Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Thursday 22nd January 2015

Was it us wot won Page 3 back?

The Sun was being widely credited last night with having pulled off a brilliant bit of trolling, first appearing to kill off Page 3, then resuscitating it a week later. If the paper’s intention was to make its feminist critics look ridiculous, it succeeded. The triumphalist reaction of the anti-Page 3 campaigners, patting themselves on the back for having achieved a tremendous victory, now looks very silly indeed. A good example is this tweet by the Labour Party, quoting its glorious deputy leader:

But was that the Sun’s intention? I’m not so sure. One of the reasons the Sun hasn’t dropped Page 3 before now is the worry that it would lose some readers to the Daily Star as a result. Consequently, if it was thinking seriously about doing it, it would probably test the water first by dropping it for a few days and examining the impact on sales. It could well be that the reason Page 3 is back is because there was a sharp drop in its circulation. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Wednesday 21st January 2015

George Orwell would have mourned demise of Page 3

"I for one would be sorry to see them go," wrote George Orwell. "They are a sort of saturnalia, a harmless rebellion against virtue." He was writing about the seaside postcards of Donald McGill in 1941, but his defence of them and their "enthusiastic indecency" could equally well apply to Page 3.

Orwell's argument was that McGill's caricatures of women, "with breasts or buttocks grossly over-emphasized", gave expression to "the Sancho Panza view of life". There's a fat little squire in all of us, he thought, although few of us are brave enough to admit it. "He is the unofficial self, the voice of the belly protesting against the soul," he wrote. "His tastes lie towards safety, soft beds, no work, pots of beer and women with 'voluptuous' figures." (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Monday 19th January 2015

Archbishop John Sentamu is wrong about free schools on every count

John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, has never been shy about courting publicity. He frequently churns out controversial opinion pieces for the red-tops and, just in case they don’t receive enough attention, he’s in the habit of re-issuing them as “press releases”. (You can see a list of the most recent here. He has opinions on almost everything, from same-sex marriage (against) to William and Kate’s decision to live together before their wedding (in favour). But with his latest outburst about free schools, the tabloid bishop has jumped the shark.

Free schools, according to Sentamu, only benefit the well off and divert millions of pounds from more deserving neighbouring state schools. They only appeal to “people with means”, he said, and dismissed the concept of school choice as a waste of resources.

"What should have happened is that the Government should have invested all that money in raising the level of achievement in schools that are less achieving, not by putting in these so-called competing places," he said. “If I am being very blunt I think it was a sort of failed attempt to create grammars.”

Needless to say, he’s wrong on every count. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Friday 16th January 2015

These days, writing isn't a career. It's a rich man's hobby

I envy William Hague. Not the £2.5 million country house he’s just bought in Wales, although that would be nice. Rather, the fact that he plans to spend his retirement writing books.

These days, you need a substantial private income – or a public sector pension – to be a full-time writer. Last year, a survey of 2,500 professional authors found that their median income in 2013 was £11,000. That’s a drop of 29 per cent since 2005 and significantly below the minimum salary required to achieve a decent standard of living. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 15th January 2015

David Sedaris is right: litter is a class issue

David Sedaris is my new hero. Not because he’s such a funny writer, but because he’s obsessed with litter. He told a group of MPs last week that he spends up to five hours a day picking up fast food containers and fag ends around his home in Pulborough, West Sussex. Thanks to his unstinting labours, he’s become a local hero and has had a rubbish lorry named after him.

I’ve some way to go before I qualify for such an honour, but I do my part. For instance, on Monday I spent an hour clearing the litter from the flowerbed outside the West London Free School in Hammersmith. This was rubbish left by passers-by, not the pupils. Sedaris said the thing that infuriates him the most are crisp packets tied into a knot and stuffed into soft drink cans, but I can trump that. Among the detritus I came across on Monday was a fresh pile of human excrement. All I can say is, I’m glad the individual in question wasn’t squatting in the flowerbed when we had our school open day last October. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 1 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Tuesday 13th January 2015

What do Americans think life is really like in Britain?

