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Monday 31 October 2016

Toby Young - Say Sorry

Few things characterise the Pundit Establishment better than their inability to own up to their errors, far less actually show contrition and apologise. There will always be another of their number along to tell anyone bothered that they were right in the retelling. And there is no more typical member of the Pundit Establishment than the loathsome Toby Young, who last week fouled up royally, and who is clearly loath to recant.
Tobes, Zelo Street regulars will recall, had penned a poorly-researched and mean-spirited hatchet job on Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake, which he decreed was not a realistic portrayal of life for those dependent on benefits, as it did not resemble Channel 4’s Benefits Street. Thus the sum total of his expertise in the area. He also made a number of assertions in the article which were wrong, and known to be so beforehand.
Bernadette Meaden produced a rebuttal to Tobes’ appalling article soon afterwards (see HERE), but the most sustained criticism of Young’s intolerance and, indeed, rank ignorance has come from Jonathan Portes, who swiftly took to Twitter to tell “Almost every sentence @toadmeister writes here about Employment & Support Allowance is factually incorrect”. Or, as less subtle people might call it, lying.
In just one part of Tobes’ article, Portes observed “How many untruths can you count in this excerpt from @toadmeister?  I get to 5”. Five whoppers. One can only guess at how many there are in the whole piece. And it got worse: by Friday last, the Mail was walking back some of those comments. “Update. Mail has corrected some of @toadmeister multiple errors. Print correction to follow. If he has any decency/integrity he'll apologise”.
But Portes was clearly in Ron Hopeful mode: Tobes doesn’t do apologies readily, and so he did not. The print clarification arrived today, and Portes welcomed it, observing “Mail corrects @toadmeister [again - 6 errors so far].  Still waiting for him to apologise for nasty, ill-informed & misleading piece”. In the meantime, Tobes had been confirmed as director of the education charity New Schools Network, a job to which he was manifestly unsuited.
One might have thought that someone who was not only in the public eye, but also being touted as some kind of authoritative figure in the world of education (no, don’t laugh), would want to show that he was upstanding and honest, or at least attempt the pretence thereof. So where is Tobes’ apology? What’s keeping him?
It’s not as if Tobes had no information to hand on the benefits system and its attendant horrors. As writer and campaigner Jack Monroe Tweeted, “The Mail have had to correct the I Daniel Blake hatchet by @toadmeister. Perhaps they could add this in too”. That was the reference by Rebecca O’Brien to Mx Monroe in an i article. Tobes could have asked someone like them before shooting his mouth off. He chose not to.

If Toby Young wants to sponge off the taxpayer - which being director of the NSN effectively means - the least he can do is to ‘fess up and say sorry. And sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

Tim - the last word in the first paragraph should be Recant. Typing, yes I know.