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Tuesday 27 February 2018

Toby Young - Tories Fixed It For Him

After the loathsome Toby Young resigned his sinecure as a board member of the new Office for Students, the questions began to be asked. How had those making the appointment missed Tobes’ incendiary Twitter excursions? What suitability did a partisan right-wing propagandist have for such a role? Hadn’t any other suitable candidates come forward? Was Tobes the best they could find? Seriously?
We now know the answer to all of those, and if the minister concerned, Bozza’s younger brother Jo Johnson, had an ounce of principle in his body, he would resign in shame. Sadly, in accordance with the rest of his family’s forays into public life, he doesn’t, and so he won’t. Put directly, commissioner for public appointments Peter Riddell’s report says, more or less, that the Tories fiddled the selection for Tobes.

His report (see it HERE) makes it clear that there was a failure to do due diligence on the one candidate for whom it should have been done, and done comprehensively. Moreover, it’s entirely possible that Tobes would not have put himself forward for the role, but for the intervention of Jo Johnson - who contacted him about applying. Alright Tobes, how about you apply for this nice little earner we’ve got here? You scratch my back, and all that.

Worse, it is clear that one candidate who was considered highly suitable for the role later handed to Tobes was vetoed by Downing Street - in other words, by a process of direct political interference in the Civil Service, a body which is supposed to be independent of such machinations. Why? “There had been a desire amongst ministers and special advisers not to appoint someone with close links to student unions, such as the National Union of Students”. Think about that. Tories excluding someone for union membership.

But it is on the subject of due diligence, and particularly Tobes’ social media past, where Riddell’s report is at its most scathing. The candidate vetoed for union membership had social media pored over comprehensively: “the social media activity of the initially preferred candidate for the student experience role was extensively examined”.
Not Tobes, though. “Notably, no such exploration or research was made on other possible appointees, including Mr Young”. This prompted further adverse comment. “Mr Young’s reputation as a controversialist, in itself hardly a secret, should have prompted further probing to examine whether what he had said and done might conflict with his public responsibilities and standards expected on the OfS board”. And there was more.

The rapid disclosure of what were described as offensive tweets in the days after his appointment suggests that it was not that hard to find them, that not much delving was required”. And on top of all that, “The report also details the DfE’s repeated efforts to minimise or delay requests for information about the appointment process from the commissioner’s office”. The Government tried to obstruct the inquiry.

Tobes’ mates put him up to applying for the job. They then failed to check his - rather easily available - social media past. Then they tried to frustrate efforts to find out how the appointment came to be made. All of that reflects not so much on Tobes, but his pals in the Government. Jo Johnson should resign, or be sacked. And now.

Another attempt to find jobs for the boys by a discredited Government. No change there.


Colin Carroll said...

Classical liberal corruption.

Anonymous said...

An astonishing number of people in this country fail to see how it has been corrupted and poisoned. This is not just a matter of an occasional aberration like this moron Young or the dangerous buffoon Johnson. It is an organised far right conspiracy that runs right through every element of the British establishment.

If you want to see how it started, who is responsible and what dreadful damage it has caused - and will make yet worse - watch Morag Livingstone's wonderful film Belonging: The Truth Behind The Headlines. If you have a smart TV and Amazon Prime video you can watch it at no charge. The heroes are "ordinary" men and women who had the guts to stand up to the lying far right cowards in media, politics, civil service, police, academia and "businessmen". The victims paid a terrible price, but by God they can at least look at themselves in the mirror and know they did their best to resist, that there is still decency and fight out there and always will be.

And if you want to see where this country will end up if it doesn't rid itself of an utterly corrupt and evil system, watch this too:

Guttersnipes like Toby Young are the very least of it.

Ted Bangor said...

Serious question:

Is there anyone in the current government who hasn't done anything that would have got them sacked from any other job?

Or has actually done enough of their job (Mr. D Davies & Mrs. T May) to warrent them keeping that job?


Anyone at all?

Andy McDonald said...

It's government as student society (And that's me being generous). Whatever happens, shuffle the exec once in a while and carry on as before.

Anonymous said...

Even though Johnson is no longer in the university brief, he should be dragged in front of the Commons and the relevant committees in the Commons and Lords and forced to apologise for his actions.

There also need to be very serious questions to Number 10 about the interference of SPADS in the Civil Service procedures. And that should include the option of the people in question being named, shamed and then sacked.

None of this will happen. Johnson can breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that his big brother has managed to make an even bigger fool of himself than normal during today's Radio 4 interview.

Jonathan said...

What baffles me and many more is how stupid and incompetent the Talc brothers Johnson could be, announcing Tobes new role at at Midnight past one on New Year's Day, did they not consider that their Harry Hill lookalikely mate's social media posts would be rummaged over by us lefties?

Jonathan said...

Was Tobes handsomely paid for being the Fall Guy for the Talc brothers?