I sympathise with the people of Birmingham. It must be galling to discover that so little is known about your hometown in America that a “terrorism expert” can appear on national television and describe it as a “totally Muslim” city where “non-Muslims simply don't go”. That claim was made last week on Fox News by Steve Emerson, founder of The Investigative Project on Terrorism.

But Brummies can take some comfort from the fact that at least Emerson had heard of their city and knew it was in England. My wife, who lived in New York for a year in her twenties, got a blank look when she told the man running the boxing class at her gym that she was from London. “Is that in Australia?” he asked. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 8th January 2015

The Imitation Game is wrong to try and turn Alan Turing into a martyr to neurodiversity

When I first heard the story of Alan Turing in my late teens I made what must be quite a common mistake. I concluded that his conviction in 1952 for committing a homosexual act was indefensible in light of his immense contribution to the war effort. The fact that he was forced to undergo a course of hormonal "therapy" which led to his suicide two years later underlined just how badly he was treated. The British authorities should have been erecting statues to him, not hounding him to his death because he was attracted to other men.

The reason this was a "mistake" is because I'd made a connection between Turing's war record and the injustice of persecuting him for being homosexual, when it would have been equally wrong if he'd been a conscientious objector. People's right to have sex with whomever they choose, provided they've reached the age of consent, isn't contingent on their having done something heroic. By the same token, it;s not a valid argument to say that criminalising homosexual acts is wrong because some homosexuals contribute an enormous amount to our national life. Let's call all variations of this mistake the Turing Fallacy.

The Imitation Game – the new British film about Turing starring Benedict Cumberbatch – commits this fallacy, but not in the way you'd expect. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Friday 2nd January 2015

Tatler's guide to best state schools will help dismantle educational apartheid

For the second year running, Tatler has published a guide to Britain’s best state schools. Among those institutions singled out for praise is Grey Coat Hospital, the Church of England secondary school in Westminster where Michael Gove sends his daughter and where the Prime Minister is likely to send his eldest child in September.

“Put your wallet away,” concludes the glossy magazine. “Sometimes, the right choice isn’t the most expensive one.”

Predictably enough, the guide isn’t without its critics. For one thing, it only includes 34 schools – 12 primaries and 22 secondaries. Are these really the “best” state schools in the country? There are more than 20,000 in England alone and Tatler makes no pretence of visiting every one. Without doubt, some of the schools Tatler has left out are more deserving of a place in the top 34 than those it has included. This is a survey based on anecdotal evidence provided by friends of the magazine’s staff, not a thorough scientific analysis.

Then there are those who say the guide undermines the inclusive ethos that all state schools should embrace. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 1st January 2015

Why I abandoned my plan to unite the right

This time last year, I wrote an article saying my main project in 2014 would be to unite the right. That is, I would start a political movement that would bring together Conservative and UKIP activists in a tactical voting alliance. We would select a few dozen battleground constituencies and campaign for whichever candidate was best placed to win in each seat, whether UKIP or Tory. The name for this movement was to be ‘Country Before Party’.

The initial response was encouraging. Hundreds of people emailed me offering their support, including MEPs, members of the House of Lords, ex-members of Parliament, and so on. I set up a website, assembled a steering committee and started drafting detailed plans. I felt like I was really on to something.

The most common reaction among seasoned political observers was to assume I was proposing a full-blown electoral pact and then pour cold water on the idea. But that was missing the point. I was proposing an informal pact between the parties’ supporters, not a formal pact between their leaders. I was adamant that my idea didn’t depend on the blessing of David Cameron and Nigel Farage. It could still fly even in the face of their opposition.

But I was secretly hoping that, behind closed doors, the party panjandrums would be more sympathetic. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 1 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Tuesday 23rd December 2014

Great Lives: Michael Young

Listen to Brian Eno and me discussing my late father Michael Young on Radio 4's Great Lives.

