On Personalities, Politics and Liking the Wrong People 45

In general, I don’t like or dislike people for their politics. This is sometimes worrying. I was, rather strangely, on a Christian radio show with Zac Goldsmith once, and we chatted afterwards, and he seemed a really pleasant and genuine person. I was surprised by the stuff he allowed in his name during the London mayoral election.

Similarly I went out drinking with David Aaronovitch after a debate in Dublin and we got on famously. I seldom agree with him, and therefore attack him often on my blog, but I have to admit I like him in person.

But I am very happy to say, that the only time I ever met Toby Young, when I lived in Acton, I had to be physically restrained from a desire to attack him with a wine bottle. Even I have my limits.

Allowed HTML - you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

45 thoughts on “On Personalities, Politics and Liking the Wrong People

  • craig Post author

    For the avoidance of doubt, I have never hit anyone, ever. This article is not advocating violence against Mr Young, merely giving an indication of the degree of my revulsion.

    • Trog51

      You’ve never hit anyone, and you were born in Dundee? Wow. I was born and raised in Longsight/Manchester and had a fight every other day.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Most people in the Western world avoid the problem by rarely talking politics with relatives, friends, and even acquaintances.

    Trump and Hillary are so toxic that even they are discussed now. Simply amazing the guff they can gush out.

  • Republicofscotland

    Young sound like a little shit, going by his heartless article, in the Daily Mail, a rag that should be read (if need be) with one’s tongue, pressed firmly into one’s cheek.

    Anyway for those of you who want to know about, the real face of the DWP and the effects sanctioning of benefits has on people, here’s a good article from someone who worked at the JobCentre.

    She explains how the DWP conditioned her, and many other fellow workers, on a daily basis, in an attempt to desensitise the staff, when sanctioning individuals, for minor or petty misgivings.


  • Chris Waghorn

    I share your surprise. The Memsahib is addicted to ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (a popular television programme, m’lud) and I sometimes am subjected to a minute or two of it before I beggar off to the summer house for a bit of music and the occasional sharpener. Recently, I chanced to see Ed Balls esq. throwing some doxie hither and yon and may have growled something less than complimentary about him; the Memsahib bridled and barked, “we all know you don’t like him”. I thought about this for a bit and said, “Don’t know the fellow so I couldn’t say whether I like him or not, but he helped bring one of the most prosperous countries in the world to is knees economically so it would be fair to say that I don’t like what he did”. It could well be that in private I’d find him to be charming company and that the sock filled with a column of 2p coins would be entirely superfluous …

  • FranzB

    With respect to Toby Young’s article about dwp claimants, here’s one article on a young man who starved to death after his benefits were cut:-


    Mark Wood was a constituent of David Cameron.

    Here’s another article on malnutrition in Britain in this week’s Sunday Mirror:-


    • Mick McNulty

      And soon behind such poverty will come poverty afflictions like rickets, TB, lice, bed bugs, ringworm etc. The well-off think they’re immune to the contagious ones but don’t realize that even though the different classes don’t mix socially, same as before, they interact more today in banks, post offices, supermarkets, home deliveries etc. And as always the law courts where one lot sits in judgment on the other.

      There are more ways to spread diseases now and whereas the Victorians didn’t have much quality of care we’re losing what we had, so when things like TB or lice-borne typhus spread amongst the better-off they’ll realize why it was important to contain them last time.

  • Anon1

    “Daniel is a model citizen. At no point do we see him drinking, smoking, gambling, or even watching television. No, he is a welfare claimant as imagined by a member of the upper-middle class metropolitan elite.

    He listens to Radio 4, likes classical music and makes wooden toys for children — the kind of over-priced ‘artisanal’ tat sold in ‘alternative’ toyshops in Islington, where Loach lives.”


    Young is annoying but I thought this was quite good. If you think Young is punchable then you should get a feel for some of what the rest of us think of the comfortably off, middle class, sneering faux lefty type such as yourself.

      • Ba'al Zevul

        Some people can be instantly likeable, brighten any company they’re in, and you instinctively know you’re going to be friends with them. This often means you are potentially useful to them. This is still a weakness on their part. Once you have recognised it, you are in a good position to thwart their little plans. Diplomacy has its uses.

        I am deeply suspicious of charming people, and I am inclined to prefer Anon, on current form, to Tony Blair for that reason.

        Mind games? Moi?

