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The Complaining Cow Meets Iain Duncan Smith #IDSfail

IDS Constituent

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:

"What is it?"

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

Discussing social media with Iain Duncan Smith and Helen Dewdney The Complaining Cow

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:

The Complaining Cow and Iain Duncan Smith discuss Food Banks


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):

The Complaining Cow & IDS Chat Benefits and Cost of Living

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…

Update 24/01/14:

(Can’t make these automatically open in another window so just right click!)

Smirking at:
Apparent laughter:

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

By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

35 replies on “The Complaining Cow Meets Iain Duncan Smith #IDSfail”

What a pathetic response. Crisis funds! Crisis loans! By the time she got through the bureaucracy she and her baby would be dead. Well done Helen. No I didn’t change my opinion. He just runs on party tramlines.

Hi Helen. Did you get the feeling he felt you were an inconvenience at all? He sounds like a typical pompous, patronising politician talking down his nose to you. A person who feels he knows what’s best for us; that we simply don’t have the intelligence to understand; so we should just be good little citizens and accept what he says. How could we possibly have the nerve to question him? And so on…

Hmmmm, I did try to talk down to him….! He got more that way towards the end when he probably realised that he was coming up to the time and could waffle on and get rid of me. Ha! I’ll be back!

I didn’t think much of him the first place but I am appalled at his coldness, standoffish-ness and general attitude to one of his constituents. You are not a journalist and you didn’t ask particularly controversial, or unreasonable, questions as a concerned constituent, tax-paying British citizen and human being. Whether you vote them in or not, and whether they are an actual cabinet minister or not, a ‘local MP’ is there to serve and represent their community. How can IDS do this when he is so far-removed from the real issues and so programmed for ‘standard response’? I though he was pompous and condescending and the woman who interrupted was even ruder. They are probably hoping you won’t keep to your suggestion of further appointments (oh how they will learn!) Constitutionally he can’t be allowed to say ‘no’ if he has a free appointment surely? Well done Helen. I knew you’d be great and, as ever, you didn’t disappoint.

Aw fanx! She was actually ruder than she sounds. A timer went off in the middle of his party waffling, she let him finish but she was incredibly rude. She tried giving me dirty looks. I think not dear. Fool. Lucky she didn’t turn to stone but I was feeling kind. I’ll be emailing him tomorrow about the emails he ignored and said he didn’t and making my next appointment. I wonder if he will be better or worse, depends on your view of what makes good youtube material?!

That anyone can still believe in the face of so much evidence that what they’re doing is right demonstrates a complete detachment from reality. IDS happily quotes a docusoap in support of his welfare reforms yet ignores the work of charities, of DWP’s own statistics, of widespread suffering in favour of tabloid nonsense and ideological bigotry. His intentions however matter little, whether it’s down to malice, incompetence or idiocy the man has helped foster an environment full of hatred, ignorance, fear, poverty, starvation, homelessness and suicide. He could be the nicest man in the world for all I care, I’d still happily see him hanging from a noose with his balls removed and shoved into his gob, the names of every victim of his policies scratched into his flesh.

Well said, my own sentiments precisely. There’s always more to replace him sadly. The only qualifications they need is to be super rich (courtesy of the poor of society), & be so far removed from reality ( & why would they not be, being rich affords these bigotted buffoons such luxury) they wouldn’t even know it if by chance it hit them one day (please hear my prayers lord!)
Oh yes & the first qualification is they have an absolute disdain & disgust for the poor, sick & disabled & elderly of our society!

It really is the fault of the people who put these buffoons into (misplaced) power. the people who by now are so disillusioned, disheartened & impoverished. What we fail to realise is that powerless though we may feel by the constant punishments dished out to us daily, is those doing the dishing are reliant on us, yes US.
You & me & the people in & on the streets. They, THE BUFFOONS need us for without us they are without power & more importantly without their high salaries!!
So let us talk no more, let us take action & out in a vote of no confidence & oust the lot of them. And if similar or worse then get into power then we oust them to. Let us rise up & say enough is enough.

Good on you Helen!

I have to agree with SicknTired and no I haven’t changed my mind. Though I’m sure you’re right and that in his warped reality he is providing solutions. The problems are getting worse, not better. Says a lot that he was unaware of the new Foodbank (and no doubt the need for it)! Disconnected from a community he should be protecting! So I’m passing a vote of no confidence, which if he read this blog probably wouldn’t surprise him. #IDSfail

Thank you 🙂 Think it absolutely appalling that he didn’t know about a food bank opening I really do

My opinions have not changed of IDS. He certainly seems to believe he knows best and will push through regardless of the devastating effect his changes are having. Your questions were very good and on target and well done for this. The matter of not laughing about foodbanks – well really? Did he see the actual footage? Cold, callous man with cold callous policies.

Thanks – do you know how far into the debate he laughs? The debate is on Youtube but no idea how far in he laughs so only have the picture

Bless you! No-one could actually get me the places where he did I was almost beginning to believe him that he wasn’t laughing at the debate!!

