Some who fall from grace take the hint and quietly shuffle off to more mundane activities; others keep on coming back for more, when most people would rather they had joined those in the first category. And some just refuse to take the hint, which brings us to the latest self-promotion and nanoviolin recital combo from the loathsome Toby Young.
The deeply unpleasant Tobes fell from grace earlier this year after he was appointed to the board of the new Office for Students, only for his less than totally illustrious social media past to rapidly catch up with him. He lost not only that role, but stepped down from the directorship of the New Schools Network. This he ascribed to the “Twitter mob”, which was complete baloney. It was his own fault, and his alone.
But he was not downhearted, nor was he without his connections, and so Tobes was given a ten minute slot on BBC Radio 4 Broadcasting House this morning to whinge and carp ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam, about how rotten everyone had been to him and how he wasn’t getting invited to lots of free piss-ups this Christmas.
It’s fair to say that this has been received as not being his, or indeed the Corporation’s, finest hour. As Nicholas Guyatt has noted, “The premise of this morning’s interview was that Toby had been “defenestrated” by his resignation and shunned by everyone; though mostly this seems to mean that he got slightly fewer Christmas party invitations this year”.
There was more. “After accepting the glamorous suggestion that his situation has parallels with the Profumo scandal, Young points out that the real tragedy is that he no longer has a way to do charity work. (As if he’d be turned away from his local food bank if he cared to volunteer.) … Then he half apologised for his comments on Twitter, blaming his sexism on alcohol, while making no reference to his total lack of qualifications to oversee higher education or his fascination with genetics and intelligence”. And more.
“He made a really outstanding nopology — it’s a good one because for a while you think he’s going to say that he’s learned something, but then he proves himself triumphantly unrepentant … And we got the amazing suggestion that perhaps it’s good that he has to “start again” because he was otherwise “destined” to become a member of the House of Lords; as if he was Luke Skywalker rather than the son of an actual lord”.
Tobes likened himself to John Profumo and then suggested he had been “destined” for the House of Lords. This is weapons grade claptrap: Young, as Guyatt points out, retains his Spectator column, contributes to national newspapers, and keeps on peddling the same line as before “without remorse or epiphany” (full thread, withy audio snippets, HERE).
Small wonder, then, that there was so little sympathy for Tobes: he has enjoyed the kind of privilege denied to more than 95% of Britons, been awarded a series of jobs at which he has failed miserably, made a total arsehole of himself in public, slagged off those who really do work hard for a living, been caught cosying up to eugenicists, and has generally been a shite journalist. And now he’s whining about being rumbled.
That’s why Toby Young really is this year’s Christmas turkey. The only thing left is for someone to administer the stuffing.
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