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No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Sunday 8th February 2015

Mylene Klass should keep quiet and cough up. Life's bleak enough without shopping for kids

I don’t understand why Myleene Klass objects to being asked to bring a cash gift to a child's birthday party. Does Klass actually enjoy traipsing round Westfield on a Saturday morning looking for a suitable gift for a child? I have four children under 12, each in a class of 30, and the custom is for each of their classmates to invite all the others to their birthday parties. So that’s 116 parties my children are invited to each year, and 116 presents I have to find. If one of their parents suggested I simply give their child £10 instead I would fall to my knees and thank god.

Come to think of it, I’m going to do exactly this when my son Ludo turns 10 next month. The amount of presents my children get on their birthdays is staggering, all of them worthless tat. And children are notoriously reluctant to part with anything once they’ve received it, so re-gifting is out. No, a place must be found for each plastic car and stuffed animal, with the upshot that their bedrooms now look like junk heaps. At the last birthday party our youngest son had, my wife and I managed to hide all the presents from him and when he went to bed I took them all to the local charity shop in a big black bin liner. He’s still none the wiser. (To read more, click here.)

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Thursday 5th February 2015

Like Arthur Daley playing Garry Kasparov: why I won’t miss Harry Redknapp

I can’t say I’m surprised by the departure of Harry Redknapp. Since I started supporting QPR in 2008, we’ve gone through six managers – 12 if you count the caretakers. Indeed, it’s a miracle he’s lasted this long. The club was relegated during his first term in charge and we only returned to the Premier League thanks to a last-minute goal by Bobby Zamora in the play-off final against Derby at the end of last season. I was at that match and Derby were easily the better side.

If Harry had been sensible, he would have announced his retirement after that game and gone out on a high. But what Enoch Powell said of politicians is also true of football managers: their careers always end in failure. QPR have been dismal this term, in spite of the £36.5m Harry spent on new players over the summer. We’ve lost our last 12 away games, a premier league record, and are currently languishing second from bottom. Avoiding relegation will now take a miracle, particularly as Harry only brought in one first team player during the January transfer window and then tried to give him back on deadline day. (To read more, click here.)

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Tuesday 3rd February 2015

The Conservatives open a second front on education!

Michael Gove probably has mixed feelings about David Cameron’s promise to wage “all-out war” against under-performing schools if the Conservatives win the election. Isn’t that exactly what the Chief Whip did during his four-years as Education Secretary? And isn’t that precisely the sort of inflammatory language that led to his being replaced by the more emollient Nicky Morgan?

On the other hand, he will be pleased that the Prime Minister has re-affirmed his commitment to education reform. Some of Gove’s allies have expressed concern that the revolution he began has slowed since Morgan took over and “the Blob” – Gove’s name for the educational establishment – is reasserting itself. (To read more, click here.)

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Friday 30th January 2015

I'm hoping against hope that Labour will open a second front on education

For a brief moment earlier this week, I thought education might become an issue in the general election campaign. The education select committee’s lukewarm report on the government’s academy and free school programmes was leaked to the Guardian on Monday and the accompanying story claimed that Labour hoped to open a “second front” following the “success” of its attacks over the NHS.

“It is undeniable that the last Labour government dramatically improved school standards in secondary education,” said Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Education Secretary. “But the progress that we made… is being undone by a government that is obsessed with market ideology in education.”

Now, I would welcome this, obviously, and not just because it would mean Michael Gove playing a more prominent role in the Conservative’s campaign. The main reason is because I think the government should be proud of its record in education. (To read more, click here.)

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Tuesday 27th January 2015

Searching for PC phrase can go horribly wrong

Watching Benedict Cumberbatch talking about the lack of opportunities for black British actors on the American chat show Tavis Smiley last week makes for painful viewing. He tries to think of a suitable alternative to the word “black”, hits on one (“coloured”), hesitates for a second, then blurts it out and carries on talking as quickly as he can, hoping no one will notice in case he’s made a mistake. (To read more, click here.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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Twitter RT @FASNAvoice: Pls RT@toadmeister We must protect school freedom. Read @fasnavoice's letter signed by nearly 200 heads here link  (4 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 -


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