In politics it is more constructive to focus on policies and ideas than on individuals, says Bernadette Meaden. She suggests, however, that a politician may become so wedded to a policy that their personal reputation and the credibility of the policy become inextricably linked. She argues that this is now the case with Iain Duncan Smith.
Should the welfare system be reformed? Is the tax credit system flawed? Is a universal credit a good idea in principle? The answer to all these questions is 'yes'. But if the question is about whether the government is tackling these issues in the correct way, the answer is 'no'. A huge change of direction is required.
It's New Year's Eve, newsrooms are quiet and casual comments by ministers are enough to make top headlines. Today, Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has made the news with some vaguely worded attacks on the system of tax credits.