Six days on, the blowback at the appointment of the loathsome Toby Young to the board of the new Office for Students has not abated: Tobes’ sexism, misogyny, laddism, abusiveness, partisan behaviour, masturbatory tendencies, drug-dealing past, questionable role in founding all those free schools, support for eugenics to “breed out the thicks”, general unpleasantness and dishonesty are not serving him well.
This is despite the unquestioning support of the press’ two Ministers, London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and paid Murdoch hand Michael “Oiky” Gove, both of whom have backed Tobes publicly. So has Gove’s wife, the deeply unpleasant Lady Macbeth figure of Sarah “Vain” Vine. So has Tobes’ pal at the Spectator magazine, its editor Fraser Nelson. It hasn’t stopped the criticism.
Why this might be is touched upon by that part of the press which is now allowing its hacks and pundits to say what they really think about Young. Ominously for him, it is the same Murdoch press to whom “Oiky” Gove is accountable that has turned, and what its writers think of Tobes cannot have been received by The Great Man with any pleasure.
Janice Turner, aka Victoria Peckham, has spoken from first-hand knowledge of Tobes’ unpleasantness. “Toby was foul, duplicitous and sloppy: the most obnoxious writer I ever employed … Unprofessional, rude, charmless, spouting the vilest things … All that education, intelligence, drive, wit, talent, impeccable connections … yet with this bizarre addiction to the worst kind of attention, like a child who defecates in the bath”. Ouch!
And she draws this telling conclusion: “you can’t have a Government appointee with a Twitter timeline full of sexist bilge that would have any teacher sacked. If there are to be any moral standards in public life, you cannot separate what people say from who they are. It is not enough to be qualified for an appointment by every criterion except your character”. Her fellow Times contributor Giles Coren has also chipped in.
“This whole broigus has left me torn. I can’t help but feel some sympathy for a fellow journalist being strung up now for things he wrote years ago to try and make a name for himself. On the other hand, Toby is the biggest twat I have ever met”.
All that Tobes can offer is to defend himself at the Spectator and then put the resulting article behind a paywall - he and Fraser Nelson were never the sharpest tools in the box - then blubber that the scouring of his Twitter feed has all been so terribly unfair, yet he was never present when his press pals were doing that to a variety of targets with the sole intention of causing them serious embarrassment - or even losing them jobs.
Behold the towering intellectual Colossus being defended by all those foolish politicians and hacks - almost certainly in vain
No, Tobes wants the focus to be on his co-founding the West London Free School, although even then we are presumably intended not to dwell on his having done so, at least in part, out of the sheer selfishness of cornering tens of millions in taxpayer funds just to avoid the personally onerous shelling out of four sets of school fees.
Toby Young’s excuses are too little, and too late. The condemnation of his disgraceful behaviour, combined with a lack of sensitivity to those he shat on, have done for him. It is now not if, but when, he departs from the prospective board of the OfS. Good thing too.