Monday, 1 January 2018

The Tories just appointed the unqualified right-wing polemicist Toby Young as their new "Universities Tsar"

In September 2016 Theresa May gave a nauseatingly insincere speech in which she claimed that she wanted to turn Britain into "a place where advantage is based on merit not privilege; where it’s your talent and hard work that matter, not where you were born, who your parents are or what your accent sounds like".

Of course anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of the history of the Tory party, and Theresa May's own record in government will know that they've relentlessly attacked social mobility, and loaded the economic burden of their toxic austerity dogma onto those who can least afford to pay it, whilst lavishing vast handouts and tax cuts on the very wealthiest people in society.

The absurd decision to appoint the hard-right polemicist Toby Young as their new universities tsar just goes to prove how empty Theresa May's meritocracy speech actually was.

Not only is Toby Young completely unqualified for the role he's been appointed to (other than being relentlessly biased in favour of the Tory party), significantly more qualified candidates for the role have been swiftly rejected out of hand.

Take the case of the academic Nazir Afzal who is a former Chief Prosecutor, the pro-chancellor of one university, a director at two, and a visting lecturer at three more. He was rejected without an interview, with the job eventually going to the spectacularly unqualified Toby Young.

The highly qualified academic from a minority background is rejected out of hand in favour of the unqualified white guy who relentlessly propagandises for the Tory party. That's Theresa May's version of "meritocracy" in action.

It doesn't matter how qualified you are for the job, if there's some ridiculously unqualified lickspittle with connections in the Tory party who wants it, you might as well not bother.

This ludicrously anti-meritocratic appointment is yet another demonstration that Theresa May and the Tories are lying through their teeth whenever they talk about meritocracy.

Then there's also Toby Young's disgusting track record of spouting sneering elitist abuse to consider too.

Toby Young is an elitist snob who openly admitted that he only gained entry to Oxford University on a technicality* rather than on merit, who sneered at working class Oxford students who did get there on merit as "stains".

Toby Young is so obnoxious he described wheelchair ramps in schools as a "ghastly" policy and disabled students as "functionally illiterate troglodytes".

Toby Young is so biased in favour of the Tory Party that he smears Labour Party members as being as bad as the Britain First hate mob, but says nothing when serving Tory politicians get caught sharing vile extreme-right propaganda from Britain First and their ilk.

The University and College Union (UCU) summed up how inappropriate this ridiculous appointment is by saying that if the Tories' ne Universities watchdog was "to have any credibility it needed a robust board looking out for students’ interests. Instead we have this announcement sneaked out at new year with Tory cheerleader Toby Young dressed up as the voice of teachers and no representation of staff or students."

It just goes to show how out-of-touch the Tory party has become that they actually imagine that a spectacularly unqualified hard-right polemicist with extreme, obnoxious and incredibly right-wing biased views is the ideal candidate to impartially oversee our universities.

And it just goes to show how much contempt they have for the general public (you) that they think they can get away with making an appointment like this whilst lying through their teeth that they're actually in favour of meritocracy.

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* = Brasenose college Oxford sent him an acceptance letter by mistake, then his father, Lord Young badgered them into accepting him onto the course even though he'd failed to meet their entry requirements.