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 2 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

 << Older Blog Entries     Blog Archive    

Twitter RT @LordAshcroft: YouGov/SundayTimes poll CON 32% LAB 32% UKIP 15% GRNS 7% LDEM 7%  (3 hours ago)


West London Free School Primary praised in guide to best state schools -
In defence of free schools by Toby Young -
Right to sleep with children was a "civil liberty" supported by the NCCL by Andrew Gilligan -
Woody Allen allegations: Not so fast by Bob Weide -
That's it. If the BBC don't don't want me on I'm boycotting them by Dan Hodges -
Boris Johnson says Tristram Hunt should resign -
In defence of my sister by Dominic Lawson - Daily Mail
Data briefing: free schools by the numbers -
Malcolm Gladwell's books are books are analgesics for those who seek temporary relief from abiding anxiety by John Gray -
Bring back the National Liberal Party by Nick Boles -
The hypocrisy of Mehdi Hasan by Guido Fawkes -
Ed Miliband is a copper-bottomed loser by the New York Times -
I'm a proud Yid, even if I hate Spurs by Anshel Pfeffer -
Pro-BBC article in the Mail shock! - Daily Mail
Ed Miliband is no leader. He's a vulture by David Aaronovitch -
21 more middle class problems -
Intolerance of humanists who attack faith schools by Brendan O'Neill -
Glenn Greenwald's dishonesty by Louise Mensch -
Arrest of journalist's partner price worth paying for national security by Dan Hodges -
The 13 Most Guardian Headlines Ever -
Twitter troll hysteria is a classic moral panic by Brendan O'Neill -
MC Gove in da house by Michael Deacon -
The criminalisation of journalism by Mick Hume -
Michael Gove gives Sir Humphrey lessons in letter-writing by James Forsyth - Daily Mail
Why educationalists hate Michael Gove by Frank Furedi -
Ed Miliband is the new Neil Kinnock by Trevor Kavanagh -
Check my privilege? B****cks to that by Louise Mensch -
Wind farms are a waste of space by top climate scientist - Daily Mail
Profile of Nigel Farage by Edward Docx -
Win a Leveson love birds holiday in Santorini! -
Far-Left teachers hijacking protests against Gove -
Margaret Thatcher: The softer side by Andrew Roberts -
Margaret Thatcher: Warrior by Matthew Parris -
Margaret Thatcher: Punk savior by Niall Ferguson -
The truth about Hacked Off by Andrew Gilligan -
David Miliband was a morally corrupt profiteer by Peter Oborne -
Hard left credentials of Gove's "academic" critics by the Daily Mail - Daily Mail
Muslims infected by virus of anti-Semitism by Mehdi Hasan -
Britain's draconian new press regulations will stifle freedom of speech by the New York Times -
The politicians' revenge on the press by Quentin Letts - Daily Mail
The press is the last bastion of free thinking by Melanie Phillips - Daily Mail
May Day, May Day by Matthew Norman - The Independent
Mila Kunis interviewed by hapless Radio 1 DJ -
Postmodern Tories by Roger Scruton -
Profile of Michael Gove - Daily Mail
David Cameron is a man of principle among pygmies - Daily Mail
The mafia links of a former Hollywood mogul by Bryan Borrough - Vanity Fair
The Wired magazine article that inspired Argo by Joshuah Bearman -
Panic! The anatomy of a political crisis by Dan Hodges -
The British intelligentsia's libel against Israel by Melanie Phillips -
Review of Joseph Anton: A Memoir by Zöe Heller -
Is Esquire's interview with Megan Fox the worst piece ever written? by Jamie Lee Curtis Taite -
How Moore, Burchill and Featherstone all had a lovely bitch fight by Rod Liddle - The Spectator
Julie Burchill's censored article on the trans lobby -
The great aid mystery by Jonathan Foreman - The Spectator
How Les Mis taught me how to hate again by Matt Walsh -
Fairness is at the heart of Osborne's strategy by Matthew d'Ancona -
Jim Dowd MP v the Spectator by Fraser Nelson - The Spectator
The Guardian has become the Vichy Evening News by Dan Hodges -
Spectator would defy new state regulator by Fraser Nelson - The Spectator
