Iain Duncan Smith, in classier times. Photo: Rob Stothard/Getty Images
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What's this? Is Iain Duncan Smith visibly excited by prospect of hurting the poor?

The work and pensions secretary cheered on the new "living" wage, which turns out to be nothing of the sort.

What was the most galling part of the budget?

Cutting housing benefit for 18-21 year olds? Turning the university maintenance grant into a loan? Tax credit cuts that make sure children are suitably punished if their parents have large, low-income families? The complete absence of any climate change or green issues? 

All good contenders, but this mole reckons this is the clear winner:

That's right - it's Iain Duncan Smith, cheering as George Osborne introduces what was disingenuously termed a "living" wage despite being quite clearly nothing of the sort. Oh, and by the way, you won't get it if you're under 25. If you're under 25, your parents should be able to sort you out.

Some might suggest it's a bit gauche to act like you're in a football terrace as your party introduces a series of measures which bring suffering to vulnerable young people, but let us all take comfort. While working class teenagers - and disabled people, and low-income workers - across the country sit wondering how they're going to deal with this, at least one Conservative politician is very, very happy.

I'm a mole, innit.

Photo: Getty Images
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The buck doesn't stop with Grant Shapps - and probably shouldn't stop with Lord Feldman, either

The question of "who knew what, and when?" shouldn't stop with the Conservative peer.

If Grant Shapps’ enforced resignation as a minister was intended to draw a line under the Mark Clarke affair, it has had the reverse effect. Attention is now shifting to Lord Feldman, who was joint chair during Shapps’  tenure at the top of CCHQ.  It is not just the allegations of sexual harrassment, bullying, and extortion against Mark Clarke, but the question of who knew what, and when.

Although Shapps’ resignation letter says that “the buck” stops with him, his allies are privately furious at his de facto sacking, and they are pointing the finger at Feldman. They point out that not only was Feldman the senior partner on paper, but when the rewards for the unexpected election victory were handed out, it was Feldman who was held up as the key man, while Shapps was given what they see as a relatively lowly position in the Department for International Development.  Yet Feldman is still in post while Shapps was effectively forced out by David Cameron. Once again, says one, “the PM’s mates are protected, the rest of us shafted”.

As Simon Walters reports in this morning’s Mail on Sunday, the focus is turning onto Feldman, while Paul Goodman, the editor of the influential grassroots website ConservativeHome has piled further pressure on the peer by calling for him to go.

But even Feldman’s resignation is unlikely to be the end of the matter. Although the scope of the allegations against Clarke were unknown to many, questions about his behaviour were widespread, and fears about the conduct of elections in the party’s youth wing are also longstanding. Shortly after the 2010 election, Conservative student activists told me they’d cheered when Sadiq Khan defeated Clarke in Tooting, while a group of Conservative staffers were said to be part of the “Six per cent club” – they wanted a swing big enough for a Tory majority, but too small for Clarke to win his seat. The viciousness of Conservative Future’s internal elections is sufficiently well-known, meanwhile, to be a repeated refrain among defenders of the notoriously opaque democratic process in Labour Students, with supporters of a one member one vote system asked if they would risk elections as vicious as those in their Tory equivalent.

Just as it seems unlikely that Feldman remained ignorant of allegations against Clarke if Shapps knew, it feels untenable to argue that Clarke’s defeat could be cheered by both student Conservatives and Tory staffers and the unpleasantness of the party’s internal election sufficiently well-known by its opponents, without coming across the desk of Conservative politicians above even the chair of CCHQ’s paygrade.

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog.