What is the point of Toby Young? No really, what does he do? He seems to make a living being obnoxious. Is that all he does? Clearly I’ve take the wrong career path because he seems to be making a much better living doing that, than I do as a teacher in an inner-London secondary. I would argue that I’m more useful to society, but there you go, people clearly enjoy gawping at his buffoonery.
And what a spectacular example of his special blend of nonsense was displayed in his column today. The Observer had dared to attack Katherine Birbalsingh’s proposed free school in Tooting and Toby has responded by spewing bile all over the page. Not only is it bile, it’s also nonsense.
First of all Toby says that the writer Daniel Boffey has tried “to create the impression that there's growing local opposition to the Michaela Community School – Birbalsingh's free school – which is due to open in Wandsworth this September.”
Er, Toby, hate to break it to you mate, but there is opposition, and it is growing. Now I know you almost certainly take the Gove line that anyone that opposes these plans is some kind of backward ideologue, but I’m afraid that some people feel that new schools should be planned in conjunction with other schools and not just foisted on a community whether they’re needed or not, and damn the negative impact on other schools.
Then Toby goes on to attack Jane Eades, an officer of the Anti-Academies Alliance (AAA). He takes umbrage at the fact that she is referred to as “a retired teacher from Wandsworth” despite that fact that Janes actually is… wait for it… a retired teacher from Wandsworth. Toby tries to imply that Jane and the AAA are some kind of sub-branch of the SWP. Again Toby, I hate to break this to you, but I’m also an officer of the AAA and, like Jane, I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the SWP.
Not that I’m denying that there are members of the SWP in the AAA. We’re a broad church and our members come from across the political spectrum. We even have some Lib Dems and even the (very) occasional Tory.
I tell you who HAS been in the SWP though. According to a local SWP organiser, Katherine Birbalsingh’s name appears on an old membership list he has. Who’s the “Trot” now Tobes?
Next Toby chucks his toys out of the pram over the figures cited by the local anti-free school campaign which show that there isn’t any need for a new school in Wandsworth. I know Toby, they’re annoying aren’t they, figures, especially when they say something you don’t want to hear. But, there you have it, no school is needed in Wandsworth whether you like it or not.
Oh and don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’ve changed your description of Lambeth Council from “hard-left”. Even you realised that was stretching the truth a bit too far. Hard-left? Lambeth? Oh, if only!
Finally Toby moves on to talking about the proposed site for Birbalsingh’s free school, the Trident Centre, home to a number of local businesses that collectively provide around 400 jobs. Those local businesses are understandably furious that, if this plan goes ahead, they will be pushed out and there will be an inevitable loss of jobs. But wails Toby, “the Trident Centre – have signalled their intention to sell it willy nilly”.
Where does one even start with this? Yes Toby, they probably have. They’ve sniffed the scent of big bucks from the Dept of Education and, quelle surprise, they have indicated that they might be willing to sell. Whodathunk???
Toby rounds off his fit of pique with a final dig about the SWP “and its various fronts”. You know Toby, you really ought to see someone about this 'reds under the bed’ obsession you have. It does seem to distort your view of things. Although if you are looking for former members of the SWP, there is one right under your nose…