The Leveson Inquiry is the Left's chance to avenge itself on the Right by Benedict Brogan -
Daily Mail investigation into the Leveson Inquiry - Daily Mail
The hight-minded, Left-wing paedo hunters by Frank Furedi -
Britain's press must remain free by Tim Luckhurst -
Obit of a legendary Labour whip by Nick Robinson -
Referring to students as "learners" is infantilizing by Denis Hayes
Toby Young for Prime Minister by Jake Wallis Simons -
Ed Miliband's house is worth £2.3m! - Daily Mail
The election that never was by Damian McBride -
JK Rowling despises everyone poorer than her by Charles Moore -
JK Rowling's new novel is boring, Left-wing agitprop by Jan Moir - Daily Mail
Getting rid of Cameron would be electoral suicide by Simon Heffer - Daily Mail
Naomi Wolf: Dotty and Dim by Zöe Heller -
Gove Levels - Daily Mail
The End of Men? by Hanna Rosin -
Posh-bashing is usually hypocritical balls by Hannah Betts - Guardian
Five conservative messages smuggled into Dark Knight Rises by John Boot -
Multiculturalism? Nonsense. The Olympics are a victory for patriotism and common British values by Dan Hannan - Daily Mail
Dissenters are cast out in the name of "inclusion" by Melanie Phillips - Daily Mail
Martin Durkin's dyspeptic view of the Olympics opening ceremony -
Batman: The ultimate conservative hero by Robert Colville -
Why the Tories need to grow a pair by Dan Hodges -
The day Gordon Brown came to power by Damian McBride -
Owen Jones *is* Justin Beiber by Dan Hodges -
Why Britain shouldn't be part of a European super-state by Charles Moore -
Fixing Britain's character flaws by Anthony Seldon -
The shame of Britain's public school elite by Matthew Norman -
In defence of Murdoch by John O'Sullivan -
In politics, you're either up or down by John Kampfner - The Independent
James Lovelock recants - Daily Mail
Let's give Polly Toynbee the Britain she wants by Tim Worstall -
Why Labour should support free schools by Andrew Adonis -
Free schools are breaking down barrier to decent education for all by Charles Moore -
Arrest of Sun journalists poses threat to press freedom -
The anti-academies campaign is led by Trots, says Michael Gove -
Lasagne-gate - Daily Mail
Profit need not be a dirty word in education by Fraser Nelson -
Osbornism by Matthew D'Ancona -
Can Michael Gove save Britain's schools? by Simon Heffer - Daily Mail
The Magnificent Victory at Cardinal Vaughan by Charles Moore -
Michael Gove and the nest of vipers by Ian Birrell - Daily Mail
Academies policy has been rapidly vindicated by Fraser Nelson - The Spectator
Mossbourne Academy's outstanding A-level results - Guardian
I blame therapy culture for the riots by Dennis Hayes -
Phone-hacking rage is Caliban raging at his own reflection by Dominic Lawson - The Independent
Why I'm a Conservative by Toby Young -
The Government must crack the teaching unions by His Grace -
"Ideological" is Labour's empty insult by Dominic Lawson - The Independent
There is an alternative to the cuts – deeper and faster cuts -
Leader of UK Uncut is middle class Oxford graduate - Daily Mail
Stephen Glover on the real magnitude of the cuts: Just 3% in real terms in the lifetime of this Parliament - Daily Mail
Peter Sissons dissects the BBC's leftwing bias - Daily Mail
Student protester privately-educated Cambridge undergraduate with father worth £78m - Daily Mail
Ed Balls gave £600,000 of taxpayers' money to the football team he supports - Daily Mail
Dominic Sandbrook on the rise of the Political Class - Daily Mail
Interview with Toby Young in Attain magazine -
Topic of Cancer by Christopher Hitchens - Vanity Fair
The perils of being a freelance journalist by Richard Morgan -
Profile of David Cameron by Matthew D'Ancona -


Andrew Lilico
Andrew Neil
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone


AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from

  • Buy the DVD from

  • IMdb Page on the film