    • deepgreenpuddock

      Your comment is pure, reactionary bile. It does you no credit at all. It simply castes you as a bilious reactionary, and importantly, in making such comments, reveals the absence of self-awareness.

  • CE

    At least we always have the pleasure of his tear stained Spectator article about no one turning up for his Stag. 🙂

  • J

    It’s his faux earnestness that always tickles me, it’s so obviously for effect. You can almost see him trying!

  • Sharp Ears

    Ref the aforementioned.

    1. Agree. A decent human who stands up for his beliefs, viz his resignation today.

    2, How could you do that?

    3, This is for him. We had a double dose of him on Sunday. Marr in the morning and reviewing the papers on Sky News in the evening. On both occasions, he revealed his heartlessness.

  • KingOfWelshNoir

    Surely you can express your contempt for him in more intelligent ways? Expressing a desire to hit someone – anyone – with a bottle is beyond the pale in my book.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Right, Tom, especially his emails.

        I remember well his trashing the anti-war protests in Stockholm when I was living nearby, and participated in them.

        Aaronovitch made out that there were only a few misguided communists attending them, as I recall.

        Would have thrown a bottle at him if there was any hope of hitting him in London.

  • Michael Marshall

    I cannot comprehend this attitude of hating a person’s views, but liking them personally. You cannot separate a person from their beliefs. If a person has horrible, hateful beliefs then they cannot possibly be a likable individual.

    Goldsmith, like every Tory, supports “welfare reform”, meaning he supports one of the cruelest, most vicious policies in the history of British politics – a policy that has brought relentless suffering into the lives of our most vulnerable citizens. Put simply, he is a monster. So spare me the “genuine and pleasant” crap.

    • kief

      That’s the political methodology. It’s called being professional, but it just means ‘keeping business flowing without too many hiccoughs’ but much more poetic and reassuring. I mean it’s just rude to collar a Club Member and ask him to buy some raffles for your son’s soccer team.

  • Tom Welsh

    So Zac Goldsmith struck Craig as “a really pleasant and genuine person”. While such people do exist – I am assured – those characteristics are also typical of psychopaths. And having heard that Craig got on well with David Aaronovitch, I shall have to take extra care never to meet Craig in person, lest I be tempted to hit him with a bottle. I simply refuse to believe that anyone who expresses the beliefs that Aaronovitch does can possibly be a decent person. For a start, I am fairly sure he justifies the existence of the state of Israel and its resolutely attempted genocide against the Palestinians. Although I try to avoid reading The Times, whenever I have seen an article by Aaronovitch I have felt nauseated. As far as I know, he has never held a right opinion.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I believe this simply reflects the fact that different people can have genuinely differing convictions on how to better the lot of humankind. I listened not so long ago to a long radio interview with a Conservative MP. I think it was Gavin Barwell, but would not swear to it. I was frankly astonished by how likeable I found him.

    He came across as having a genuine and passionate conviction that proper use of regulated markets was the best way to maintain and increase the standard of living of everyone in the country. I was struck by his compassion and concern for and knowledge of the plight of the disadvantaged.

    I came away from that interview thinking I had been listening to a profoundly misguided, but intelligent, thoughtful and compassionate human being, whose major political difference with me was an erroneous belief that “the market” was helpful to people. Perhaps I was fooled, but I got the feeling that it would have been a pleasure to work with him on non-economic matters.

    I must say that he seemed to me to be unusual among Conservatives, though. But it showed me how people like John McDonnell, for example, can share cross-party platforms with “class enemies” with no apparent cognitive dissonance.

    • Krief

      Careful, it sounds like you may be ready to leave your safe spaces 🙂

      Concerning ‘conservative compassion’, one politician said something to the effect of: “We hate poor people so much, we want to make them rich”.

      That aside, globalisation (the market) HAS lifted many people out of poverty, but elsewhere in the world, which doesn’t do much for votes here.

      (Astonished by the vitriol of some people here, for whom ‘tolerance’ is apparently just a word. It’s not so much “how can people with such policies be likeable” as “how dare you even get near enough to someone with such policies to even know if they’re likeable”).

      • John Spencer-Davis

        Sir Keith Joseph MP seemed perennially astonished by the fact that he was so hated.

