Iain Duncan Smith – To the Manor Married

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | November 14, 2015 0


The man behind the controversial bedroom tax and Universal Credit lives rent-free in a £2 million aristocratic country house… with at least FOUR spare bedrooms. Iain Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, is a tenant of the landed gentry Fremantle family. But unlike the 660,000 families in social housing who are being forced to pay an average of £14 a week extra for a spare bedroom, Mr Duncan Smith can live happily knowing he has to pay no rent or mortgage. The 16th-century Tudor house on a sprawling estate in Buckinghamshire originally had five bedrooms but has had wings added down the centuries. With a swimming pool, tennis courts and set in acres of countryside, it’s a far-cry from the social housing his bedroom tax victims live in.ids1

It’s also a world away from the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green’s London constituency – and is sure to further enrage the thousands of protesters around Britain against his hated tax and the abolition of Working Tax Credits . But IDS lives free on the estate like a Lord.

The former Tory leader – who lost the top job after a no confidence vote by his party in 2003 – married into the Fremantle family in 1982 and was given use of the mansion by his father-in-law, the 5th Baron Cottesloe, in 2001. Mr Duncan Smith and his wife Betsy Cottesloe moved there and brought up their four children in the peaceful, privileged, countryside setting. One local said: “It is in a beautiful area. I don’t know how many bedrooms it has but I’d say there are more than five now after all the extensions that have gone up over the years. It must be worth millions.”

The UK’s Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has warned young people not to rely on home ownership to fund their retirement. Unveiling a radical overhaul of the state pension, the Work and Pensions Secretary said rising house prices were putting bricks and mortar out of reach. He added it was “absolutely imperative” that the Government took steps to “secure the position of the next generation” and encourage saving.idspunchidsdwp

Swanbourne, Buckinghamshire

Swanbourne, Buckinghamshire

He added that 70 per cent of today’s pensioners owned their own homes, but their grandchildren were “struggling to even get a foot on the housing ladder” because house prices for first-time buyers had risen by 40 per cent in real terms over the last decade. “The next generation will not be able to rely on bricks and mortar in the way their parents have been able to,” he said. “It’s no wonder our children are increasingly cynical about saving.” Now Iain Duncan Smith happens to live not too far away from The Eagle in Buckinghamshire and I happen to know a bit about his own bricks and mortar. idsaxeman idsclaim

This is such good advice from a person who when he was made redundant had the comfort and support of his father in law, John Fremantle, 5th Baron Cottesloe, who built and gave him a house on his 1,400 acres of land at Swanbourne, in North Buckinghamshire where IDS lives to this day. Iain Duncan Smith is married to Elizabeth “Betsy” Fremantle. As IDS observed during the Foot & Mouth epidemic, he understands the plight of the ordinary farmer. And no doubt the ordinary person made redundant who doesn’t have the cushion of an aristocratic father-in-law?

Grave of the ancestor Iain Duncan Smith’s wife Betsey is named after in  the cemetery of Cimiez, Nice, France. Elizabeth Lady Fremantle, obit 1857, widow of Vice Admiral Sir Thomas Francis Fremantle



At weekends IDS enjoys motoring around the lanes of Buckinghamshire in his Morgan sports car splashing the peasants

Iain Duncan Smith laughing

IDS laughing his head off that you, the taxpayer, has spent £10,000 on his oil painting for the House of Commons Collection

His “ordinary farmer” father-in-law is the 5th Baron Cottesloe. He also inherited the Austrian noble title “Baron Fremantle”, which is an authorised title in the United Kingdom by Warrant of April 27, 1932. He was Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire between 1984 and 1997. An Old Etonian and former naval commander, he owns the Swanbourne estate in Buckinghamshire, which includes the picture-postcard village of Swanbourne, complete with post office, village store, tea-rooms, prep school and houses, plus rolling acres of prime farmland. Lord and Lady Cottesloe live in the Old House, a manor house set in five acres. As Betsy is the Cottesloes’ oldest child, the next village squire could be Iain Duncan Smith. Despite attempts by Tory Central Office to present him otherwise, Duncan Smith is resolutely upper class.

The Fremantle Family’s Betsey Wynne Pub at Swanbourne

The Pub’s name comes from Betsey, who married Thomas Fremantle when he was a sea Captain with the British Fleet in Naples, 1797. Horatio Nelson was the best man. From their prolific union stems the complete Fremantle line of distinguished Naval Officers, including three Admirals and the present head of the family, Lord Cottesloe, who lives at Swanbourne. IDS’s wife is named after her and Fremantle, Swanbourne and Cottesloe in Western Australia are named after the family who claimed Western Australia for the crown and founded the Swan River Colony, today Perth.

