Wednesday, 3 January 2018

The searing Tory hypocrisy over people with histories of posting vile online comments

We all remember the outcry over the newly elected Labour MP Jared O'Mara, and his history of posting grotesque misogynistic and homophobic comments right?

We remember how the scandal was whipped up by the hard-right Guido Fawkes blog, and pushed hard by a load of grandstanding Tory MPs don't we?

We also remember that the Labour leadership were quick to suspend Jared O'Mara from the Labour Party over the scandal.

Well the Tories have triggered a scandal of their own by appointing the obnoxious right-wing polemicist Toby Young to lead their new Universities Watchdog.

Young already had a reputation as a person with very nasty views (he's written columns attacking equality legislation and disabled people, describing working class students at Oxford as "stains", and actively promoting eugenics), but this appointment inspired people to go back through his online comments to highlight all manner of vile and outrageous things he's spouted over the years.

These comments range from obsessing over the size of various women's breasts (including those of an underage girl), stating that he'd had his "dick up her arse" about Padma Lakshmi, accusing George Clooney of being "as queer as a coot", and describing Helen Mirren as a grandma he'd like to shag.

Young has subsequently tried to hide the evidence by deleting some 50,000 Tweets, but it's come far too late. If he'd had any sense at all he would have deleted them before applying for a public sector job, or maybe even considered not spewing vile sexist and homophobic comments all over Twitter in the first place.

Given the absolute stink the Guido Fawkes blog kicked up over Jared O'Mara, you would have thought they'd be keen to stick the boot into Toby Young over this scandal too, but somehow no!

Young has actually written a social media post vindicating himself, and thanking Guido Fawkes for the support they've given him!

Then there's the grandstanding Tory MPs who made such a fuss over Jared O'Mara's history of posting sick online comments. They're suddenly much less critical when it's one of their own who has been caught out spewing vile comments all over Twitter. In fact Boris Johnson has even tried to pass off Young's offensive stream of bile as "caustic wit"!

One of the most interesting things to consider is the fact that Jared O'Mara was hastily picked as a Labour candidate in a seat they didn't really expect to win because Theresa May called a snap election, denying Labour the time to conduct the kind of due diligence that would normally be expected.

When O'Mara's grim online comments history was discovered, he was quickly (and rightly) suspended from the party.

Now compare this with the Tory government's decision to overlook more qualified candidates to appoint Toby Young to their Universities Watchdog. They had plenty of time to carefully consider their decision, and to check that he was an appropriate candidate (by reading some of his blogs, or by looking through his Twitter feed for example).

Not only did the Tories fail to do their due diligence when they had plenty of time to do it, they're desperately retreating into defence mode now that his vile comments have been revealed, rather than admitting that a mistake has been made and that he's actually an entirely inappropriate person to have been awarded the supposedly impartial role he's been given.

If there's one thing that's even more glaring than the fact that a supposedly impartial role should never have been given to a vile hard-right polemicist like Toby Young, it's the absolute hypocrisy of the Tory Party (and the Guido Fawkes blog) for bitterly attacking Jared O'Mara for his vile online comments, and then desperately defending Toby Young when he's been caught out posting exactly the same kind of disgusting online abuse.

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