For all its good points, democracy has its weaknesses. One is the fact that despite supposed power of the people to make informed choices, some surprisingly inept people get very close to getting their hands on the levers of power. Whatever convinced John Prescott that he could actually improve the state of the nation is beyond me, and how he actually came to be running the government for a few weeks at a time is now a historical fact that will baffle future researchers.
But sadly, there is not much more that can be said about IDS. He has a military bearing that endears him to certain Conservative Party members, and it has to be said that he is well meaning and public spirited, but some times the quiet man really ought to shut up.
A prime example came on the BBC this morning. The usual interrogation of Conservative ministers occurred, this time with Evan Davies quizzing the former nearly prime minister (well probably not that close) about how many families would be reduced to poverty by today's reduction in welfare benefits.
After a minute or so of bluster that sounded like evasion from IDS, the BBC man just raised his voice, but for the benefit of both parties here is the answer.
The standard definition of poverty, actually relative poverty, is a household income equal to 60% of the median income or below. The welfare changes propose to cap benefits at £26,000 after tax which is the equivalent of somewhere around £32,000-35,000 ( the exact figure depends on who you listen to). £35,000 is about 50% more than the mean household income, which in turn is higher than than the median, which is obviously higher than 60% of the median income.
So the net result is than none of the families affected by the cap is anywhere near the poverty threshold.