"IPSO? Facts? No!": Covid 'Sceptic' and Dunning-Kruger effect spokesmodel Toby 'Toadmeister' Young will simply ignore censure and keep on talking shit

The Telegraph has had to correct just one of his many misleading claims, but Young is medically incapable of feeling shame.

If the Dunning–Kruger effect hired spokespeople like Weightwatchers, Toby Young’s contract would be renewed year after year. A man whose father begged him into Oxford, Young has spent his entire journalistic career as a barely useful idiot, rolled out by editors like a circus clown who will happily write 800 words about how his trousers have not fallen down even while everyone else is pointing and laughing at his frayed, yellowing y-fronts.

Before the pandemic, Young was largely an irritant and occasional meme — remember when no one came to his stag do? …when his wife mugged him off in the pages of The Spectator and he cried, Dril-like, that he was not owned?when he was briefly appointed to the Office for Students before his library of puerile tweets revealed him to have all the decorum of a teenage boy who’s discovered partially burned yet soggy pornography on a local recreation area? … or the multiple times he’s appeared to favour eugenics (including attending a eugenics conference)? … or that time he got himself banned from the Grouch Club for writing in exhaustive detail about hoovering up cocaine there and dealing to his friends?

To adequately detail the many callous, contemptible, and completely idiotic things that Young has been involved with in his lamentable career would require several newsletters. No doubt I’ll return to him again in the future, but today’s topic is specifically his latest gri-*cough*… sorr, project — Lockdown Sceptics, a sprawling daily update for Covid ‘sceptics’ (translation: big waa-waa babies that go on about the War but cannot manage the temporary privation of… having to stay inside more and wearing a mask when you go into shops).

Even more specifically it’s about how The Daily Telegraph, which hates to apologise for anything, has been chastised by IPSO, the press regulator so toothless that it has to have all its meals liquidised. The cause? Why it’s Mr Toby ‘Toadmeister’ Young!

IPSO found that a comment piece written by Young (‘When we have herd immunity Boris will face a reckoning on this pointless and damaging lockdown’) and published by The Daily Telegraph on July 11 was “misleading” and breached two of the Editor’s Code of Practice requirements on accuracy. Given that the Editor’s Code has more holes in it than a good Emmental, this is some achievement on Young’s part.

The article is currently inaccessible on the Telegraph website, its editors having clearly decided that memory holing it is better than having to place the correction IPSO ruled they should publish in context.


Coincidentally, Toby Young has again deleted thousands of his own tweets. He says this is because of his growing worries about “offence archaeologists” digging through his dickhead tweets but another explanation might be that he realises his opinions have the shelf-life an over-ripe avocado and its best for him to get shot of them before they start going brown around the edges.

IPSO’s summary of its findings said that Young’s piece breached the editor’s code with “significantly misleading [statements that] misrepresented the nature of immunity”. It implied that people exposed to some colds — those springing from other coronaviruses — might be automatically immune to symptoms and to spreading Covid-19.

Young had balanced his ‘argument’ — such as it was — on a study of antibody tests in the New York neighbourhood of Corona (how could he resist, really?), which he claimed showed the area’s population was “already close to achieving ‘herd immunity’” before extrapolating that out to London with an assertion that it was much closer to ‘herd immunity’ than its then infection rate of 17% suggested. He concluded: “The British population will soon achieve herd immunity just as the population of Corona has, and the lockdown has done nothing to mitigate the impact of the virus”.

Point of fact: Toby Young has a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Brasenose College, Oxford — which, as I’ve mentioned, he was only able to pursue after his eminently more talented father chivvied the admissions tutor for him — spent two years pursuing a doctorate at Trinity College, Cambridge before dropping out. He has no medical or science background.

In his opinion piece, Young claimed that “a second wave of Covid-19 is unlikely and we can dispense with pointless social distancing measures”. It’s now apparent he was like a man standing on the deck of RMS Titanic and confidently asserting that the iceberg would simply melt.

The Telegraph defended Young’s article to IPSO on the basis that it was opinion and referred to an area where the science is uncertain. It also claimed that Young was entitled to use the term ‘natural immunity’ in the way he did but that the claim that London would reach the threshold for protection in that was was “clearly conjectural”.
But IPSO’s complaints committee found those arguments about as persuasive as The Telegraph’s daily front-page claim to be “Britain’s best quality newspaper” and not, as is actually the case, a far-right fanzine best used for lining the cages of particularly conservatively-minded cockatiels.

The IPSO ruling concludes that Young’s claims that “[some people] will have a natural immunity because they’ve already successfully fought off other coronaviruses” and that “people in [that] category will be immune” were “significantly misleading”. Such is Young’s commitment to selectively quoting information, however, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he eventually declared that ISPO had found his work to be “significant”.

Having removed Young’s original article, the Telegraph website now contains a correction but it is worded in such a way as to make knowing what the original piece was difficult and hard to find without a direct link. Ah! The transparency of British newspapers in its full shining glory. Still, I’ll link it here and reproduce it in full to give the Telegraph a hand in spreading this corrective message:

An article (11 July) about Covid 19 argued that people with cross-reactive T cells ' will have natural immunity' having 'already successfully fought off other coronaviruses '. This was incorrect as such people may still contract and transmit Covid. The article also wrongly proposed that 'London is probably approaching herd immunity' but cross-reactive T cells do not prevent infection spreading and therefore do not create herd immunity and there was no evidence to support such immunity was being established in London. This correction follows an upheld ruling by IPSO.

Well-practised as he is in distracting from his continual rake-stepping, Young turned his attention to Conservative MP, Neil O’Brien, who has recently become a vocal critic of Young’s fact-lite ramblings:

Turning yourself into a victim is a classic tactic, especially among the British right, who despite their constant harping on about ‘leftie snowflakes’ tend to melt at the merest hint of lukewarm scrutiny. The second part of Young’s strategy is also familiar — framing himself as merely someone taking part in “a debate” and anyone pointing out when he’s talking horseshit as a McCarthyite censor.

When Prince Andrew claimed he couldn’t sweat it was clearly laughable. But if Toby Young told the world he was medically incapable of feeling shame, born without the mechanism to blush and realise you’ve fucked up, it would be one of the few times I believed him with no questions.

Young’s career-long dedication to believing he’s the smartest man in the room, despite reams of evidence to the contrary, is the most shameless act of public performance since GG Allin smeared himself in his own faeces and threw it at the audience. At least Allin only did his act for 19 years. Toby Young has been presenting his shit to the public for 30 years now and shows no sign of stopping.

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