Iain Duncan Smith – Is He Pissed?

Iain Duncan Smith has revealed he is as ignorant of his own policies as he is about substance misuse with his latest outburst threatening to cut benefits from drug users and heavy drinkers.

In a sign of his increasingly bizarre and challenging behaviour IDS has decided that Jobcentre staff are qualified to judge whether someone drinks too much or takes drugs.  He wants to give officials the power to force drug or alcohol users into treatment or have benefits sanctioned.  Has the Secretary of State forgotten that his new Universal Credit system is designed to be digital by default?  Does he expect Jobcentre staff to diagnose problem drinkers over an internet connection?

Just as importantly, is he even aware that many people need specialist medical support to detox from drugs or alcohol?  That stopping drinking suddenly can kill a heavily dependent drinker?  Or is he just blathering on about a subject he knows nothing about like the out of touch pub bore he is.

Once more IDS is dreaming up schemes that are completely unworkable in practice.  According the The Guardian a DWP source has said that they can diagnose drug or alcohol dependency by the number of Crisis Loans a claimant takes out stating:  “If you are applying for that up to 10 times a year then that is a sign of a chaotic life”.

Since according to the DWP themselves, no-one can claim more than three Crisis Loans a year and then only in exceptional circumstances, it appears this diagnostic criteria is pie in the sky.  Once again DWP Officials don’t appear to know their own rules.  And given that Crisis Loans are soon to be placed in the hands of Local Authorities as opposed to Jobcentre they seem similarly unaware of their own future policies.

Iain Duncan Smith will reveal his latest plans at a speech to Alcoholic Anonymous revealing worrying signs that he may be planning to send benefit claimants to get down with their ‘higher power’ at the notorious Christian cult.  Alcoholics Anonymous may want to consider the impact of hordes of benefit claimants, many of whom will doubtless be still drinking, noising up their meetings.

Support services for people with drug or alcohol dependencies are being slashed across the country.  If Iain Duncan Smith’s plans come to fruition, the end result will not be thousands of street drinkers or heroin users finding God and becoming good little citizens.  It will simply further impoverish people who already have very little and are likely to be forced into crime, prostitution or begging as a result.  You can’t bully people out of an addiction.  Doctors, substance misuse charities and health professionals should intervene now before Iain Duncan’s Smith’s deluded rantings cause any further damage to society.

22 responses to “Iain Duncan Smith – Is He Pissed?

  1. Will no one rid us of this turbulent twat?

  2. Pingback: Suddenly Experts? Jobcentre Plus staff given powers to sanction on alcohol & drug dependency. #mhuk #ukmh « Dawn Willis sharing the News & Views of the Mentally Wealthy

  3. Is it my imagination or does this picture of him show the start of a toothbrush moustache? Seriously he needs to be reigned in or his self-destructive rants are going to take alot of innocent people down with him.

  4. Eric Greenwood

    What about those who are not christian? I havent had a drink in 3 months, so in theory they could say to me I should go to AA. or get sanctioned..

  5. We’ll get IDS to the point where he becomes like the old Bernard Manning Spitting Image sketch where he runs out of people to hate and his manager tells him to be prejudiced toward…Bernard Manning.
    “Bernard Manning? That fat cunt!”
    “IDS? That swivel eyed zealot ignoramus”

  6. before #IDS went on a “fact finding mission” to the East End to ” clean up the streets ” ….an #IDS wet dream ? [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ugkDqOy8DA]

  7. Doesn’t he realize that many people become reliant on alcohol or drugs because they’re mentally ill, can’t get the right treatment or feel unable to seek help and taking drugs or drinking blots out the pain for a while. Then they’re refused help for their mental health condition because they’re addicts but can’t get help for their addiction because of their mental health problems. There are very few centres which will treat people with both: on the whole they just pass the buck, people get worse and now they want to take their benefits away. Who, exactly, does this approach help?

  8. Alcoholic Anonymous is not a “notorious Christian cult” and the “higher power” can be anything you want it to be, e.g. gravity, your super Ego or Good Orderly Direction.

    These self-important twats who are meeting IDS are NOT representatives of AA and are breaking the Traditions.

  9. “These self-important twats who are meeting IDS are NOT representatives of AA and are breaking the Traditions.”

    you don’t think this sounds just a little bit culty?

