If you have a child starting university this year, you’re probably already worried about them.
Teenagers tend to view things such as laundry, bill-paying and cookery like a local election result in Moldova – they’re aware these things must happen, of course, but it’s no concern of theirs. The temptations and pitfalls of adult life are out there waiting for them and they still think toilet rolls are a form of flora that sprouts up in the moist atmosphere of the bathroom.
Recent news suggests that you’ve been wrong to worry about them as much as you have. If anything, you should be worrying more. Why? Because Toby Young, that’s why.
Young has recently passed a stringent round of interviews that presumably consisted of Higher Education minister Jo Johnson asking “Fancy a jolly at the OfS, Tobes?” to become a board member advising on higher education.
The Spectator columnist knows how hard getting into a good university can be, what with all the not-passing-your-exams and the getting-your-dad-to-phone-the-head-of-admissions to pull in a favour. And he knows how hard it is to educate young minds, having admitted that setting up a school was a teeny bit harder than he expected.
And now he’ll be advising the government on how to run the university your little darling will be attending. What kind of advice can we expect?
Well, if you’re from a minority background and your kid doesn’t manage to get into one of the top schools, Toby will advise you that it’s your fault. The “reason there are so few black students at Oxford is because too few apply,” tweeted Toby. Luckily, he adds, “the UK is one of the least racist countries in the world”.
If your kid is getting picked on at university, Toby might helpfully suggest that he couldn’t care less, like in 2015 when Tory activist Elliott Johnson committed suicide after an alleged campaign of bullying and Toby tweeted it was “Not exactly page one stuff”.
Speaking of bullying, make sure your daughter doesn’t try to stand up for herself, because Toby feels that feminism is a “wonderful insight into the joyless, sanctimonious weltanschauung of the censorious left”. It’s not clear whether Padma Lakshmi, his fellow judge on the US cookery show Top Chef, was feeling joyless or sanctimonious after Toby implied on Twitter that he had his “dick up her arse” during a photoshoot.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being a victim – Toby himself once compared his experience of being a Conservative on Twitter to the life of August Landmesser, a German who refused to salute Hitler and married a Jewish woman who was later killed in a concentration camp. He’s so bloody brave.
Toby will assume your child is a Stalin-loving, tractor-riding, glorious-five-year-planning Trot anyway, given that he thinks “schools/nurseries already indoctrinate tots with liberal left platitudes every day”. Remember when you couldn’t have your carton of milk until you’d recited a passage from Das Kapital?
Whether it’s insulting other religions (in 2015 he said the NHS & Welfare State were part of “our Christian heritage”), the disabled (in 2012 he said wheelchair ramps in schools were a sign of “ghastly, politically correct” inclusivity) or stoking up religious tension (“Will Jews feel safe in a Labour London?” he asked during the 2016 London mayoral election. The Labour candidate, you may remember, just so happened to be a non-white Muslim), Toby has wisdom to impart on every facet of the university experience.
Well, except how to have a social life, maybe. Remember his stag do?