Douglas Murray

If Dawn Butler can’t forgive Toby Young, can she forgive herself?

If Dawn Butler can't forgive Toby Young, can she forgive herself?
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I am fascinated as well as appalled by the new morality being created in our country. Last night, Dawn Butler MP was on the television again (this time Question Time) making charges against Toby Young and doubling-down on a point she had made earlier in the week on the Daily Politics. The essence of it is that because of Tweets, including one about a Labour MPs breasts from 2009, Toby Young has no right to sit as one member of a 15-member board in 2018.

"I don't think he should have resigned, I think the PM should have been stronger and should have said it was an inappropriate appointment" @DawnButlerBrent

"It's sad, it has been proved to have been a mistake... he has changed as a person" @Freddygray31 on @toadmeister #bbcdp pic.twitter.com/cokqGrFnp5

— BBC Daily Politics and Sunday Politics (@daily_politics) January 9, 2018

Both Butler’s eradication of any statute of limitations and her idea of what constitutes a sackable offence are intriguing to me. While I do not doubt that a Tweet nine years ago about a woman’s breasts may be terrible, it is far more forgivable than some things I can think of. For instance, imagine if in 2009 it transpired you were claiming for a second home at taxpayers’ expense in the same city (London) where your main home was. And imagine at the same time that you were found claiming for a Jacuzzi bath – paid for by taxpayers – to be installed in one of those homes. 

That is what Dawn Butler was criticised for in 2009. To take the language she uses about Toby, it wasn’t a very long time ago. She was an adult at the time. She knew what she was doing.

So here’s the question. Why is spending taxpayers' cash in this way something that can be forgiven – and indeed never mentioned again – in under a decade, while a boob joke must live with someone forever? Of course, Dawn Butler and the other new Social Justice Savonarolas will claim that Young’s Tweet makes him unfit to sit on a marginal 15 person board. But then why does Butler still occupy a far more powerful position in Parliament?

I cannot understand this. Can anyone out there explain it?

Written byDouglas Murray

Douglas Murray is Associate Editor of The Spectator. His most recent book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity is out now.

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