    AA undoubtedly works for some people (so does scientology) but there is very much a case to answer about their approach: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/cult-or-cure-the-aa-backlash-1160113.html

    • >you don’t think this sounds just a little bit culty?
      Yes. I write as a dyed-in-the-wool AA member of 25 years sobriety.

      An earlier correspondent said it all –
      These self-important twats who are meeting IDS are NOT representatives of AA and are breaking the Traditions

  10. Eric Greenwood

    We shall have to disagree about AA. I just think letting untrained people diagnose and punish people with medical needs whether its self inflicted or not.. is dangerous and he is using his position to push his ideologies onto people who maybe arent able to get the support they need

    • Well said Eric. Although there is one more thing AA might want to consider. If jobcentre staff are going to be bullying people they’ve decided have got a drink problem into attending AA meetings than that is going to end the principle of anonymity.

    • … diagnose and punish people …
      Any meeting where this takes place is not an AA meeting.

      It does happen, more than I had realised until recently, but is an absolute corruption of real AA.

      An AA meeting is a bunch of drunks each sharing their own experience strength and hope to help one and other stay sober. And only that.

      As soon as anyone engages in comment, judgement, criticism, or diagnosis, gives advice or instruction, suggests superiority, elevated or advanced sobriety that meeting has fundamentally changed it’s nature and whatever it has become, it is no longer an AA meeting, regardless of posters, literature or announcements to the contrary.

  11. Johnny – I have been sober thanks to AA for 11 years. I am an atheist/agnostic, and I find no conflict in the AA recovery programme with my chosen beliefs – or lack thereof. There is much more religiosity in AA in the US, and sadly some of that’s coming here like so many other American impositions we could do without. There is a very useful site in the UK which is attempting to fight this – check out http://www.aacultwatch.org
    I worked in the drug/alcohol field for some time – the fact is there is very little treatment worth the name and what there is costs a lot of money and is aimed at drugs users. Alcoholics get very little funding – a large portion of the budget comes from the Home Office as drug use is seen as a criminal justice issue. The fact that millions of people use drugs and alcohol safely suggests that we need to rethink how we treat those who become addicted. IDS would be horrified to know how many homeless street drinkers are ex-servicemen; he probably has no idea that many people turn to drugs due to an abusive childhood and/or serious psychiatric illness or psychological problems.
    AA is not – and has never pretended to be – “treatment” – it’s a self-help group for those it suits. Many people do not want CHIT” SYSTEM – IF abstinence; 12-step fellowships do not suit everyone. IDS also has no idea that millions of people have addiction issues due to prescribed drugs; he ignores the fact that many claimants who are expected to look for work are seriously ill and may be drug dependent for very good reasons.
    If the AA group at Westminster (or the public information team who got treated to this drivel) did not point out to IDS that nobody can compel a person to attend a meeting then I will complain to AA’s general service office myself. Some groups operate a “chit” system for people on probation; if the person has to attend meeting s as part of their conditions, an AA member will sign a chit so say they turned up, but nothing more. Even that has been a cause of controversy; if someone goes to AA they have every right to remain anonymous as do the existing group members. It does AA and the person concerned no good at all to have people around who don’t want to be there. This is just more ideological, specious cant from a man who clearly has a few issues himself. AA/NA helps millions of people across the globe, and no God is required – but it’s not a cure-all for anything and will only work for those
    who want to be abstinent and find it useful. Just like anything else.
    The untrained clerks at the JC will judge; they will get it wrong; people with little will have less and they will steal or worse, and there will be no police to catch them. Services for addicts have been cut by up to 70% in some areas – we will see an increase in blood-borne diseases like HIV and HepB/C.
    The feral underclass IDS tries to scare us with didn’t really exist but now it’s growing thanks to him and his henchmen.
    Christian my arse – what would Jesus do?

    • I didn’t really intend to be mean to AA (well maybe just a little bit), but I think as you say the point is different things work for different people – AA certainly didn’t work for me.

      This is illustrated by the often quite fierce debates over treatment methods for substance use and abuse, what was a waste of time for one person was life saving for another – that’s why a one size fits all approach by IDS will be a disaster.

