Idiot watch (Part 1)

The Daily Telegraph is home to a number of right-wing blogs, some of which I mention on this site.  A lot of what is blogged on its pages tends to be Cyclopean; that is to say, the blogs look at the world through one bad eye.  Two such bloggers are Toby Young and Douglas Murray. Today I’m looking at two interrelated blogs from the pair of them.

The main problem I have with Young is that he’s a controversialist; he’ll say anything to get attention.  I’ve always known that he was a little right wing too. Young is  the son of Labour life peer Michael Young who allegedly coined the word ‘meritocracy’. In his blog he uses his encounter with  Salma Yaqoob in Question Time’s green room as a vehicle for his support of Israel’s inhumane blockade of Gaza.

In this article he repeats the Zionist mantra of ‘Gaza is Hamas-controlled and is therefore plotting Israel’s downfall’.  With what weapons are they doing this, Toby? The only weapons to be fired from Gaza are crude homemade rockets not cluster bombs or phosphorus weapons.  This is not to excuse the rocket attacks but to see them in the twin lights of causality and proportionality.  All Young does here is to apologise for Israel’s policy of collective punishment which is, itself,  a deadly irony: the last regime to use collective punishment against an entire people was Nazi Germany – does Bibi know this? Young’s position is entirely formed by Israeli-constructed tropes. Never mind that the people of Gaza are going without food and medical supplies or that the blockade bans such things as chickens. No, Young is content to repeat the same lies as Mark Regev and for him this is a simple binary of Jew versus Arab. Should we tell him about the Mizrahim or the Nakba? He wouldn’t listen even if we did.

One of the worst things about Young’s blog is the way he name-checks Douglas Murray, whom he tellingly refers to as a “colleague”. Shitehawks of a feather always hang together. In Murray’s article he uses Yaqoob in much the same way as Young but makes the suggestion that she may be some kind of fifth columnist and her worst crime is that she is opposed to the so-called “Two-state solution”.  Here’s what he wrote:

When she is on Question Time she tends to pose as a sort of level-headed ordinary mum. But my gosh when she gets on a platform in front of her own kind of mob she displays a different set of manners.

Murray, whenever he appears on Question Time, comes across as a paranoid conspiracy theorist and cultural extremist.  He’s  also rather fond of Paddy jokes (if he likes Paddy Jokes, then what other kind of joke does he like?). Murray heads a think tank called the Centre for Social Cohesion. On first glance, the CSC appears to be a one-man band. Well, I ask you, who would want to work with such a man as Murray? In fact, only 4 people work with him though these people are never seen. As for social cohesion, whatever Murray is up to, it isn’t likely to produce social cohesion nor is it likely to  produce anything other than the reinforcement of the position of the dominant class and, in turn,  perpetuate their power through their control of culture. The main focus of CSC’s work is on Islam; it is a single-minded obsession. The CSC doesn’t conduct research into Christian, Jewish or Hindu fundamentalism. There are no questions asked about the nature of Otherness and how is is constructed. It would appear to Murray that ‘British’ culture is homogenised and underpinned by so-called ‘Christian values’…in other words, the values that are produced by the dominant class and are projected onto those below them.

Education is supposed to broaden the mind. In Young’s and Murray’s case all it has done is provide them with passports to kudos and privilege. Because of their respective educational backgrounds we are meant to take them seriously; perhaps even be entertained by them. But what really comes across from these supposedly well-educated men is their shocking ignorance and their less-than-subtle bigotries.


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