The Brexit debate stew bubbled over the top this weekend with the surprise resignation of UK’s eurosceptic pension minister, Iain Duncan Smith.
Smith’s resignation was carefully timed to bring the maximum amount of pain to prime minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne.
Smith’s Resignation Letter blasted Cameron and Osborne for forcing him to balance pension cuts on the backs of the poor, sparing the wealthy.
“You are aware that I believe the cuts would have been even fairer to younger families and people of working age is we had been willing to reduce some of the benefits given to better-off pensioners … The latest changes to benefits to the disabled and the context in which they have been made are a compromise too far. I am unable to watch passively whilst certain policies are enacted in order to meet fiscal self imposed restraints … It is therefore with enormous regret that I have decided to resign,” said Smith.
The Financial Times reports UK Minister Duncan Smith’s Departure Sows Political Chaos.
When Iain Duncan Smith quit as Britain’s pensions minister on Friday, it was perhaps the most explosive resignation in the country’s politics for more than 25 years.
His exit, marked by his brutal criticism of the Conservative party’s leadership, not only weakened the government but cast a spotlight on what some members fear is a looming civil war within the ruling party ahead of the UK’s momentous June 23 referendum on the country’s EU membership.
Writing for the Financial Times, Bruce Anderson, a political commentator, described Mr Duncan Smith’s departure as not just a resignation but a suicide bombing.
Mr Duncan Smith’s resignation letter accused Mr Osborne, who prides himself as a political strategist adept at winning the centre ground, of indifference to the plight of the poor and putting politics before the good of the country.
On Sunday he added that the Budget, which originally contained cuts to disability benefits even as it cut capital gains tax, was “deeply unfair”.
Mr Duncan Smith’s attack may have been all the more effective because he hails from the party’s right. One Tory minister said: “Osborne is dead in the water even without the Budget.”
It may now be even more difficult for the chancellor to attempt further radical welfare cuts, leaving a £4bn hole in his budget as he attempts to balance the books by 2020 in line with his promise to provide a fiscal surplus by that date.
Broken Social Contract
This outpouring of rage is yet another example of the “Broken Social Contract””
Anger at the establishment explains the Donald Trump phenomenon, Marine LePen in France, Beppe Grillo in Italy, and Merkel’s Dramatic Setback at Hands of AfD in German Regional Elections.
Is this the year the lid blows off the simmering social pot in multiple countries simultaneously?
Mike “Mish” Shedlock