tories winning the next election should be sending Ian Duncan Smith fan mail after his performance yesterday (Don’t quote me out of context on that, please). It was so callous, inept and detached from reality that if Cameron isn’t giving him a bollocking right now, he’s not doing his job properly.
A crusading single mum with searing experience of life on benefits launches a petition to have the soaring rate of food bank use in Britain debated in the of Commons. Backed by the Daily Mirror, it gets 100,000 signatures in two days. Yes, two days. You’d have to be deaf not to recognise that as a bellwether of the national mood.
After the barracking that went on at the recent Bedroom Tax debate, I wasn’t holding out much hope of Jack Monroe’s absolutely valid concerns getting a sympathetic hearing. But even I would never have predicted that the architect of the whole sorry mess at the DWP would sit on the front bench smirking – chuckling, even – while Labour MP’s told stories of people fighting over discounted veggies in Tesco to such an extent that the supermarket now routinely employs security guards to keep order.
Jack has tweeted that she’s “gutted” that Labour’s motion calling on the government to “bring forward measures to reduce dependency on food banks”, was defeated in a vote by 294 to 251, a reduced government majority of 43. And in her place I’d feel the same, but that is such a shame. Her achievement has been astonishing. Food bank use is still trending on Twitter this morning – ahead of the Ronnie Briggs death, the continuing drama of the Nigella Lawson trial and, for that matter, Christmas. On Twitter, where attention is measured in nanoseconds, that’s really quite something.
I don’t really have time to be blogging today. Like most people, I have 1001 other things to do. But I want to say it loud and clear – this is a watershed moment for the Tories. They have reckoned without the power of social media. That clip of Ian Duncan Smith smirking and shortly afterwards leaving the chamber (the lack of senior ministers present was noted by none less than the Deputy Speaker as being ‘unfortunate’) needs to be You Tubed, tweeted, and generally shouted from the rooftops. And most of all, brought out to haunt them at the next election. Gordon Brown muttering that a woman in Rochdale was “bigoted” to ask him about immigration is nothing to this.
So, well done Jack. You got them on the run. Now have a great Christmas with your little lad.