As those out there on the right regroup and attempt to rally behind the loathsome Toby Young, who has been given a platform by the Spectator to peddle his excuses - sadly, as so often, this is paywalled and so will not be cited here - those in the Press and Pundit Establishment have good reason to be worried. Not just because so many of them were prepared to let Tobes into their tent, but also because they failed to call him out.
What the likes of Piers Morgan, who appeared on BBC Question Time last night defending Tobes, will not be telling their adoring public is that our free and fearless press, whose cheerleaders have been whining this week about non-existent threats to their freedom, could and should have blown the whistle on Young rather earlier. They did not even blow the whistle on him at all: that was left to others.
The revelation that put the lid on Tobes’ mercifully brief tenure as a board member of the newly created Office for Students came not from the press, nor indeed the broadcast establishment. It was the London Student, and two undergraduate reporters, Ben van der Merwe and Emma Yeomans, who did the hard work to let the world know about the London Conference on Intelligence and Tobes’ attendance there.
It was their research, and reporting, that concluded that the LCI “is dominated by a secretive group of white supremacists with neo-Nazi links”, and that “Among the speakers and attendees over the last four years are a self-taught geneticist who argues in favour of child rape, multiple white supremacists, and ex-board member of the Office for Students Toby Young”. Tobes claims he was a fringe figure. He was not. He addressed it.
Yet the Press Establishment is happy for him to whinge “I hadn’t planned to comment on any of the lies and smears, but some stuff is so grotesquely slanderous you cannot let it go unchallenged” in introduction to his paywalled apologia. Things that are written cannot, by definition, be “slander”. He went to that conference. He knew it was a secretive gathering. Yet he never stopped and thought what that might mean for his future career.
While Tobes denounces the idea that revealing his attendance at LCI precipitated his resignation from the OfS as “balls”, Emma Yeomans simply stated “A few people are speculating about Toby Young's resignation. To clear up any doubt, I let him know that we were aware of his attendance at a eugenics conference and he provided a statement on Monday morning. He resigned that night; make of that what you will”.
And James Palmer was in no doubt where credit was due. After telling “Not seeing @Effy_Yeomans and @_BenvdM getting all the credit they deserve for breaking the Toby Young eugenics conference story. (They did the Eye piece too). Really amazing student journalism”, he observed “It also says something about the state of UK media that two talented undergrads scooped a national press that was too busy paying Toby Young’s friends to write think pieces defending his shitty tweets”. Got it in one.
Tobes’ pals in the Press and Pundit Establishment thought it was more important to close ranks than to tell the public what he was up to. Thus they were scooped by two students who were unencumbered by establishment Omertà. It does not merely speak to Young’s deeply unpleasant nature, but also exposes the rotten heart of today’s media class.