Last weekend, Theresa May told Andrew Marr that, while she did not approve of some of those allegedly historic Tweets from the loathsome Toby Young, he would not be sacked from his post on the board of the new Office for Students. Education minister Jo Johnson, younger brother of Tobes defender Bozza, was equally steadfast in his defence yesterday in the Commons. Both are therefore diminished this morning.
Because Tobes has finally, and probably reluctantly, decided to face the music and leave the stage. As the BBC has reported, “Writing for the Spectator, Mr Young said his appointment had ‘become a distraction’ from the ‘vital work’ of the Office for Students.The right-wing journalist unreservedly apologised for his past comments which he said were ‘ill-judged or just plain wrong’”. And there was more.
“Chair of the education committee Robert Halfon, said things Mr Young had said on disability, eugenics and working people, went too far … ‘If we are to stand up as the Conservative party for what is right,’ he told the Today programme, ‘we also have to accept when we have made a mistake’”. Halfon, who has a walking disability, was unswerving in his opposition to the appointment. And he was not alone.
A Prime Minister further devalued
Sadly, Tobes has had problems even coming clean about that past, telling “I am a passionate supporter of inclusion and helping the most disadvantaged, as I hope my track record of setting up and supporting new schools demonstrates … But some of the things I said before I got involved in education, when I was a journalistic provocateur, were either ill-judged or just plain wrong - and I unreservedly apologise”.
As Jonathan Portes pointed out this morning, Tobes was still lying and smearing to order less than a year ago. His attack on the Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake was shot through with such dishonesty that even the Daily Mail could not defend it. And although the paper corrected Tobes’ lies, the man himself neither corrected, nor apologised.
And that went to the heart of the matter: there can be no credibility in a person who claims to have undergone what Bozza junior called “A transformative journey”, when they remain willing and able to lie and smear to the order of the right-leaning press. Moreover, the idea that this was some kind of “youthful indiscretion” will not wash: Tobes was making wank jokes and leering at an under-age girl in his mid-40s.
Worst of all, though, is that all those who backed this deeply repellant individual are diminished by their actions. For Spectator editor Fraser Nelson this is of little consequence, as his unprincipled and serial dishonesty is well known. But for Jo Johnson, and more importantly Theresa May, this is another deeply damaging episode, another occasion when they could have been decisive and shown leadership, but flunked it.
Ultimately, it shows once again the sheer folly in allowing the Press and Pundit Establishment tail to wag the dog of Government. That has brought us useless and inept ministers like Bozza and Gove. It is only by the force of opposition across the political spectrum that Toby Young’s latest gift of a taxpayer-funded sinecure was rescinded.
If Theresa May keeps on doing the right-wing press’ bidding, it will only end in tears.
Young was ultimately hoist with his own petomanic effusions, but well done, Tim, for your contributions.
(Though I think you ought sometimes to express your gratitude to this government for daily providing you with sitting ducks like this).
some of the things I said before I got involved in education, when I was a journalistic provocateur, were either ill-judged or just plain wrong - and I unreservedly apologise
Even more to the point, this means he's still happy with all of his tweets and writing post-2010 (when he 'got involved' in setting up the WLFS).
Those include the leering at cleavage at PMQs (on a Wednesday lunchtime - was he maybe at work at WLFS at the time? that job certainly gave him enough time ot e.g. post a lot about how great his school is on Mumsnet), the eugenics article, the piece where he complains that schools need wheelchair accessibility - both of those, in fact, directly concerned with education...
also I love how many Tories are going on about his immense effort setting up 'free schools'. No doubt it took a bit of work to do the WLFS, though he also got to give himself a 50k PA job as a result of a year's part-time prep, and he also published a book as a result, as well as countless articles; and his job at the NSN wouldn't have been possible without the WLFS. But it was also 'the first' as has frequently been mentioned, as was opened with Boris Johnson at the launch - it's not like he wasn't given massive amounts of assistance with it - it needed to succeed.
Well done Tim.
I reckon with thuis reshuffle there will be more to come!
Well done, Tim. You did your bit - without which I suspect little would have happened and the worm would have squirmed in with the usual tory hypocrisy. He can now retire to his cell to shout at the padding and CCTV cameras.
Once again it tells you more about the far right establishment (that is, all of them) than it does about him.
Actually, the only difference between him and those who do squirm through is that the others aren't so obvious. But they're still in place at all levels of government and still hold the same disgusting views as he, still forcing through corrupt policies.
All of which means little will change except the hypocrisy, propaganda and lies will deepen. For examples of which see ineffable May's and Johnson's behaviour immediately before Young took his slime trail out of the firing line.
The tories and their pals will hate you even more for this, Tim. Which means you have scored one for decency in public life. But watch mainstream media dismiss it to the sidelines.
For once, he’s done the decent thing.
How long before he plays the martyr?
How long before? My, you're a few hours late!
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