Working Class Toynbee of Toynbee Hall


Now that Jeremy Corbyn has publicly supported a second Brexit referendum, I’d like to flash back to 1972. Coppola’s The Godfather was the smash hit of the summer, Nixon was two years away from impeachment, Edward Heath was Conservative Prime Minister and unemployment (which kicked off the punk movement) exceeded 1,000,000 for the first time since the 1930s.

At this time, the Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee was 35, the same age as I am now. If nothing else, the culture we lived in in our prime could not have been more different, although I’d say Polly has been rather more scarred by hers. Unlike me, she failed the 11+ (I aced mine) and passed only one A-level before dropping out of Oxford University after 18 months. I can hardly talk though, I dropped out of a meaningless humanities degree from crappy Essex university, the same institution she gained her honorary degree from in 1999. A strong supporter of state education – like any good rich political hypocrite – two of her children were privately educated.

Whilst voted the most influential commentator in the UK in 2008 – topping a poll of 100 “opinion makers” carried out by Editorial Intelligence – her continued nonsensical articles about a second Brexit referendum (which appear to be working, despite the savage danger) are down to her irrational hatred of Brexiteer Conservatives. Particularly male Brexiteer Conservatives. Not to mention her deranged, psychopathic atheism. She spent time in Rhodesia on her gap year before being expelled by the Government (possibly for her unpleasant and disgraceful personality?) but managed to score a book deal about her experiences in 1966.

At age 72, Brexit is Toynbee’s new religion. After failing at politics, Toynbee was left with The Guardian. She ran for a seat for the Social Democratic Party in 1983 finishing 3rd with only 9351 votes and 22% of the vote. Maybe because she lost so badly and does not have any religion it’s imperative her redux Brexit succeeds before she dies? If you read any of Toynbee’s increasingly bipolar Guardian articles you’ll see that even she doesn’t know what she believes in, and clearly doesn’t understand that whilst a second Brexit referendum may make her famous, it would be the most dangerous attack on UK democracy since World War Two. As she recently gleefully wrote for the Guardian:

Sliding closer day by day, you can hear the swelling excitement of the catastrophists at the thrilling prospect of a no-deal smash-out. Into the unknown! Hurl all the old certainties into the air and see what new patterns the broken fragments make on the floor! Break all rules, start again, bring on the Brexit revolution!

Toynbee lacks an admirable legacy. And she knows it. She’s scratching around desperately for one last epitaph.

No point.

Toynbee is the most disgusting political hypocrite, still believing she’s a working class hero when she’s the daughter of literary critic Philip Toynbee and her family has aristocratic roots (Toynbee Hall is named after her family name). The beauty of the Brexit story is that they’ll end up being eaten by Brexit – like the rest of the Remainiacs who chose the wrong bandwagon to ride.

Follow Andrew Moody on Twitter @VoguishFiction