Toby Young

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Page 3 was harmless. Here’s why I’ll miss it

24 January 2015

‘I for one would be sorry to see them go,’ wrote George Orwell. ‘They are a sort of saturnalia, a harmless rebellion against virtue.’ He was writing about the seaside postcards… Read more


David Sedaris was right: litter is a class issue

17 January 2015

David Sedaris is my new hero. Not because he’s such a funny writer, but because he’s obsessed with litter. He told a group of MPs last week that he spends… Read more

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

The misguided bid to turn Alan Turing into an Asperger’s martyr

10 January 2015

When I first heard the story of Alan Turing in my late teens I made what must be quite a common mistake. I concluded that his conviction in 1952 for… Read more


Why I failed in my New Year’s resolution to unite the right against Ed Miliband

3 January 2015

This time last year, I wrote an article saying my main project in 2014 would be to unite the right. That is, I would start a political movement that would… Read more

Michael Young Photo: Getty

What will it take to live up to my father’s Great Life?

13 December 2014

I received a phone call the other day that I wasn’t expecting. It was a BBC producer calling about a Radio 4 series called Great Lives, presented by Matthew Parris.… Read more


Don't want paternity leave? Soon, you may not have a choice

6 December 2014

Earlier this week, the law changed to enable men to share the leave that women are currently entitled to after the birth of a child. From 5 April next year,… Read more


If you want an argument against state-school-only Oxbridge colleges, just look at me

29 November 2014

I read with some interest the proposal for Oxford and Cambridge to set up state-school-only colleges in the Guardian this week. As someone who was educated exclusively in the state… Read more

Michael Buerk in this years I'm a Celebrity Me Out of Here Photo: ITV

Pity I’m a Celebrity’s token old guys

22 November 2014

I had thought that my days of being approached by reality show producers hoping to put together a cast of D-list celebrities were behind me. Apparently not. A couple of… Read more

The man feminists seemed to think was worse than the Taleban

15 November 2014

Feature writers aren’t often acclaimed for their courage, but Neil Lyndon deserves a bronze plaque in St Bride’s. Twenty-two years ago, he wrote a book called No More Sex War… Read more


Why schools can't teach character

8 November 2014

I participated in a lively discussion about character education at Policy Exchange earlier this week. For those of you who don’t follow every twist of the education debate, the idea… Read more


I swam up to a beautiful girl on the beach, and my life changed

1 November 2014

I’m writing this from Portugal, where I’m staying with my old friend Sean Langan. His family has owned a farm in the Algarve for several generations and I first came… Read more

Russell Brand addresses an anti-austerity rally in Parliament Square Photo: Getty

Russell Brand and Nigel Farage remind me of myself five years ago

25 October 2014

I’m often asked by other free school proposers what lessons I’ve learnt over the past five years. Any pearls of wisdom I can pass on so they don’t make the… Read more

The Walking Dead's father and son, Rick and Carl

I nearly missed out on The Walking Dead. You shouldn’t

18 October 2014

I’m ashamed to say it took me a while to watch an episode of The Walking Dead, the fifth season of which has just begun. I was put off by… Read more

Prime Minister David Cameron Meets With French Prime Minister Manuel Valls At Downing Street

You’ll regret not having a Human Rights Act when Labour get back in

11 October 2014

I’ve been thinking about the Conservative party’s proposal for a Bill of Rights and am finding it difficult to make up my mind. On the one hand, I like the… Read more


What Nigel Farage really wants

4 October 2014

I initially thought Nigel Farage had made a mistake in unveiling Mark Reckless on the final day of his party conference. Wouldn’t it have been more disruptive to announce the… Read more


My hormones are all over the place. It must be the manopause

27 September 2014

Women spend ten days a year in a grumpy mood, according to the Daily Mail. The top triggers include being overweight, feeling undervalued, having a bad hair day, breaking a… Read more


My electrifying 'Führer Kontakt' with Alex Salmond

20 September 2014

It was just after the Tory party conference last year that I met Alex Salmond. Not alone, obviously, but as one of a group of about 15 people. The group… Read more


When the Welsh go it alone, blame me

13 September 2014

Oh dear. I think I may have inadvertently contributed to the dissolution of Great Britain. I’m not claiming sole responsibility. In due course, when the blame game begins, I’ll play… Read more


The lesson of the young men fighting for Isis: evil is in all of us

6 September 2014

I had an interesting discussion with my friend Aidan Hartley earlier this week about whether the young men fighting for the so-called Islamic State are psychopaths. (This was before the… Read more

We both want to democratise knowledge, Michael Rosen. The question is which knowledge...

30 August 2014

I first locked horns with Michael Rosen, the former children’s laureate, on Sky News about four years ago. We were debating the merits of trying to teach all children the… Read more


The self-delusion that makes people go to festivals – me included

23 August 2014

I wouldn’t describe myself as a veteran of the summer festival circuit, but I’ve been to enough to have a theory about them. Or, rather, discuss someone else’s — in this… Read more

Former British Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds Photo: AP/Getty

Mark Simmonds was just saying what a lot of MPs think

16 August 2014

I feel some sympathy for Mark Simmonds, the Conservative MP who’s resigned as a minister and is stepping down at the end of this Parliament because he can’t support his… Read more


What’s the point in being married if I can’t feel superior to my single friends?

9 August 2014

I’m due to speak at an Intelligence Squared debate on Saturday and I’m worried that I might be on the wrong side. The motion is ‘Monogamy equals monotony’ and I’m… Read more


Want to be a neglectful parent? Come to a festival and learn

2 August 2014

I spent last weekend at Port Eliot in Cornwall. This is supposed to be a literary and music festival and my reason for being there was to talk about my… Read more

Image: Getty

Do-gooders neglect their children. Just look at my dad – and me

26 July 2014

A few years ago, a family friend described my father as being a bit like Mrs Jellyby in Bleak House, by which he meant that he neglected his own family… Read more