When Steve Peers put the question “If Toby Young's tweets don't rule him out of regulator role, what would?” this morning, he may have missed one infamous episode in the loathsome Tobes’ back catalogue that should not only disqualify him from any public service appointment, but have seen him sent off to jail.
The deeds of so-called “Fake Sheikh” Mazher Mahmood may have faded from headline gaze, but they are still the subject of continuing legal challenge and action - as well as intruding on the increasing chorus of disapproval at Tobes’ appointment to the board of the new Office for Students by Bozza’s kid brother Jo Johnson.
Why should that be? Ah well. Many of Maz’ stings included inducing their victim to supply him with illegal drugs, usually cocaine. It was this that ended the career of actor John Alford, and would have done for Tulisa Contostavlos, had Maz not been caught lying to the court and ultimately jailed. The Screws, and later Sun on Sunday, wanted their readers to know that doing Charlie was A Very Bad Thing and meant You’d Go To Pris.
Mazher Mahmood - his victims were jailed
So where does Tobes fit in here? Simples. By his own admission, he has done far worse than all those whom the Fake Sheikh stung. He has both dealt and consumed copious quantities of Charlie. And now he is being defended by the likes of London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, whose brother Jo … see above.
But he wasn’t defended by the Groucho Club: they expelled him for it. After all, he confessed “My crime was to write about a cocaine-taking incident that occurred during a photo shoot for Vanity Fair's 'Cool Britannia' issue at the club. I was the editor in charge and in my recently published book I reveal that Damien Hirst and Keith Allen, the photo's two subjects, demanded I supply them with alcohol and cocaine as a condition of posing for the camera”. He could have said no - like the Fake Sheikh’s victims.
What Tobes dealt and consumed ...
He did not. Worse, he joined in. “Needless to say, things soon got out of hand and I felt like a supply teacher presiding over a group of naughty schoolchildren. I didn't help matters by dipping into the Bolivian marching powder myself”. After all that, he had the brass neck to write in the Observer “I'm fed up with the media cant. Why can't everyone just come clean about cocaine?” Drug dealing is no big deal - well, for the privileged media classes.
For some reason, though, that was not allowed to enter when the Murdoch mafiosi offered to throw him a biscuit when the Sun on Sunday launched after the closure of the Screws. There was Mazher Mahmood, getting his victims locked up for supplying small amounts of cocaine - under some duress - while the same paper’s political correspondent was proudly both supplying and snorting it in copious amounts. Can you smell hypocrisy?
... and where it should have led him
Where James O’Brien previously noted “2018: A Foreign Secretary who disgracefully kept his job after his rank incompetence endangered a British citizen wrongly imprisoned by an enemy state defends the appointment of a universities adviser who maligns disabled children, routinely insults women & jokes about anal rape”, he can now add the criminal activity involved with Tobes’ drug dealing and consumption.
Hello Jo Johnson - still want to defend Toby Young? No pressure, now.