      Incidentally were someone to get some kind of quote from AA about their opinion of coercive attempts at treatment and whether they would be prepared to be involved then that would be all kinds of awesome😉

      • AA is unlikely to do that, Johnny.
        The traditions (a sort of guide to how AA as an organisation should behave) stipulates that it has no opinion on “outside issues” and it’s primary purpose is for its members to stay sober and help other alcoholics. There is also – as read out at every AA meeting – a statement saying that “the only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking” so there is no coercion and if people are made to attend it fies in the face of what AA is all about. If a person wants recovery, fine – if they don’t, it’s also fine; but AA is there for people who want to get better. It is pointless forcing anyone to engage with AA or a treatment service if they’re not ready and willing. It is the case in the US that courts routinely “sentence” people to attend meetings – this is something that AA in the UK has actively resisted for some time. The reason AA doesn’t get involved in all the politics surrounding treatment etc. is because its members want to keep AA anonymous, and it is the only charity in the UK that is allowed (by Act of Parliament) to refuse donations from anyone other than its members. It’s important to be self-supporting, as nobody can attempt to influence AA and it can remain politically neutral and concern itself only with its primary purpose as above. AA was founded in 1935 and has always insisted that alcoholism is a disease – in that respect its been light years ahead of any other group or support system or treatment – addiction is an illness, and the sooner people accept that, the more likely it is that we can get away from the stigma associated with it and get on with caring for people properly. While the stigma remains – and IDS is making matters worse – people will not come forward for treatment and those who want to deal with their addiction will
        not seek help. I often wonder how many people are lost to the illness because of this; all the work done over years by the 12-step fellowships, drug services, harm reductionists, and carers organisations, is being ruined. It’s very sad.

      • ‘Incidentally were someone to get some kind of quote from AA about their opinion of coercive attempts at treatment and whether they would be prepared to be involved then that would be all kinds of awesome’

        Emailed the AA General Service Office yesterday with just such a request – no reply as yet.

        I am not optimistic😦

    • Well said Epheremid, very well said, your passion does you credit.

      And when you say ‘… did not point out to IDS that nobody can compel a person to attend a meeting then I will complain to AA’s general service office myself … you won’t be alone. I shall be doing the same, and I suspect many other true AA members likewise.

      Spent yesterday evening with the illuminating, though deeply depressing, AACultWatch you mentioned.Wish I could dismiss it as the mere construction of a mountain from an insignificant molehill. In truth though I reckon they are right on the money – I’ve seen too much of the control freaks and snake-oil peddlars first hand to dismiss it. Thanks again for the link, and much respect for your fine work.

  12. Whoops – cocked up my post there – para 3 should read “many people do not want abstinence”.
    BTW – after the departure of David Nutt from the advisory panel, the replacements are all vested interests who run treatment facilities which make a LOT of money. They have no interest in long term outcomes, just abstinence.
    IDS also doesn’t know that neurophysiological research is finding some interesting stuff which suggests that addiction is a real physical illness which develops in people vulnerable to it on exposure to certain substances.
    People in the throes of addiction, however they get there, are ILL and despite rampany alcoholism in the political and medical professions, the stigma attached to it thanks to malformed opinion from the likes of IDS gets worse.
    I am sickened by this – but I am not remotely surprised.

  13. Charlotte Bates

    How can someone as remote from the real issues of addiction, and daily life for the majority of the population, even be taken seriously? He is absurd and so are his “ideas”. Bin him.

  14. Great article but why spoil it with the unfair comment about AA? Given that AA is based on the belief that alcoholism is an illness (and there is some evidence of a genetic predisposition), it would hardly support the right-wing view that those affected should be punished by having their benefits removed? I read your link to the article in the Independent but you will always find people who have had bad experiences in any kind of group (and that’s often just down to the individuals involved misinterpreting ideas and how to run these groups). Oh and Dr Oliver James is an idiot who thinks, for example, that ADHD is the result of bad parenting and ‘invented’ to sell drugs (even though for most people with ADHD these drugs actually work!). Despite what he says, the 12/16 steps are designed to address the underlying addiction and do not simply replace one addiction with another. Plus he was on that really shit Sunday afternoon TV show on Channel 4 in the 80’s with stuck-up presenters like him.

  15. Eric Greenwood

    This is what i like about here, We can discuss lots of things all linked to the state trying to control everyone, trying to find people to blame, whether its the unemployed, sick, disabled, those with drink problems, We can discuss these things calmly for the most part (lol).. I think all that post here are in it together. And if we can just spread the intelligence here to others, as i do. I pass this site to others, who passes it to others. perhaps we can make a change.

    This is all about ideological rather than the reality of the world. IDS, and Fishy Greyling, live a protected lifestyle. We on here live in the real world, we Know right from wrong.

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