Lucky old me to have Iain Duncan Smith as my MP! As a constituent of his I thought I’d go and have a chat. Well, poor old IDS he does get a bad press! It’s known that I like to support the underdog so thought I’d give him a chance to put across how much he knows about the area for which he is an MP. He should know it well, he’s been MP since 1992 in Chingford and 1997 someone somewhere redrew the boundaries and he got Woodford Green as well. Does he visit often? (He doesn’t live in Chingford he lives here.) I thought I’d find out what he thinks about how people are affected by benefit reforms and cost of living rises.
Booking a surgery with IDS
So, I thought I’d go see him. Well why not? I went to see him as a concerned human being about my fellow man. I emailed him, 4 emails actually (that will be another story coming soon) and after 8 working days I got an email to ask if I could make a surgery on Friday. I asked her where it was and if I could record it. I was told that I could ask this at the surgery. Bit difficult when I didn’t know where the surgery was. I also was very very good and didn’t point out that there are no apostrophes in the words “Tuesdays” and “Thursdays” and those of you who know me and follow this blog know just how kind of me that was!
Start of the surgery with IDS
Now, I have a new little gift for people when I meet them as The Complaining Cow. I thought I’d go bearing a present for IDS. Oh come on, how many presents do you think IDS gets from normal people? Anyway, It’s this:
If you got this from someone what would you say? I asked on my Facebook page and generally, it was “Thank you”, and lots of “Clever idea”. “Tell me about what you do” sort of things. So, given that it is a retro milk bottle (remember those milk bottles we had in school before Thatcher the Milk Snatcher?) with sweets in it and it clearly has a business card on it you’d think he would say something along the lines of “This is your business?” “Is this you?” “This looks interesting” Nope.
He looked at it very suspiciously and said “What is it?” I explained. Our Iain did then say “Oh interesting, hope it works well for you, it’s what we need for the economy more people taking on challenges and risks” Did he Hell, he said nothing although there was a “Thank you”.
The meeting with IDS
So, I had my long long list. A few pages in fact, but sadly didn’t get very far. 15 minutes is a very short time you know. BUT! I have not been banned from going back and making regular appointments 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 So back I will go. Mind you if he see this and hears some of the clips he might decided against it, although as my MP I’m not sure he can do that?
So, you want to know what he said don’t you? Ok, after talking about the delay in responding to me I sort of mentioned social media:
Talking social media with dinosaur IDS
Catch the part about emailing being as quick as tweeting? I’d already told him it had taken 8 working days for his office to respond to me. Watch out for a follow up post there were FOIs in them there emails which as far as I know haven’t been forwarded….
I asked him about Foodbanks:
Man of the people “..talks to lots of people from churches and stuff like that” What more do you want from him?! More positive stuff about IDS? Hmm well before that attempt, here is an update 22/01/04 statement from Chris Mould from Trussell Trust:
‘We have asked Iain Duncan Smith to meet with us and would welcome the opportunity to speak to him.
We are keen to open a dialogue with DWP. We have been asking to meet them for some time because the DWP is the key department with the power to help a significant proportion of the people we meet at our foodbanks.’
Also, as far as we know, we are unaware of Iain Duncan Smith asking us about foodbanks in Chingford. We will look into this further but cannot find a record of this at the moment”.
Oh, oh. Hmmm. IDS says he asked Trussell Trust if it was going to open a food bank in his constituency. It says they have no record. Someone somewhere is possibly telling porkies. I wonder which it is. Or maybe Trussell Trust will find it. I think they’d know though…..!
Talking benefits with IDS
I do think that he actually believes what he is doing is right. He thinks he is doing good. I’m not saying he IS! I’m saying he believes he is. Hear for yourself where we chat about benefits and the cost of living (and no, I didn’t put that laughter in):
See what I mean? He believes what he says doesn’t he? “Generous benefit” “Most people get a fair deal.” The exemptions he mentions however are limited. No exemption is made for the equipment that might be needed by someone disabled for example. But I ran out of time…
(Can’t make these automatically open in another window so just right click!)
Was IDS set up to make a complete hash?
Now, I wonder if poor old IDS is being set up by Camoron. (Not a typo). Do you think he’s making IDS do all the dirty stuff then right near the election sack him and say “Look I got rid of him, we’ll make changes after his mess” as a crack at trying to get back into power? Aw poor old IDS.
Look, I didn’t vote him in, never have so don’t go pointing the finger at me! It is sadly though one of the safest seats in the country or I’d think about standing against him as an Independent with the name “Z None of the Above Please”. Not that I have the will, the inclination, the time, the campaign, the support or the money! Love to see someone give him a run for his money though, don’t think he has ever gone to a single house at election time. I’ve been ready for him but my vote isn’t important to him.
So, have you changed your opinion of the man? Did you think he was different talking to a constituent rather than a journalist? Did you agree with anything? Can you see another side?
Went and had another go Round 2 The Complaining Cow Meets IDS