As the Press and Pundit Establishment begins to waver in its support of the loathsome Toby Young, who has been gifted another taxpayer-funded sinecure as a board member at the newly-created Office for Students, the recent past of this less than august and principled individual has come under the spotlight. And it shows that his of ineptitude and dishonesty should have disqualified him for any public post.
One episode where Tobes failed to distinguish himself - other than by once again talking well, but lying badly, was the hacking of schoolgirl Milly Dowler’s phone on behalf of the late and not at all lamented Murdoch Screws. Young had just been appointed as political correspondent of the Screws’ replacement, the Sun on Sunday - he didn’t last too long there, unsurprisingly - and got into a Twitter argument with Graham Linehan.
Tobes declared that the Milly Dowler affair was nothing more than “That murdered schoolgirl thing”, thus demonstrating his disdain for all the little people who our free and fearless press routinely dump on. For this he was totally unapologetic: Linehan nailed him with the observation “Standard troll selling your mediocrity to a man who tried to cover up the hacking of a murdered girl's phone”. Then Tobes sold the pass.
He told the Independent on Sunday “I was pointing out that The Guardian's original story, in which Nick Davies accused Glenn Mulcaire of having deleted Milly Dowler's voicemail messages, turned out to be wrong … Quite a serious error, given that it led to the closure of a national newspaper”. This is a complete pack of lies.
One, Davies did not make any direct accusation of Mulcaire. Two, Davies had in total four sources for his Guardian report. Three, the message deletion claim was not the focus of the story. Four, the deletion claim did not turn out to be wrong, but could not be proven either way. And five, the decision to close the Screws had already been taken - and was taken in order to keep the Murdochs’ first bid for 100% of Sky in play. As Tobes was now working for the Murdochs, he could have found that out easily.
The Mail also noted that “Young's comments have offended those associated with the family and the Dowler family's solicitor Mark Lewis, who said: 'I do not intend to dignify his comment by saying why it was wrong … If that is the standard of journalism at The Sun on Sunday then it seems that they have learnt nothing from the past’”. Quite.
When Tobes responded to Linehan with “Check The Guardian story. Turned out to be balls. Get off your high horse”, he was lying, probably knew he was lying. Yet he was shameless enough to tell the IoS “When I open the new paper on Sunday and see my picture byline I'll feel a warm glow of happiness”. It was not about the Dowlers, but as usual, about More And Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now.
Toby Young behaved like a complete shit towards the memory of Milly Dowler. He lied blatantly and probably knowingly about Nick Davies and the Guardian. Yet he is lauded as a deserving recipient of a publicly-funded appointment. That’s not good enough.