Beware the IDS of March

19 Mar 2016 at 08:28

It was inevitable that there would be a Cabinet Brexit Martyr. The intriguing question was who and when. My money was on Grayling as he knows he is finished. But that was an error of judgement on my part. I had forgotten just how much they want to damage the credibility of Cameron and Osborne. The strategy is simple. Turn the leading lights of REMAIN into untrustworthy, uncaring villains who don’t give a damn about the most vulnerable and you undermine the whole case for a reformed EU. It’s simple and obvious. I just wished that I had realised it before the sudden departure of IDS. He is a good and caring man, but his whole life is viewed through the prism of Brussels. Nothing is more important than our exit.

His dramatic move was clearly planned well in advance. An announcement just before 9pm warms the public up for the ten 0’Clock news. Number 10 and the Treasury would still be in shock and desperate to have a line to take, but not in time to take away the sting. The fight back has already begun. The Sunday’s will be filled with plots, secret meetings, briefings and counter briefings. Un named sources will claim that this was planned weeks ago. And the best story will be from Simon Walters in the Mail on Sunday.

This is not a resignation about benefit cuts and if Number 10 doesn’t have this embedded within the public mind within 48 hours then they will be in serious trouble. The truth of the matter was that IDS Number 10 and the Treasury had agreed how the plans for PIP were going to be implemented. The devil was going to be in the detail hence the consultation and the Cameron/Morgan comments effectively saying watch this space. That is now in tatters. The carefully planned implementation which the press have been teased with will now look like a panic stricken U turn. It is bad but not disastrous. It can be managed. But the gloves will have to come off. The Breziteers will stop at nothing to get us out of the EU. If it means damaging the the government, jobs, the economy, it is a price worth paying. And if Osborne is denied the leadership, that is an added bonus. But alas. Poor Bozo is out of the country. I would have imagined that the television crews have just landed. It will be interesting to see whether he supports the welfare changes or not. The poor man is going to have to make a decision which does not seem ill informed or opportunistic. Well, best we forget about that then.

So what happens to George? The press will be screaming for his head. They won’t get it. He must hunker down and come out fighting. These reforms have got to be properly sold or abandoned. The public are unforgiving at what they perceive is unfairness. The government must take the moral high ground very quickly. To rely on the hopeless incompetence of Labour would be a mortal error. Handled properly this could make their back benchers cheer again. Beware the IDS of March.