Last week's National Apprenticeship Week was full of discussion. We heard about the productivity gains of hiring apprentices, and concerns around the gender divide. We celebrated the amazing things apprentices have achieved, and heard from business leaders who are pledging to create more apprenticeships.
Even IDS himself admits that aspects of this are "absolutely appalling". When I brought up the story of the woman who was being told her benefits were being cut on the day she died, he agreed that the case was one of those things that "went wrong" and said that he always apologises to people that suffer from those kind of things. Weirdly though, I couldn't pin him down on whether he'd actually apologised to that particular family or not. It's almost like he's a politician.
Seasoned Duncan Smith-watchers are still left floundering as to why he is in his sixth year in the same cabinet job, and yet there he is. Labour must feel they can make serious headway against him on the new benefit cap when the arguments are so half-hearted, and Duncan Smith is doing his best to encourage them in this belief.
Those who still have a sentimental attachment to children shouldn't worry: Duncan Smith is in the process of redefining child poverty so you won't have to hear about the suffering his policies create as their experiences grow more miserable but they fit within a happier category. If NI and income tax are joined, expect to see the welfare state look radically different within a very short time.
David Cameron has spoken of his belief in a 'compassionate nation' - one that protects the most vulnerable. If his Government is serious about this, they need to make sure that they protect all disability benefits and housing benefit for younger disabled people. Only then will people on the autism spectrum receive the support they need to live independent and fulfilling lives.
Can it really be called a saving, though, if spending has not been reduced? It feels a bit like when you come back with your shopping, having "saved" £40 but having spent the same as you always do. More seriously if the Coalition savings did not lead to any actual reduction in the welfare bill, can the Conservatives use their track record to justify that they will save a further £12 billion?