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Welfare Reform is becoming incredibly important to the Coalition

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

The Coalition hasn’t had the best of fortnights. This week’s civil disturbances shocked some ministers. It’s suddenly real, one said to me, and some now fear rolling violent action on student campuses and in other ‘cuts frontlines’ in the months ahead. Large numbers of Tory supporters are also beginning to be unhappy at the compromises made to appease the Liberal Democrats. The watering down of immigration policy. The decision not to even attempt to repatriate powers from the EU, in return for the Merkel amendment. Votes for prisoners. The cost of delaying Trident.

In this environment welfare reform is featuring prominently. The Left from Lambeth Palace to the editorial offices of The Guardian is voicing strong concerns but public opinion is squarely on Iain Duncan Smith’s side. Large majorities of the public back his moves on, for example, housing benefit reform and work requirements for the long-term jobless. In a significant intervention this week, Labour’s James Purnell, former Work & Pensions Secretary, backed the general direction of IDS’ reforms. Although Downing Street is sometimes jealous at the attention that IDS can command – no other minister outside of the Treasury is winning so many front pages – it knows that welfare is currently one of the biggest energising issues among middle England and, along with deficit reduction, is keeping the Right happy.

In terms of IDS’ flagship policy – The Universal Credit – I thoroughly recommend Peter Hoskin’s ten point guide; http://j.mp/bOmbmS.

Tim Montgomerie

 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE LAST WEEK ON CONSERVATIVEHOME

 

Paul Goodman’s profile of David Cameron at the six month point: “By training and experience, he’s a child of the Thatcher inheritance – the Major years, during which he served as a special adviser, were overshadowed by her presence – but by inclination and temperament, he’s an old-fasioned, upper-crust, One Nation Tory.” More via http://j.mp/bb35wM

Paul Goodman also profiled David Davis: “It’s a statement of the obvious to say that he’s spiky rather than fluffy.  His method of argument is rather pugnacious as well as highly rational, and there’s a touch of the lecture hall as well as the battlefield about it.  Some of those well-disposed to Davis say that the new intake doesn’t care for him, by and large, and the 2005 one voted preponderantly against him in the last leadership contest.  His older colleagues tended either to like him or loathe him.  If he has a motto, it’s probably Davis contra mundum.” More via http://j.mp/cZcDP8

Tim Loughton MP on adoption: “We have failed vulnerable children failed by their own families for too long. It is a social scandal and a false economy to allow this to continue. If that failure is being exacerbated by political correctness, excessive bureaucracy and flawed mindsets then it is incumbent on every Conservative to bring pressure to bear and make sure that every local authority hauls up the sign ‘Adoption – come on in. We’re open for business and everyone’s welcome!’” More via http://j.mp/cKPUJg

The three MEPs hoping to lead the Tory grouping in the European Parliament: http://j.mp/d5OoS6

Twelve more Tory MPs have become ministerial aides; http://j.mp/91XZYB

75% of Tory members now expect the Coalition to last; http://j.mp/d3KDM1

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