After this blog broke the news that the press had begun to turn on the loathsome Toby Young and his appointment to the board of the new Office for Students, eyes were then on the Sunday papers. Here, the Mail on Sunday reinforced the view that Tobes had lost his press pals as political editor Simon Walters gave him both barrels, and the ominous headline “PM’S DISGUST AT STUDENT TSAR’S SORDID TWEETS”.
The sub-headline was no better: “May slams obscene and sexist posts by University watchdog as female MPs call for his scalp”. While Theresa May did not call for Tobes to go when she appeared before the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning, his support is slipping away. And the steadfast Marr paper review defence mounted by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson will do neither he, nor his pal, any favours.
That is because, driven by both the Murdoch and Rothermere press, the vultures are now circulating over Tobes’ bedraggled presence. While the MoS boasts Nicky Morgan and Sarah Woolaston united in condemnation at the outpouring of sexism, misogyny, laddism, porn addiction, masturbatory indulgence, and generally obnoxious behaviour, the Sunday Times has added populist Tory back bencher Robert Halfon.
Halfon, in a piece for Red Box, states “Voters will not reward the Conservatives for elevating this divisive and elitist figure to a position of responsibility” before concluding that the appointment “shines a dark light on the Conservatives. It reinforces negative stereotypes of the ‘chumocracy’, the defence of the indefensible, and an image of my party as heartless and cruel”. And there was more.
Fraser Nelson - risible defence
After noting that Young is not the only one to have helped set up free schools, Halfon observes that what voters hear “is some posh Tory apparently denigrating disabled ramps, working class children and those with additional needs. As someone who has a walking disability, the thought of whatever building I enter having a disabled ramp fills me with joy. When you hear or read of people saying such things as Young has said, you begin to entertain some very unkind thoughts about that individual”.
Rob Halfon - telling intervention
He adds “This criticism of Toby Young is not about political correctness - far from it … Nor is this an argument about free speech … Toby Young can say what he likes, but being a shock-jock is not the same as a University regulator”. Meanwhile, Fraser Nelson was ridiculed by Alex Andreou, who riposted “I must admit, I laughed out loud at @FraserNelson defending Toby Young’s statements, as recent as 2015, with ‘look, these are historic tweets’. I have belly-button fluff older than that”.
Could it get worse? It certainly could: Walters’ MoS article also contains the ominous assertion “Environment Secretary Mr Gove hailed Mr Young last week for ‘working night and day to provide great state schools for children of every background’. But asked yesterday if Mr Gove still endorsed Mr Young, a source close to the Environment Secretary declined to comment”. Tobes is losing supporters. That leads only one way.
He can go now and preserve some dignity for volunteering his resignation. Or he can wait, and have someone else take the decision for him. No pressure, Tobes.