The Mail titles’ tradition of confessional journalism has today spread to the loathsome Toby Young, who tells readers “Why our children will never have a summer like '76: In this gently nostalgic essay, father-of-four Toby Young bemoans a sad truth of our modern age”, in which he talks the most staggering claptrap while failing to remember what he already told another paper.
Tobes talks briefly about 1976 as if it were the last time there was a warm and dry spell in summer – those four successive ones of 2003 to 2006 are so easy to forget – before bemoaning today’s youngsters and their being fixated on gadgets. Like the ones their parents buy them, of course. Parents like, oh I dunno, Himself Personally Now. Then he’s complaining about how expensive everything is.
Like what? Well, Tobes has been to Legoland and come away with very little change from £500. That’s what happens when you have four kids: having to pay more when you have four has not changed over the years. Attractions still cost money in 1976, and as for complaining about the cost of bottled water – well, they didn’t have much of it back then, but that isn’t the same thing.
There is precious little that backs up Tobes’ complaining, and then he puts the lid on it all by telling readers that the solution to his kids not wanting to do old-fashioned playing and adventure like he did was to take them off to Kenya. Like the whole thing came free, eh? So now it’s OK to spend lots of dosh, providing he can tell the other clever people who talk loudly in restaurants he’s taken the family to Africa.
And there’s something else that strikes a seriously hypocritical note about this article: the whole tenor of the piece is that Tobes not only wants his kids to enjoy summers like he did, but also that he’s the kind of parent who likes doing things as a family, and enjoyed being there with them during their stay in Kenya. But that was not the story he was telling the Telegraph a while back.
“Why men don’t want it all” he told readers back in April. Here, Tobes confesses that “I don’t really enjoy spending time with my children. That sounds brutal, but I don’t think it’s just me”. But there are good sides to the experience: “I like sitting down with them at mealtimes, particularly if my wife Caroline has done a roast”. So he’s not exactly a whizz in the kitchen, either.
“Call me a bad father” he pleads. No. Shan’t. But I will call Tobes a pretty lousy writer when it comes to maintaining one point of view, whether scribbling for Mail or Tel. Spending money is bad unless it means hols he can brag about. Kids are A Good Thing, or maybe not. Kids having gadgets is somehow not linked to their parents buying them. And he forgot that things still cost money in 1976.
So that makes Tobes a pretty typical hack, then. No surprise there.