Toby Young

Toby Young

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

Why I don’t trust the BBC’s Trusted News Initiative

You almost certainly haven’t heard of the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), although you probably should have. It’s a BBC-led consortium of the world’s most powerful news, social media and technology companies that seeks to cleanse the internet of ‘disinformation’. It carries out this mission by doing its best to discredit sites that challenge the prevailing

I’ve turned 60 – but all is not lost

By the time you read this I’ll be 60, having passed that milestone on Tuesday. My older friends tell me that turning 60 is like having to give a speech in public – the anticipation is worse than the reality. Once it’s in your rear-view mirror, you quickly forget about it and instead start looking

The joy of deer stalking

In spite of my dodgy right hand – caused by an injury to my radial nerve – I decided to go stalking in the Highlands last weekend. Recovery from such injuries is quite slow, but enough mobility had returned to my trigger finger for me to give it a whirl. Invitations to hunt stags in

An injured hand has given me a glimpse of old age

I first realised something was wrong with my hand last Thursday evening. I’d been invited by a friend to go shooting at his grouse moor in Yorkshire and the bedroom I’d been assigned had a stiff wooden door. After a hearty supper, I returned to my room and gave the door a shove with my

I’m a slave to my horse-chestnut tree

Trying to work in my garden shed at this time of year is tricky. I will be crouched over my keyboard, face screwed up in concentration, when suddenly there’s a tremendous bang just above my head. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a conker falling from a horse-chestnut tree and hitting

How I lost my Hungarian Vizsla, Leo, to the Dangerous Dogs Act

Not everyone welcomed Rishi Sunak’s announcement last week that he would ban the XL Bully under the Dangerous Dogs Act. This American crossbreed is responsible for nearly half the deaths caused by dogs in the UK between 2021 and 2023 and hit the headlines recently after a video emerged of one attacking an 11-year-old girl,

The myth of male privilege

A few weeks ago I had a crack at coming up with my own sociological ‘law’ and my first effort went as follows: ‘The more progressive a country is when it comes to sex and gender, the more authoritarian it is when it comes to speech and language.’ I was thinking of Ireland which, having

Could I be pregnant?

At the age of 59 I thought it was time to get my body thoroughly examined. So last week I trotted off to a health clinic in west London. Not surprisingly, I got a mixed report. Mostly As and Bs, a couple of Ds, and several must-try-harders. The health check consisted of an hour with

I knew I was right about private schools

The Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament has become an annual fixture in the Young household. Known as ‘Wimbledon-on-Sea’, the week-long competition takes place on the Norfolk coast in August and attracts hundreds of entrants. I’m not a contestant myself, but my two youngest are and five years ago my wife won the ladies’ doubles, meaning she’s

The appalling hypocrisy of Peter Wilby

According to the ancient proverb, if you sit by the river for long enough you will see the body of your enemy float by. That happened to me earlier this week when I discovered the fate of Peter Wilby, a former editor of the New Statesman and the Independent on Sunday. In 2018, when I

Who fact checks the fact-checkers?

Last week, a retired physics professor called Nick Cowern said it was time to get tough with ‘climate denialists’. ‘In my opinion the publication of climate disinformation should be a criminal offence,’ he posted on Twitter. He was ridiculed, but what sounds ludicrously over-the-top today could easily become the norm tomorrow. At least four EU

Am I allowed to make fun of women’s football? 

I’m loath to write about the current Fifa World Cup because criticising women’s football is textbook ‘misogyny’ – at least, that’s what Sadiq Khan thinks. The centrepiece of his recent ‘Have a word’ campaign is a video of young men discussing the women’s Euros, with viewers encouraged to press a button saying ‘Maaate’ when a

What does a supercomputer say about QPR’s chances?

The football season gets under way again on Saturday – or at least it does if your team isn’t in the Premier League, which starts a week later. My beloved Queens Park Rangers are off to Vicarage Road to take on Watford and I’ll be there with my three sons to cheer them on. We

Why Barbie deserves the backlash

Being the CEO of a massive corporation isn’t easy. You’re expected to grow the company, increase profits and boost the share price – the traditional responsibilities of a top hat-wearing capitalist. But at the same time, you need to align your company with the ‘values’ of a hyper-liberal global elite, e.g. anti-racism, trans rights and

I’m a holidaymaker… get me out of here!

Reading about all the travel chaos, I began to regret my summer holiday plans. Wouldn’t it have been more sensible just to stay in Acton? But Caroline and I had arranged to go to Ibiza fora friend’s birthday party the weekend before last; then, after returning to London, we were due back in the Balearic

In praise of Milan Kundera

The Czech-born writer Milan Kundera has died, at the age of 94. Four years ago, Toby Young wrote this tribute to Kundera. I was surprised to learn that the novelist Milan Kundera celebrated his 90th birthday on Monday. I had no idea he was still alive. He has taken up residence in that old people’s

Toby Young

I expected more from Caitlin Moran

I first met Caitlin Moran at Julie Burchill’s flat in Bloomsbury. This was in the early 1990s and she was a precocious teenager who’d written a play and published a few pieces. Julie had asked her to write for the Modern Review, a magazine I co-owned with Julie and her then husband Cosmo Landesman, and

Why Europe riots

36 min listen

This week: In the magazine we look at the recent protests in France. The Spectator’s Douglas Murray argues that racism is not the problem but that a significant chunk of the unintegrated immigrant population is. He is joined by Dr Rakib Ehsan, author of Beyond Grievance: What the Left Gets Wrong about Ethnic Minorities, to investigate why Europe

How do you solve a problem like debanking?

As I sat down to write this column, an old friend let me know he’d just been ‘debanked’. That is, he’d received a letter from his high-street bank notifying him it was closing his accounts. ‘Following a review, we’ve made the decision that you will not be able to bank with us any longer,’ it

Young’s First Law of free speech

I’ve always been envious of journalists who give their names to ‘laws’, as in O’Sullivan’s First Law: ‘All organisations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.’ So I’m going to take a stab at articulating Young’s First Law and it is this: ‘The more progressive a country is when it comes to