A FORMER teacher of hated Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith confirmed yesterday that he had been “out of touch” even when he was a teenager.
Glyn Banks, now 66 and living in Finland, told the New Statesman that he had been “gobsmacked” to discover that his right-wing public-school pupils had “a lack of understanding, or sensitivity, to real people.”
Mr Banks, who said he read the Morning Star every day while his fellow teachers preferred the Daily Telegraph, remembered the former Conservative Party leader as “fairly nondescript in class,” adding that, when he was 16, the future Tory politician was caught smoking in the school grounds despite being a prefect who broke the school javelin record.
These days, Mr Duncan Smith makes life hell for millions of unemployed, disabled and long-term sick people through his welfare cuts, which will total £12 billion in this Parliament.
He has been fiercely criticised for pretending that his harsh benefit sanctions were successful in getting people back into work.
The former naughty schoolboy was again shamed earlier this week when the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) was forced to admit that “case studies” on a leaflet about sanctions — which has since been withdrawn — were fake and that photos of supposed benefit claimants were used for “illustrative purposes.”
“I don’t think he’s evil. He just doesn’t understand what it’s like to be poor or how to survive,” said Mr Banks.
The working-class teacher was a new graduate when he was offered a job teaching English for six months at HMS Conway Merchant Navy Cadet School in 1971.
He and four siblings grew up in a single-parent family in a Welsh village. As a teacher, he made efforts to educate his pupils about the real world by discussing working-class works of literature and film.
After seeing the 1969 film Z, about the murder of a prominent Greek left-wing party leader, Mr Banks had said he thought the boys would “sympathise with the workers” but was shocked to find them “siding with the ruling class.”