Following the adverts taken out by the Hacked Off campaigning group this week on the first anniversary of the cross-party Royal Charter on press regulation, there has inevitably been pushback from those who do not want properly independent press regulation, do not know the first thing about press regulation, would like to crawl up the nearest orifice of those opposing independent press regulation, or all three.
Behold a bellend
And ticking all three of those boxes is the loathsome Toby Young, writing in the Spectator, edited by Fraser Nelson, a likeable and highly intelligent bloke who for some reason has convinced himself that commissioning Tobes to tell whoppers about Hacked Off is A Very Good Thing. I can assure Nelson that the only result will be a serious diminution of his magazine’s credibility.
“It looks as though Hacked Off has finally won its three-year battle for tighter regulation of the press” begins Tobes. Wrong. Nobody wants tighter press regulation. But do go on: “on Tuesday it published a list of 200 people who agree with them ... these were, in Hacked Off’s words, ‘the leading figures in literature, arts, science, academia, human rights and the law’ ... the leading figures”.
And what does the advert say? “More than a year on from the Leveson Report, leading figures in literature, arts, science and the law are joining forces with victims of past press abuse”. It doesn’t say “the” leading figures on the declaration, does it, Tobes? That is what you would call a lie if someone did it to you, isn’t it, Tobes? It’s shoddy, misleading and dishonest journalism, isn’t it, Tobes?
Small wonder Graham Linehan calls Tobes “London's village idiot”. And it gets worse: Young sneers at Albert Scardino because he can’t find a reference to him using a Google search. “Former Bill Clinton adviser and Pulitzer Prize winner”. Not much of a Google search, was it, Tobes? Then there’s a snark at Zoe Margolis. Perhaps that’s because she’s one of those independent women that frighten Tobes.
Rufus Hound is next for the snark treatment, because Tobes had a Twitter disagreement with him which he lost – and, predictably, because Hound is successful, and Tobes is not. Likewise his kick at Gary Lineker for also being successful, before having a go at Peter Jukes for taking on the live-tweeting of the hacking trial, which for Tobes would be too much like hard work.
All that is then left is to talk about “curtailing press freedom” and “state regulation of the press”, neither of which Hacked Off want. Then he tries unsuccessfully to go into self-deprecation mode with “It’s game over for Murdoch lackeys like me”. But whether or not it’s game over, Tobes, you’re not a Murdoch lackey. Or don’t you remember getting sacked from your pisspoor Sun column?
“Village idiot” is an understatement. Toby Young really is a complete bellend.