Will add into the main post

You get what you vote for. I don’t think you could expect anything less from a Conservative government that has no empathy or compassion for the poor and the underclass of this country.

The sad reality for me is, IDS doesn’t care about people like me, unemployed, single mum, vulnerable. His cold tone and ignorance proves that.

He just sees our circumstances but doesn’t care about how we got here, people don’t wake up and choose to live this way, circumstances change people.

Waffle of safety nets and fairness… Try being single, in low pay and trapped in a mortgage interest rates have rendered unaffordable in flat the bust has rendered half the value… yes, IDS. You do that… THEN you may speak to me of such things.

Good interview. I appreciate how difficult it must’ve been to pin down this slippery character and arrange an interview with him.

This help and support he mentions. It couldn’t involve his one of many brain children, the Work Program now could it? You know, where people are parked and left to their own devices for weeks or even months at a time as I was. And of course the limited number of people on said program who actually secure employment. And many of those who do find themselves employed for a limited period and back on the Work Program.

And let’s not ignore the types of dodgy companies such as A4e running this corrupt scheme. Which have failed time and time again under previous back to work scams such as new Dal and Flexible new Deal. All for a total cost of £5 BILLION! Great VFM, eh Smith???

Dunno but may find out when he answers the 12 questions I asked him in a follow up email….. 🙂

Brilliant and sums up the way the Tories look down on people. Their Ideology is based on Victorian values and can not exist in the 21st Century.

The UK Public have to act in 2015. The Libs have to go and be taken over by smaller left of center parties to reign in the right wing of the Labour party. How you have a right wing in a Labour party I will never know but they are in there until Labour kick them out.

This is OUR Country and people have to use their right to vote. Strategic voting in Lib and Tory marginals by smaller parties will destroy the Liberals and turn the Tories into a smaller party.

Keep trying to get back in with him even if its just to wind him up. At one point he will say on record what he thinks and that will be explosive no matter how committed or convinced he thinks he is that his polices are good.

All the best


Thanks – yes I must get back to him! He has put on record what he thinks he doesn’t care what he says and sees nothing wrong in what he says though, that’s the trouble!

It’s amazing how blind some people are in Chingford and Woodford Green, it feels like the majority of people here back him unquestioningly. Or maybe that’s just what they want us to think? Maybe there’s a huge number who constantly write and ask him to vote a certain way on bills? Only to be completely ignored as he tows the party line.

It also makes me worry, if they are politically illiterate that any looking for an alternative will vote for UKIP. Even Labour doesn’t feel like a true alternative. Their recent record suggests they’d not be radical enough to reverse these cruel policies. I’d back them to the hilt if there were more old school Labour politicians like Skinner, Benn, etc.

My vote will be for the Greens, they feel like the only party that sits in the space vacated by the original Liberal party, or the Labour of 1945. More modern examples are Podemos and Syriza. Even the SNP’s likely success in Scotland, was never about hating England, but hating the lies and spiteful self serving policies enacted by Tories and backed by Labour.

We can’t fix this with short term thinking by voting for the next best thing when it’s not much better. To make real change we have to have the courage of our convictions. Would be amazing to deliver a warning shot at both IDS and Labour, who probably think they’re the only alternative in Chingford and Woodford Green.

Sadly I think it is about the third safest seat in the country 🙁 There are a couple of wards where it isn’t Tory and he doesn’t visit (he says he does but he never comes to my door as you will have heard me to say to him!) but Woodford won’t vote him out.

God bless for this info am a person use to work and somewere down the line I got uwell ilive innewham and the day i change job center my whole life cbanve when tbsy send letter to the wrong adress they stop my benefits I challenge them tbey did it again ilive at flat 20 th

ey send it at flat 2 for me to go to resassent they stop it I felt like some one in side the job center is causing me some much stress at one points they stop my benefit and by going to investigate why before I got home I was kid nap from my car since then I am not the same I was taken to the mental hospital not knowing why so shocking and confused I ring my sister in America and she told them my sister physical problem and stress So they call a cab and send me back to where am staying from that time until now some from stratfordjobcenter and dwp making my life he’ll am 55 years old I don’t have family here they have given me sleepless night now I don’t even eat food am living fearfull every day because of lies constant be sending on letters to me all I do is tell them the truth but in steady it as been twisted for there owned benefit .why would I be health and punishing my self for£ 250 when my burning was lot more some days I don’t even have food to eat .seem like all the doors permently close on me for standing up I really need some to get to the bottom of this paper trail and misidentified of who I am.Help Stratford e15

can any one tell me the legal situation as to when the dwp have talken a claimint
to court for alledged benefit fraud and have not been sucsessfull in obtaining
a fraud conviction but still try and take a sum of monies they say they are owed
at a higher amount than agreed in court, and at a higher rate of 29 er week
starving the person out of existance.If a person has not been convicted of fraud
can the dw take the money at a higher rate claiming that your case was ubder a fraud investigation and that you were convicted of fraud even whewn you produce a lawyers letter stating clearly that you were not convicted of fraud/
please can any one tell me the legal situatiion here

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