Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
- Stephen Stills, For What It’s Worth
At present, the centre-left in the UK is not in need of more recruiting sergeants. But one has effectively volunteered his services anyway: step forward the loathsome Toby Young, justifiably characterised as “Westminster’s village idiot” by Graham Linehan, and simply dismissed as “Captain Bellend” by the late Tom Barry.
They're outside, Tobes! Lock the door!! Be afraid!!! Be very afraid!!!!
Tobes suffers from an affliction that has struck many in the Pundit Establishment in the recent past: he is so ridiculed by anyone with a political stance to the left of his who is in contact with the real world that he has retreated to the relative comfort of the Conservative bunker. Here, he can be accepted as someone who really can distinguish arse from elbow, be considered as someone who actually knows what he’s talking about (no, don’t laugh).
Thus his ignorance of other political movements, to the point of fear and indeed paranoia. Those on the centre-left ridicule him; his response is to defensively claim that he is right, that his view is the mainstream, and therefore they are extremists. From there, it is but a short journey to believing that the Rotten Lefties (tm) are out to get him, and indeed out to get everyone. He doesn’t understand it, therefore it is A Very Bad Thing Indeed.
Author Alan Gibbons took exception to a routine exhibition of Tobes’ paranoia - comparing campaigning group Momentum to far-right Britain First, Tweeting “Can Toby Young give precise evidence demonstrating provable similarities between democratic socialists in the Labour Party and Britain First? If not, can he please shut up?” The response was swift.
“Both Momentum and Britain First are extremist political sects that espouse ideologies that have resulted in tens of millions of innocent people being imprisoned, tortured and murdered and they both use bullying and intimidation to advance their toxic agendas”. Er, WHAT? Ah yes, democracy is fine for Tobes as long as it means electing Tories.
The Momentum Twitter account gave him a gentle reminder that he had ventured OTT: “.@toadmeister so scrapping tuition fees, building council houses and saving the NHS from privatisation have resulted in tens of millions of innocent people being imprisoned, tortured and murdered”. Mainstream European social democracy is not totalitarianism.
The reminder fell on deaf ears: “Hard left ideology of the type you espouse has been responsible for the deaths of 85m-100m people. Its adherents always think it will be less murderous next time. It never is”. Aaarghh! Jibber!! JIBBER!!! They’re coming for him!
How to deflect from that? Oh, how about a little dishonesty? After Owen Jones suggested Tobes was not exactly helping his own side, he flounced “I helped set up four state schools, all of them getting outstanding results, that when full will educate 1,940 children. What have you done for young people?” That’s not entirely true, is it, Tobes (see HERE)?
They aren’t coming to get him. But Toby Young really is paranoid. Sad, really.