SKETCH: Work and Pensions and Underpants

Tory welfare reform, or the Universal Credit, is a noble attempt to untangle the spaghetti of the benefit system, make work pay, reverse the statistical fiddling of getting people off the unemployment roll and onto the disability (c Mrs T).

The drawback – it’s based on a new, revolutionary, universal computer system.

And so it won’t work.

Iain Duncan Smith, the noble noodle who conceived it all, cried: “I’ll take no lessons from the party opposite on failed computer systems!”

If only he had!

It’s a running sore for Labour to pour salt in, week by week and month by month. But how conspicuously they lack the steady forensic malevolence to do so.

Rachel Reeves smirked in her new voice (she has full stops after most words, like a primitive texting device). She asked if any part of the DWP did actually work. Not a question a Secretary of State even needs to avoid.

Chris Bryant stood up saying, “Dear, dear, DEAR! No, it doesn’t, no, it doesn’t, I’ll tell you what it does say here. It hasn’t happened, has it? It hasn’t happened!”

I shall be denounced for homophobia, no doubt, but a Frankie Howerd impression isn’t the way to abash this particular Secretary of State.

Duncan Smith will also be denounced for homophobia as he advised him to pipe down for fear that he’d “jump out of his underpants”.

It’s not exactly Corinthian, is it.

How did we get here? As Evan Davies might say: “It’s looking increasingly likely that it’s the result of global warming.”

And if that’s far-fetched, the Prime Minister managed to get Len McCluskey into his statement on the Commonwealth Heads of Government.




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