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Tuesday 22 September 2015

Toby Young Cam Defence Flop

Following the first extract from the unauthorised biography of Young Dave by Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott, which talked of Cameron smoking weed with the likes of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, and a bizarre ritual involving the head of a dead pig, has come the spin in the PM’s defence. And nobody has spun more obsequiously than the loathsome Toby Young.
Tobes demonstrates his grown up approach to journalism

There has been some strong competition, though, with former Screws political editor Ian Kirby declaring “Ashcroft’s pig head ‘story’ would have been thrown out by any tabloid editor”, while managing not to notice that it was run by the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre, who is, er, a tabloid editor. But Tobes it was who took the biscuit in no style at all, whining “Is that really the best Lord Ashcroft could dig up?

Well, given there had only been one extract from the book serialised by the Mail so far, Tobes may be jumping the gun. He’s certainly appealing to authority: “I’m dubious about the pig episode and I’m better informed than most, having been a contemporary of Cameron’s at Oxford. I wrote about the Piers Gaveston Society for Vanity Fair in 1995”. Yes, Tobes knows all about it, nothing to see here, move along now. And if he wasn’t there, it didn’t happen. Yes, Tobes makes as much sense as usual.

In any case, he bursts his own trust balloon almost immediately, admitting what everyone else already knew: “I may not be the world’s foremost investigative journalist”. But do go on. “The Gaveston members I spoke to weren’t particularly discreet about what they and their friends had got up to, but none of them mentioned this or anything like it. Indeed, none of them said the Prime Minister had been a member”.

And then Toby Young sells the pass: “But judging from today’s extracts, ‘Call Me Dave’ contains nothing of substance – nothing that casts doubt on the Prime Minister’s character or integrity, beyond some trivial stuff about when he knew of Ashcroft’s non-dom status”. When Dave knew about Ashcroft’s “non-dom” status is not trivial at all. It is highly significant and potentially highly damaging.

Ashcroft claims Cameron was, in 2009, “fully aware of of my status as a so-called non dom. Indeed we had a conversation about how we could delay revealing my tax arrangements until after the election”. He has alleged “that the prime minister conspired to mislead the public before the 2010 election about his knowledge of Ashcroft’s non-dom tax status”. That is the serious part, and any credible journalist should know it.

As the Guardian tells, “in March 2010 when Ashcroft confirmed his tax status shortly before a freedom of information disclosure which would have shone light on his affairs, Cameron claimed to have known about it for only for a month”. If he knew about it the previous year, then he has some explaining to do. But instead of pointing this out, Tobes excuses Dave by getting readers to “look over there”.

Then he went on TV to tell that the idea of mock sex with a dead pig “reflected rather well on the Prime Minister”. Toby Young, you’re a clown. And a lamentably bad journalist.


Andy McDonald said...

A depressing number of people are coming out saying that the pig episode (if it ever happened) was just 'top bantz' and we should applaud such laddism. The same laddism that in my day (the 1990s) we called aggressive sexism and potential assault.

It's a dangerous attitude to take. Remember the election campaign, where so much was made of the noise on social media and, as you'd put it Tim, the people who speak loudly in restaurants? In the end what swung it was the 'quiet Tories' - the suburbanites and small townsfolk, who definitely don't go to debauched parties and will most likely be appalled by the stories emerging.

He may have won the respect of a few proto-libertines (well, libertine for people like them, and until the money runs out anyway), but this will not sit well with much of Middle Britain.

Stephen Wigmore said...

If Ashcroft obviously knew all this from the moment Cameron said it in 2010 then why not say so then or since?

'Ashcroft claims Cameron was, in 2009, “fully aware of of my status as a so-called non dom. Indeed we had a conversation about how we could delay revealing my tax arrangements until after the election”. He has alleged “that the prime minister conspired to mislead the public before the 2010 election about his knowledge of Ashcroft’s non-dom tax status”. '

Why the change from the 1st person to the 3rd person. Ashcroft hasn't alleged it, he either stone cold knew it because it was about him and a conversation he had, and has done since the moment it happened, or not. If it is true then Ashcroft has deliberately sat on the information through both the 2010 and 2015 elections to reveal it now, when he knows full well Cameron isn't standing for election again.

A bit late to be outraged at the PM's dishonesty having concealed the truth for over 5 years presumably for the same reason as the PM, to avoid hurting the Conservative Party electorally.

Zara Lockwood said...

This is a grim/depressing story, as I am left unable to think of ways to excuse this kind of behaviour from a so called leader, reminds me of when questions were raised about politicans and Dunblane.

offpat @smile_of_decade said...

The only thing my brain keeps niggling at me saying is:- "Was Toby Young REALLY a journalist, before he became the ridiculously expensive free schools Quango of one?
I had forgotten,
if it was the case, and apparently with good reason..

Arnold said...

Financial scandals are serious, but hardly rare in politics. It's the claim about the pig's head that was gone round the world. And one we'll doubtless be reminded of when the demonstrators at the Tory conference are all wearing pig masks. I can't wait to see the front cover of the next Private Eye.

Anonymous said...

The balding idiot's "trivial stuff" is only "trivial" when it involves someone from the Nastzi Party. Like the Bullingdon head boy. (By "head" I hope you understand in this context it means someone at the front.....not, well, you know.....)

If Cameron knew about Ashcroft's non-dom thingy and chose not to mention it, then that makes him an equal spiv.

As if we didn't know anyway.

Poor old Toby Jug. Every time he speaks it comes out of his anal canal. The poor bastard looks more desperate every time he surfaces. But oo look! he went to Oxford too!

Anonymous said...

As we don't know the sex of the dead and decapitated pig its a bit hard to call it "aggressive sexism" don't you think?

Your day seems to have been a bunch of hard left circle jerks for boring people.

Andy McDonald said...

@ Anonymous,

Aggressive sexism did not refer to the alleged incident, but to the 'laddism' culture that some commentators (among them Toby Young and Brendan O'Neil) appear to be championing, and holding up this alleged incident as a great example of a fine tradition.

As for my university days, an absolute hoot. The northern goth scene was something really quite fun. Well, what I can remember of it.

Unknown said...

I hear he is now called Toady Young.