Another blogpost… uh oh the fellas didn’t record again this week! Our last episode focused on education, a topic which turned out to be hugely relevant following on from the news of Toby Young’s appointment to the board of the new university watchdog, the office for students. This news was met with a huge amount of backlash due to many awful things Toby Young has said regarding woman, state school oxford students, disabled people, teachers and more. Due to the nature of our Podcast I’m going to dwell on what he said about wheelchair access and political correctness regarding disabled people.
In a column for spectator magazine Young wrote about inclusivity:
‘Inclusive. It’s one of those ghastly, politically correct words that have survived the demise of New Labour. Schools have got to be ‘inclusive’ these days. That means wheelchair ramps, the complete works of Alice Walker in the school library (though no Mark Twain) and a Special Educational Needs Department that can cope with everything from dyslexia to Münchausen syndrome by proxy. If [then education secretary, Michael Gove is serious about wanting to bring back O-levels, the government will have to repeal the Equalities Act because any exam that isn’t ‘accessible’ to a functionally illiterate troglodyte with a mental age of six will be judged to be ‘elitist’ and therefore forbidden by Harman’s Law.’
Inclusivity that awful thing where we make sure we include people who might otherwise be left out or marginalised. So ghastly.
Young’s quote alone speaks for itself and needs little deciphering, he hasn’t made a sly comment about wheelchair users, and dressed it up as an overall good thing like Phillip Hammond. No, instead he has just written a horribly and outwardly offensive piece which culminates in the phrase ‘functionally illiterate troglodyte with a mental age of six’. I had to google the meaning of the word ‘troglodyte’ as I have never heard it before, according to google it is someone who lives in a cave. I can’t help but feel Young uses words like this when speaking to try and show how intelligent he (thinks he) is. When in reality he is just spurting horribly offensive and damaging slurs which have no basis.
Toby Young’s appointment plays into a larger issue which seems to be growing, or at least is as prominent as ever, where people are awarded roles or allowed to continue in important positions even though they clearly hold entitled and offensive views around disabled people. Toby Young clearly thinks little of disabled people, seeing inclusivity as a ‘ghastly’ thing yet he is still allowed to be on the board of the watchdog for student welfare. Phillip Hammond received no punishment for his comments around productivity, with Theresa May choosing to pretend they didn’t happen instead of even addressing them. Donald Trump is the president of America, he won the vote from a campaign where he was hugely Islamophobic, racist, sexist and where he openly mocked a disabled reporter, going on to do an impression of the reporter at a rally. More and more we are seeing people of power show how little they think of disabled people and still they are allowed to continue in their roles which have a large impact on these peoples lives. It’s genuinely frightening that we still live in a society in which so many people hold such archaic views, and to be honest it does worry me for the future and what the next round of Tory cuts will take aim at.
Sorry about the lack of episode this week! Last weeks was pretty good though, so you could always listen to that again…