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No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Saturday 20th January 2018

The real reason I’m a target for the twitchfork mob


Shortly after midnight on 1 January my phone began to vibrate repeatedly. Happy New Year messages from absent friends? No, I was trending on Twitter — the third-most popular topic on the network after #NYE. The cause was a story about me in the next day’s Guardian that had just gone live. The headline read: ‘Toby Young to help lead government’s new universities regulator.’

Now, that is wildly overstating it. I’ve been appointed to the board of the Office for Students (OfS), the new body created by merging the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Office for Fair Access — one of 15 people! But the Guardian’s spin was enough to ruin many people’s New Year’s Eve, or so they claimed on Twitter. The thrust of about half the tweets — they were coming thick and fast — was the news that I’d been appointed to ‘lead’ a public body had destroyed what little hope they had that 2018 would be any better than 2017, what with Trump in the White House, Theresa May clinging on after the general election, Article 50 being triggered, etc. (To read more, click here.)

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