Last May, in the wake of soldier Lee Rigby’s killing, the loathsome Toby Young decided to use the horrific events in Woolwich to demonstrate his loyalty to Michael “Oiky” Gove and promote Free Schools. This singularly distasteful leveraging was displayed at the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs, as Tobes pushed the idea that what young British Muslims needed was a dose of military discipline.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
“How do we stop young British Muslims falling into the hands of Jihadis? A new, military-style free school in Oldham is a good start” he proclaimed. The Phoenix Free School had signed up lots of potential pupils. Its headmaster would be a currently serving officer who was both British and Muslim. And, best of all for Tobes, it would feature unqualified teachers, so two fingers to the rotten lefty unions too!
Sadly, a problem then entered: Oldham already had a surplus of secondary school places – around 1,100 of them – with significant sums of money having already been expended on Academies in the borough. And Phoenix would have added another 780 to that surplus. So the local authority objected to the military free school proposal. And in the meantime, even Gove and his pals had second thoughts.
There were many reasons for them to do so: previous regimes imparting discipline had not been universally successful, with National Service in the UK not preventing the “Black Panther”, Donald Nielson, or the Kray Twins, from going on to lives of crime. In the USA, military service didn’t stop the perpetrators of the Beltway sniper attacks or the multiple killings at Fort Hood army base.
And so it came to pass that, despite earlier talk of a whole string of military-style Free Schools, the Government has dropped the Phoenix proposal, telling that it “would not be able to meet the rigorous criteria set for fee schools”. That the prospective principal of the new school had to resign after failing to obtain a reference may not have helped the cause.
So where is Toby Young to give us his thoughts on the affair? Put directly, he isn’t: as always when these frankly daft ideas get short shrift, Tobes is suggesting we “look over there”. At the time, I predicted that “if it goes pear-shaped, Tobes won’t be around to catch any crap for it”. I was right. Nothing on Tel blogs. Nothing on Twitter. Fingers in ears, la-la-la, Tobes can’t hear you.
Write out a thousand times “I must not bullshit readers”, Tobes. Or perhaps I should give him his military name of Captain Bellend.