Tobias – there a name one doesn’t often come across. But hold on, isn’t Toby its diminutive? There are lots of Tobys, not counting the jugs. And there was Toby in the West Wing – a passionate man of liberal values. There’s Tobias Mead, of Britain’s Got Talent notoriety.
Tobias comes from the Hebrew Biblical name טוביה which becomes in Greek Τοβίας - it means Yahweh is good i.e. God is good. If God exists, and is good, then he or she has some explaining to do when contemplating the religious wars that ravage our little planet.
In fact, if God is Yahweh and Allah and the Christian god – usually just called God or God the Father - not to mention a few hundred others, give or take a god or two, then He (or is it She) really must have a word with His most dedicated followers in Israel, in the Muslim world and in the West about settling their differences amicably, instead of massacring each other at regular intervals and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and unspeakable horror to wreak further carnage, called – in the euphemism to end all euphemisms – the nuclear deterrent.
However, I digress, and in the process offend many good people who prefer not to have to consider such fundamental questions.
Let’s come down to earth and have a look at a more mundane Tobias, one Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary aide to Liam Fox, UK supremo of WMDs, warship and all things designed to attack other nations - called Defence of the Realm – and custodian of the defence budget.
Poor old Liam must at times wish he was a humble doctor again, ideally a country GP, handing out pills and comforting his patients in a quiet Scottish country village, instead of trying to balance the conflicting needs of sustaining Trident as the emblem of power in the remnants of the British Empire, aircraft carriers as a lynchpin of the Tory - and apparently all the other parties’ - job creation scheme, and the embarrassing requirement to stop starving our brave boys of critical equipment in the illegal, immoral wars they are sent to fight in foreign climes. Leaked letters may have been one little weapon in this struggle, even if it backfired a little.
Who better to stonewall to the media on all this than a New Yorker with a European education in Vienna and Bonn, and a former British Army captain, one Tobias Ellwood? Tobias left the Army in 1995, and thus missed the killing fields of Iraq and Afghanistan by six years. (He may well have faced combat with the Green Jackets between 19991 and 1995 – I don’t know whether he saw combat in this period, but I’m sure he served honourably.)
Today, Tobias faced the politician’s nightmare adversary, Andrew Ferguson Neill. (Paxman has long since become a caricature of his former incisive self.)
Tobias turned out to be an exponent of the torrent of words technique to attempt to overwhelm interviewers, one used by Baroness Warsi, Chairman of the Tory Party, who doesn’t know how many members the Party has. The technique has not been working well for its practitioners of late, since under pressure, it descends into the frantic babbling defence. The Baroness has already failed spectacularly on the electoral fraud allegations debacle, and now today on whether or not Tory Party membership has declined under Cameron.
Poor old Toby must think that God was not so good to him today, since he rapidly followed the same downward path in the face of Andrew Neill’s implacable questioning.
The torrent of words technique fails the Baroness yet again - she doesn't know how many members the Tory Party has. Andrew Neil unkindly point out that she is Chairman of the Party.
The Tories have now raised obfuscation to the status of an art, especially since the coalition - or to put it another way, disingenuousness now reigns supreme.