        Shrug. If you enact policies that people of intelligence and normal emotional range perceive as having put them out of work and made their lives pointless and impoverished and despairing, then it is not surprising that you are personally hated. Because you are personally responsible for what you have done, no matter how much you may have acted from a conviction that you have been doing the right thing for the long run.

        It’s all very well for me to say – as I would in fact say – that hating people hurts the person who hates more than the person who is hated, and therefore it is not a wise way to proceed. I’m not living on sixty quid a week Jobseeker’s Allowance or working in Sports Direct for the minimum wage or below.

    • deepgreenpuddock

      here, it seems to me is a perfectly reasonable assertion:

      “……….that proper use of regulated markets was the best way to maintain and increase the standard of living of everyone in the country.”

      The problem is the ‘regulation’ and how that is defined. Brown went for the ‘barely regulated’ credit market and high Tory Matt Ridley,(one of our landed gentry) relentlessly, and with impunity, drove Northern Rock onto the northern rocks by bubble business thinking. It wasn’t smart-it was just ruthless loophole exploitation.
      By and large, Tories believe in an unregulated or barely regulated form of market economics.

  • John Black

    I envy you. I think I judge people too harshly on their politics. I try not to. I’m a philosophical relativist. But when it comes to people advocating policies that I think are harmful to others, I’m sorry to say that I can’t see past that. Wish I could; it’s cost me many friendships.

  • Rhisiart Gwilym

    Basic rule of thumb: Always be doubtful about anyone called ‘Toby’ – unless its a dog. A favoured name for boy-children amongst the English-raj class. And you know how they rear their children: intense sociopathic schooling begun seriously by age seven…

  • Bayard

    God, you’ve got a lot of Puritans commenting on your blog, Craig. I can see their ancestors in the C17th happily burning Catholics for their wicked and heretical beliefs. “It matters not what they are like as men, they must recant or burn, because their beliefs are wrong”.

  • John Spencer-Davis

    I confirm one thing Young says is accurate as far as I can discover, as I have checked it. “A single mother with two children typically gets more than £200 a week in state hand-outs”. I just put that information through a benefits calculator with the following weekly results: £117.50 child tax credits; £73.10 income support; £34.40 child benefit; total £225.00 weekly. It is no good denying facts. (I object to the word “hand-outs”, by the way.)

    If anyone can refute this, I’d be glad to hear from them, but however obnoxious Young is, I checked this fact and it’s straight.

      • John Spencer-Davis

        I guess that would be JSA, either £57.90 or £73.10 weekly according to age.

        Incidentally, that pompous ass Young does not mention – and I had to read reviews of the film again to pick it up, as I haven’t seen it – that the single mother has been SANCTIONED. So she isn’t getting any fucking £225 per week. What she will get – if anything – is a hardship payment. How long that takes to come through I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. Young is too ignorant, thick and arrogant to have picked up this rather important detail. No doubt he would say from his pompous middle-class lifestyle that the single mother shouldn’t have done anything to be sanctioned for. Maybe she didn’t. Maybe she’s waiting for an appeal that will be successful.

        So if the single mother in the film has been sanctioned, is waiting for a hardship payment, is waiting for an appeal against that sanction, and has no money, how does she get the £10 to buy the cheap school shoes from Tesco’s, Mr Young?


    • Sharp Ears

      What about housing costs and utility bills. Water for instance. My half yearly bill from Thames Water has increased massively compared to the previous one. A mother and two children will need to consume water, gas and electricity in quantity. Or perhaps they should shiver and go around unwashed in dirty clothes with holes in their shoes?

      • glenn_uk

        It’s fair to say that a goodly proportion of that £225 will go to profitised utilities, which used to provide a public service, not to mention rent to landlords kept artificially inflated by public subsidy.

  • George

    It seems to me that Toby was disgusted that the Loach film wasn’t a musical with singing dancing chimney sweeps.

  • Jake

    There is a reason that lamposts have hooks just below the lamp. They’re to deal with the Toby Young’s of this world.

  • Mark Golding

    Toby Young is one of those red poppy touting, memorial sweeping, delusional Christian standard bearing protagonists that believe in ‘humanitarian intervention’ bosh and vote to send British missiles and bombs in any place that needs a proxy government, yields intrinsic natural wealth, begets geopolitical dominance demanding double containment that rules-out and obviates a liberal world order in an axis of weevils that attempts to refute the end of history and the last man in a Hegelian view dominated by the titanic forces of industrial and informational capitalism..

Comments are closed.