bigleyma is thinking…

Just what kind of ‘Social Justice’ does Iain Duncan Smith believe in?

with 2 comments

Is it the one whose meaning that we are accustomed to, or is it, in the Orwellian sense, its opposite?

Iain Duncan Smith surely professes to support the notion of ‘social justice’. He founded the Centre for Social Justice in 2004, is its Life Patron and served as its Chairman until joining the Cabinet in 2010. It would be more than reasonable, then, to expect him to be committed to the idea of social justice, particularly, considering his official post in government as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, in the area of work.

The International Labour Office (ILO, 2004) has identified certain principles which it asserts must be abided by in the creation of social policies in this respect if they are to be regarded as socially ‘just’. Guy Standing (2010) has picked out three which he considers most important with respect to ‘poverty alleviation’, which are as follows:

  • A policy is socially just only if it improves the security and work prospects of the least secure groups in society (the security difference principle.)
  • A policy is socially just only if it does not impose controls on some groups that are not imposed on the most free groups in society (the paternalism test principle)
  • A policy is socially just if it enhances the rights of the recipient of benefits or services, and limits the discretionary power of the providers (the rights-not-charity principle).

Since the government’s current policies could not be further from fulfilling these basic principles one has to ask what form of  ‘social justice’ it is that Mr Iain Duncan Smith believes in?

Standing, G. (2011) ‘Labour Market Policies, Poverty and Insecurity’. International Journal of Social Welfare, 20: 260-269.

International Labour Office (ILO) (2004) ‘Economic Security for a Better World’. Geneva, Switzerland, Socio-Economic Security Programme, International Labour Office. (


Written by bigleyma

January 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Iain Duncan Smith, the failed former Conservative party leader believes in any form of social justice that further enables him and his friends to retain their position of power and privilege. If this means he has to disregard the law i.e the Disability Discrimination Act, to achieve this he will. If this means he conjures up fallacies and downright lies about people he will. If this means he will actively promote the public manifestation of hate crimes against disabled people,he will.

    His belief transcends the laws that constitute the UK and it’s position in the world. His belief is ordained by a more mystical being than mere mortals. His arrogance stems from his belief that he is right.

    Iain Snowden

    February 9, 2012 at 12:08 pm

  2. I’d have much more respect for those pushing these reforms if they were just honest about the fact that they had decided that those with serious health problems were too much of a burden for others, so they should face reductions in their quality of life.

    All of this nonsense about the reforms being intended to help improve self-esteem, or help empower the sick, is so revoltingly disingenuous.

    There’s been no real public debate about these reforms or their impact, just the construction of narratives and the manipulation of language, and our press have been happy to play along with it in order to save themselves the trouble of doing any real research. I suppose that this is not a new thing, but it is still frustrating.


    February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

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