While the Tories are knocking seven shades of the proverbial out of one another over their own leadership contest, one can always depend on part of their support to play “look over there” and pretend that what the Labour Party is doing is so much worse, because they’re rotten lefties. And there is no more predictable practitioner of this singularly lame art than the loathsome Toby Young, who has indulged himself in Spectator Life this week.
More less than totally grownup punditry from Tobes
In his regular “Status Anxiety” column - Tobes has no need to get anxious, of course, as he doesn’t warrant any status - he regales readers with his account of “Labour: My part in its downfall”, blissfully unaware of the deep irony in Spike Milligan’s original (“Adolf Hitler - My Part In His Downfall”) from which he is borrowing. This is mainly gloating at Labour’s current situation. But Tobes has got a little carried away with himself.
“It didn’t occur to me that the party would be in its death throes by the end of the month” he gurgled gleefully. It isn’t, Tobes, it’s got hundreds of thousands of members. How can it be in its death throes? But do go on. “I suppose I have to accept a small amount of responsibility for this. During Labour’s leadership election last year, when Corbyn was still a rank outsider, I helped to launch a Tories4Corbyn campaign”.
Really? And what was the recommended course of action? “Urging fellow Conservatives to take advantage of the party’s new membership rules whereby you could become a registered supporter for just £3 and vote for the 67-year-old old communist”.
Two things here. One, whatever Jeremy Corbyn is, he isn’t a Communist. And two, as Zelo Street readers may remember, Tobes was rumbled by Labour HQ and lost his three quid, blubbering about taking some kind of legal action to recover it. This from the bloke who bet Nigella Lawson £15,000 that his pal Bozza would become Tory leader by 2018 (a bet that he now looks certain to have lost. Serves the SOB right).
Tobes then digs himself in a little deeper: “Part of Labour’s problem is the party’s dearth of talent. At the moment, the two leading Corbyn challengers are Tom Watson and Angela Eagle”. And your problem with them is what, exactly? “Can it really be true that the hopes of a political movement dating back to the 19th century rest on the shoulders of a man who believes Edward Heath operated a paedophile ring out of 10 Downing Street?”
A word in your shell-like, Tobes. Tom Watson has never made such an allegation, and you and I both know that. Asking for allegations made by others to be investigated is not the same thing, to the extent that Watson has almost certainly been libelled by Young.
But Tobes holds the best example of rank idiocy back for later: after discussing a scenario in which Corbyn would not automatically go on a leadership ballot, and would have to secure the nomination of 35 MPs, he confidently continues “Trouble is, there will be uproar among the party members if Corbyn isn’t on the ballot, just as there would be among Conservatives if Boris is kept off theirs”.
Hello Tobes! Speculative punditry before your deadline is not always a wise thing to indulge in, is it? Because after you committed that article to be published, Bozza was indeed taken off the ballot for the Tory leadership - by his own hand. I give you Toby Young, still full value for his informal title of Westminster’s Village Idiot.