While the campaign to top the GCSE results table with his much-vaunted West London Free School may have turned out not necessarily to his advantage, the loathsome Toby Young is not short of activities to which he can dedicate his less than stellar talents, and one of these is crudely slagging off anyone and everyone whose politics do not align with his own particular Weltanschauung. One such is Nick Clegg.
More less than totally grownup contributions from Tobes
The former Lib Dem leader may be a readily identifiable hate figure for those who were not keen about his leading his party into Coalition with the Tories back in 2010, but why Tobes should harbour such a visceral dislike of someone who is approachable, even - as the Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone found out - in Olmedo, the small Spanish town north of Madrid that his wife hails from, is at first unclear. What is Tobes’ beef?
We have seen him take to Twitter to whinge loudly “2 days ago, Nick Clegg said story about Queen backing #Brexit was ‘nonsense’. Today, he’s blaming Gove for leaking it. Which is it?” It was, of course, both - it was a nonsense story that “Oiky” Gove leaked. Ten came the plainly abusive “Nick Clegg is like Michael Dukakis with a lobotomy”, as if Tobes has any room to lecture anyone else about idiocy.
Now he has brought forth “Nick Clegg has misnamed his memoirs. Should be called 'Settling Scores: Why I Am Right and Anyone Who Has Ever Disagreed With Me is Wrong’”. Why is he so teed off with the former Deputy PM? Ah well. One look at Hattenstone’s interview with Clegg tells you all you need to know.
Because Clegg, after his time in Government, has Tobes’ idols Michael “Oiky” Gove, and London’s formerly very occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, sussed. This is what he had to say about their fitness for Government - or lack of it.
“The more I governed with Gove and his team, the more I realised he was just striking a series of superficial poses. You’ve got a generation of politicians very close to the media, people like Boris Johnson and Gove, and the problem is, the skill of tossing off 800 words on one subject and then on another a week later is completely different to governing. With Cameron and Osborne, there was a seriousness about what they were doing - a deadly seriousness I often didn’t like. But with Gove it was just a series of throwaway poses about our kids’ futures”. Dead right. And there was more.
“There’s this ersatz intellectual heft that Gove and his people have that I don’t think is merited … People such as Gove and Johnson have elevated striking poses into a political art form. Their apogee was the referendum. I wanted Gove to win the party leadership. He won the argument, and he should have been in a position of power to face the music”. “Ersatz intellectual heft”, indeed. Just about sums up Gove and Bozza.
That’s why Tobes hates Clegg - because he has looked at two journalists who pretend to be serious politicians, seen through them, and, as we say in God’s Own County, called a spade a bloody shovel. Nick Clegg may have taken some questionable decisions when in Government, but on this he is spot on. Well done him - and Up Yours, Tobes.