Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Tuesday 30th June 2015

IPSO throws out complaint brought by ex-editor of the Economist

Press regulator IPSO has thrown out a complaint brought against the Telegraph by an ex-editor of the Economist for publishing a review I wrote of his pro-EU propaganda film The Great European Disaster Movie. You can read the original article here and IPSO's judgement here.

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

Thursday 25th June 2015

In defence of Michael Gove's grammar guide

Few things are more likely to provoke the disapproval of the [itals] bien pensant [itals] Left than criticising someone else’s grammar. The very idea that one way of speaking is more “correct” than another is an absolute anathema to them. Under the guise of being helpful, it asserts the supremacy of the white educated bourgeoisie and seeks to rob the working class and ethnic minorities of any pride in their own culture. It’s a form of “linguistic imperialism”.

This explains the tidal wave of hostility that engulfed Michael Gove earlier this week after he issued some letter-writing guidance to officials in the Ministry of Justice. Typical Gove, eh? First he tries to impose his narrow, right wing view of British history on the nation’s schoolchildren and now he’s telling senior civil servants that they should all write exactly like him. Time to stick his head in the stocks again and reach for the rotten tomatoes.

I first became aware of Gove’s latest “outrage” via the reaction on Twitter and Googled his memo expecting to find a detailed enunciation of grammatical principles so archaic they hadn’t been in use since the outbreak of the Second World War: “The particle ‘to’ and the infinitive form of the verb should not be separated… etc, etc”

Imagine my surprise, therefore, to discover that the vast majority of Gove’s “rules” weren’t grammatical at all, more of a beginner’s guide to how to write good English. For instance, he counsels against using too many adverbs, which “add little”. Nothing controversial about that. Indeed, it reminded me of Elmore Leonard’s third and fourth rules of good writing: “Never use a verb other than ‘said’ to carry dialogue” and “Never use an adverb to modify the verb ‘said’… he admonished gravely”. (To read more, click here.)

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

Thursday 25th June 2015

The upsides of not being your mother's favourite

I have some sympathy for the Murray siblings - both the Wimbledon champion and his older brother. Last week, their mother, Judy tweeted a picture of Andy with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, along with the words “The Special One with my Special One”.

“Thank you mum,” chided Jamie (the elder by a year), for her apparent favouritism. But it wasn’t long before Andy volleyed back with his version of events. “We all know you are number 1 son noobs,” he tweeted. “Best presents at Christmas, bigger bedroom, blame everything on me, etc.” In fact, he’s always credited his long-standing status as the number two son for his competitive spirit and success.

I know what it’s like to have a high-achieving older sibling, as well as a mother who is less than doting. My sister Sophie was two years ahead of me during our school years and while she won all the glittering prizes I was the class dunce. (To read more, click here.)

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

Monday 22nd June 2015

At last, some good news for eurosceptics

Since the election, eurosceptics have had little to cheer about. Yes, we’re finally getting that in/out referendum we’ve been agitating for, but we look increasingly unlikely to win it. The wording of the referendum question (Should Britain remain a member of the European Union?) means the europhiles will be able to campaign for a “yes” vote; the government has announced that the “purdah rules” will be relaxed, allowing ministers and officials to make pro-EU announcements during the campaign; and the polls suggests the “yes” side is beating the “no” side by about 55 per cent to 45 per cent at present.

So the publication of a report by Britain’s leading businessmen and women arguing that David Cameron should campaign for a “no” vote unless we’re granted a veto for the UK over EU laws is welcome news. (To read more, click here.)

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

Wednesday 17th June 2015

The best way to end the ‘poshness test’

There’s a warning buried in the detail of the new report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission looking at why top companies employ so few applicants from comprehensive schools: “Though this study provides valuable insights into barriers to the elite professions, there are nevertheless some limitations associated with the chosen research methodology. As a small scale qualitative study, the aim is to explore issues and generalisability is limited.”

Unfortunately, most of the pundits who’ve commented on the report so far haven’t read this caveat. “New research… reveals the privileged choose and look after their own,” wrote Owen Jones in the Guardian. “They don’t like accents that sound a bit, well, ‘common’.” Grace Dent made the same point in the Independent: “The UK’s elite financial services and legal firms are reportedly operating a ‘poshness test’ that systematically locks out talented working class people.”

Well, I’ve read the report and it contains little hard evidence that high-paying professions are discriminating against applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds. (To read more, click here.)

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

Wednesday 17th June 2015


Just before Jeremy Corbyn made it on to the Labour leadership ballot, Ladbrokes were offering odds of 100 to one against him winning. Now, they’re down to 20 to one and falling. I wish I’d had the foresight to get on that sooner. By September he could well be the favourite. At least, he could if I have anything to do with it.

With the first televised Labour leadership hustings being broadcast tonight, I’d like to take this opportunity to endorse the #ToriesForCorbyn campaign. I can’t claim credit for this hashtag – that honour belongs to Marcus Walker, the associate director of the Anglican Centre in Rome – but I will certainly do my best to promote it. As the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson pointed out on Twitter yesterday, Labour’s new electoral rules mean that all members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters who join before 12pm on the 12 August can vote in the leadership election. The cheapest option is to become a “registered supporter”, which you can do here for £3. Once signed up, you can play your part in ensuring Labour remains out of power for a decade. (To read more, click here.)