IDS served as a British Army officer in the Scots Guards from 1975 to 1981 and his father was a Group Captain in the RAF. Intriguingly, given his wife’s family wealth, his two homes, and his children going to public schools, Duncan Smith has complained that life as an MP had been “a financial disaster”. From his aristocratic marriage, military background, free house and personal wealth of over £1 million he is able to understand the hearts and minds of the ordinary men and women of Britain.

IDS cares about housing – especially his own

Iain-Duncan-Smith iain-duncan-smith_rear


It is wondrous to see the Quiet Man of British Politics lead the Tory led Coalition’s cynically amoral assault on the poor (mainly working poor) of Britain claiming there are no “soft options.”

A Newsnight investigation in December 2002 found that Iain Duncan Smith’s CV contained ‘inaccurate and misleading’ claims about his education. The investigation found that Duncan Smith’s biography on the Conservative Party website, his entry in Who’s Who, and various other places, stated that he went to the Universita di Perugia in Italy. It transpired instead that he had attended the Universita per Stranieri, which is also in Perugia; however the University did not award degrees when Duncan Smith attended in 1973. When challenged by Newsnight, Duncan Smith’s office confirmed that he ‘didn’t get any qualifications in Perugia or even finish his exams’.  The first line of Ian Duncan Smith’s biography on the Conservative Party website claimed that he was ‘educated at Dunchurch College of Management’. Dunchurch was the former staff college for GEC Marconi, where he worked in the 1980s, again Duncan Smith’s office confirmed to Newsnight that ‘he did not get any qualifications there either, but that he completed six separate courses lasting a few days each, adding up to about a month in total’. John Garside, a former Dunchurch tutor, told the Newsnight investigation team ‘I’m puzzled, flattered, but puzzled. What we did was offer short courses… it was not a continuous form of education by any means. iain-duncan-smith-make-work-pay

There have been plenty of soft options for IDS who became an arms salesman through the Old Boys network after his short six year Guards career in the army and had his house built for free on his father in law. Lord Cottesloe’s, land when he was made redundant after six months in the only real job he ever had.  He also (as an MP) took six months off work in 2009 when his wife Betsy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Is this another case of do as I say, not as I do?

IDS is 61 years old and has suckled upon the publicly-funded teat for most of his life. He’s signed on the dole. He’s had four children and received child benefit for all of them. He has put them each through private school, too. His wife hasn’t worked since they married, except for 15 months in which he got her a job paid by the taxpayer.

He and his colleagues eat and drink food you subsidise in a palace you pay for, he is driven around in a car you own, and when he is too old to ‘work’ any more you will pay for him to have a better pension than you, too. He started out at the age of 21 with six years of taxpayer-funded military service, during which he acted as bag-carrier to a Major-General.  Then in 1981, aged 27, he left the Army and signed on the dole for several months. He then began a period of ordinary work based upon the skills he had gained at the taxpayer’s expense, and worked in sales for arms dealer GEC-Marconi. He then moved on to a property firm, where he was made redundant after six months, and then sold gun-related magazines for Jane’s Information Group. 

After 11 years of this all-too brief career he succeeded in once again boarding the publicly-funded gravy train in 1992. In the intervening 20 years he has been paid by the taxpayer every year more money than most taxpayers earn. He has topped it up, along the way, to more than six figures for a few years here and there. In 2001 he helped his unemployed wife to have a suckle, arranging for you to pay her £15,000 to be his diary secretary. IDSSalma

These days he is given the grand total of £156,565 a year from the taxpayer. He lives for free in a £2million Tudor farmhouse on his father-in-law’s ancestral estate in Buckinghamshire. He has three acres of land, a tennis court, swimming pool and some orchards, which is not bad for a life in the pay of the state. idsselfservatives

Now let us in the spirit of the Tories Big Society all sing the first verse and chorus of the hoary old anthem “We are all in this together.”

As for IDS’s future as George Osborne makes a mockery of his failed Universal Credit scheme and reneges on the laughable Conservative General Election promise I’ll leave the final word on Iain Duncan Smith to that well known Leftie and Revolutionary, the former Tory Prime Minister Sir John Major who labelled Duncan Smith and other Tory Eurosceptic rebels during his premiership “The Bastards” pointing out afterwards “What I said was unforgivable.” Pause for contrition. “My only excuse – is that it was true.”

“IDS is trying to reform benefits. But unless he is lucky or a genius, which last time I looked was not proven, he may get things wrong. If he listens only to bean-counters and cheerleaders only concerned with abuse of the system, he will fail. Governments should exist to help people, not institutions.” – Sir John Major, October 2013

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