With much of the media getting very serious about Brexit, or right now the lack of it, there has been precious little light relief to lift the gloom and enable the masses to regain their sense of humour. But cometh the hour, cometh the clown, as someone at the BBC found their ghastly mistake of inviting the loathsome Toby Young on to Politics Live turned to comedy gold as The Great Man showed he had lost none of his acquired idiocy.
Toby Young - pretending to be an expert
Mariana Mazzucato - no need to pretend
Showing that the Beeb never learns when it comes to mistakenly rehabilitating those who are beyond redemption, Tobes was invited on partly to pronounce judgment on a new book by economics professor Mariana Mazzucato. The fact that she is an economics professor should have told Tobes something - like that she might know her subject.
Tobes had decided that her book advocated more state intervention. It does not. She had to point out “Corbyn is always criticised for being 1970s. This is 1970s. What we’re hearing from Toby is the old debate about state versus market”. She spoke eloquently and displayed a grasp of facts and issues that was beyond Tobes, who was reduced to bleating “look at HS2”, which he also knows nothing about.
He passed judgment on her book. She pointed out - correctly - that he had not read it. His counter was to excuse himself by saying he’d read the press release. He was, let us not drive this one round the houses for too long, out of his depth. Yet on he ploughed.
Tobes’ combination of wilful ignorance and arrogant propagandising reached its zenith as the subject of European elections was broached. Being an MEP, he claimed, was to be part of some mythical gravy train. He had read about this in the Telegraph. Sadly, there is more to being an MEP - except for UKIP and former UKIP participants - than just turning up and taking the money. Like serving constituents. But Tobes couldn’t grasp that.
Instead, he declared that should the UK participate in those elections this year, he would consider standing for Nigel “Thirsty” Farage’s Brexit Party. Had he spoken to them? Well, no, but he would talk to them if they wished to call him. By this time, Prof Mazzucato did not need to add any further comment. Tobes looked stupid enough already.
As Owen Jones observed, “I adore @MazzucatoM, yet simultaneously feel very sorry for her. One of the most intelligent, original, thought-provoking economists on Earth, compelled to debate with boorish, ignorant internet trolls on television”. Alex Andreou added “I’m a big fan of @MazzucatoM’s economic insight. I am as big a fan of her silent reaction to the idea @toadmeister will consider standing for the Brexit party as ‘a non-political candidate’, but only ‘if they call’ him”. There was more.
The Tweeter known as @SpillerOfTea envisioned “[At the BBC] ‘We’re doing a programme’ … ‘Ok, do you want me to book some experts with several years’ experience to give us their considered and well-founded views?’ … ‘No get me a shouty, misogynistic bollock with a face drawn on it’ … ‘I think Toby Young is free?’ … ‘Perfect.’”
And Kieran Thomas concluded “Toby Young getting absolutely owned by an economist on #PoliticsLive is wonderful. Equally wonderful and infuriating is Toby trying to explain her own book to her, which he admits he hasn’t read. The UK is chock full of absolute wank spanners”. Wankspanner is right. Not a good booking, BBC. Except for the comedy value.
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