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

Thursday 11th June 2015

Meet the Canadian Ed Miliband

I’ve been reading Fire and Ashes, Michael Ignatieff’s account of his disastrous foray into politics, in an attempt to understand where it all went wrong for Ed Miliband. In combination with Patrick Wintour’s long post-mortem in the Guardian, in which he talks to many of the people in Miliband’s inner circle, it’s extremely illuminating.

For those unfamiliar with his story, Ignatieff is a left-wing Harvard professor who in 2004 received a surprise visit by three “men in black” – high-ups in the Liberal Party of Canada who sounded him out about making a run for the leadership. Beyond working on Pierre Troudeau’s Presidential campaign as a student in 1968, Ignatieff was a political virgin, but the three fixers thought that might be an asset because it meant he wasn’t tainted by the party’s bitter sectarian in-fighting or recent financial scandals. Ignatieff said “yes” and after being elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 2006 became the Leader of the Opposition two years later.

He was a disaster. In the 2011 general election, his party lost 43 of its 77 seats, finishing in third place, while Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won an overall majority. It was the worst result the Liberals had ever recorded and Ignatieff was the first Canadian Leader of the Opposition to lose his seat since 1878. (To read more, click here.)

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

Wednesday 27th May 2015

How Did We Get Here? A Post-Election Post-Mortem

The 2015 General Election may be over, but the political fallout is still very much raining over the UK. With David Cameron now starting to build his new empire with some heavy handed tactics regarding Europe, a large portion of the country are now asking the obvious question, how did we get into this position?

However, that's not the only question the country is currently pondering. Will we stay in the EU? How is the deficit going to be redressed? As well as making great fodder for those engaging in pub debates, these uncertainties have given online odd makers and gaming operators a wealth of events to hang their proverbial betting hats upon.

Of course, to know where you're going it's important to know where you've been and, if you want to speculate on the direction the country is headed, you need the answer to the original question, how did we get into this position?

To refresh your memories and show you exactly what the country did and didn't vote for, we've got a four-minute round-up of the 2015 General Election's highlights. Picking out all the best bits, this video should shed some light on why Mr. Cameron and the Conservatives are now calling the shots in Downing Street.

Indeed, was it Nick Clegg's zip wire antics that left the Lib Dems floundering? Was Ed Miliband's interview with Russell Brand a PR disaster? These questions (and many more) have been answered in this post-election breakdown and "should" give you a clue as to where we're heading in the coming months and years.

Will Malen

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

Saturday 6th June 2015

If I were a cultural Marxist, I might be thinking about giving up

In his Memoirs, Kingsley Amis includes a story about meeting Roald Dahl at a party in the 1970s. Dahl advises him to write a children’s book – “That’s where the money is” – and brushes aside his objection that he doesn’t think it would be any good. “Never mind, the little bastards’d swallow it,” he says. Then, a few minutes later, Dahl raises himself to his full height, and, with the air of a man asserting his integrity in the face of an outrageous slur, says: “If you do decide to have a crack, let me give you one word of warning. Unless you put everything you’ve got into it, unless you write it from the heart, the kids’ll have no use for it. They’ll see you’re having them on… Just you bear that in mind as a word of friendly advice.”

I was reminded of this anecdote last Saturday while watching The Twits, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel at the Royal Court. As a production, it was a peculiar combination of cynicism and sincerity – condescendingly didactic and painfully earnest at the same time. (To read more, click here.)

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

Thursday 28th May 2015

For the SNP to complain about Alistair Carmichael's "dishonesty" is laughable

I couldn’t quite believe it when Nicola Sturgeon called for the resignation of Alistair Carmichael, the former Scottish Secretary, over his role in the leaked memo affair. As readers will recall, the Daily Telegraph published a confidential document during the election campaign that purported to be an account of a conversation between Sturgeon and the French Ambassador in which she said she’d prefer David Cameron to Ed Miliband as Prime Minister. Carmichael has now owned up to leaking the document, which originated in the Scottish Office, but this isn’t the cause of Sturgeon’s outrage. No, Carmichael’s sin was denying all knowledge of the leak when asked about it at the time. For this, apparently, he should “consider his position”.

Politicians pretend to be shocked by each other’s behaviour all the time, but this is a particularly shameless example. To begin with, there’s more than a smidgen of cold calculation behind the white heat of Sturgeon’s indignation. The reason she has singled out Carmichael’s alleged dishonesty rather than his breach of confidentiality is because she doesn’t want anyone to focus on the substance of the memo. Why? Because it was almost certainly an accurate account of what she actually said to the French Ambassador.

But more fundamentally, it’s completely hypocritical of the SNP leader to complain about anyone else’s duplicity given her party’s conduct in the run-up to the referendum. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 3 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

 << Older Blog Entries     Blog Archive     Newer Blog Entries>> 

Twitter RT @beeple: so proud of america. only 8 years after electing first black pres, we're considering electing our first orange one link  (2 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