Following yesterday’s welcome from The Sun, this morning’s Daily Mail gives a very strong endorsement of yesterday’s Breakdown Britain report from Iain Duncan Smith’s social justice policy group. In a special leading article it declares:
"For the best part of two decades (often as a lonely
voice) this paper has consistently argued that the single greatest
cause of the social problems of modern Britain — from binge drinking
and drug abuse to educational failure, welfare dependency, vandalism
and violent crime — is the breakdown of the family. Now, to his
immense credit, Iain Duncan Smith, instead of sulking like some of his
predecessors at his ejection as Tory leader, has laboured mightily to
produce a devastating 300,000-word report, Breakdown Britain, that
unequivocally draws the same conclusion."
This Mail reaction is very good news for David Cameron. He cannot afford to have so many of the traditional Tory newspapers offside as was in danger of becoming the case. Yesterday he gave unequivocal backing to Iain Duncan Smith’s analysis and sided with the traditionalists on marriage, rather than the modernisers.
More than anything, however, Mr Duncan Smith’s report should not be seen in political terms. It is a hard-headed, 300,000 word attempt to try and understand why life is getting harder for so many Britons when the nation has never been wealthier and when we’ve never spent so much money on welfare. Thoughtful reviews from The Times, The Independent and Martin Kettle in The Guardian all suggest that the report will receive the serious study it deserves.
Iain Duncan Smith showed that there was real weight to David Cameron’s policy review process. The ‘Breakdown Britain’ report was not the only example of compassionate conservatism on show either. MPs Gary Streeter and William Hague issued a powerful report on human rights abuses around the world. Yesterday was a good day for the Conservative Party.