- About Us
- Join Us
- Contact Us
I was a little bit surprised at how strongly protective I felt towards my University as I sat there cringing, watching the BBC’s Young, Bright and on the Right last night.
Oxford is a strange place. I remember joining a Facebook group years ago, named ‘Oxford is not part of the real world’. A lot of things which seem perfectly normal – or perhaps only a little bit eccentric at the most – in Oxford, one would never dream of seeing or doing in ‘the real world’. I remember the time my closest friend and I decided it would be great fun to gallop down the High Street on imaginary horses, neighing and pretending to pull back every time we stopped for traffic, who – because Oxford’s not part of the real world – would not even bat an eyelid at our decidedly odd behaviour.
So yes, there were the occasional eccentricities and there were also people who dedicated their lives to the Union and political societies, but the sheer scale of obnoxiousness that was shown on the BBC last night hit me hard. I’d like to add my voice to the tweets which have gone out saying it’s really not all like this. There are tutorials, mile-long reading lists, essay crises, excellent student concerts, fascinating debates and the undulated joy of having some of the most beautiful buildings and gardens as one’s work space. But of course, these aren’t really sufficiently sensational so bring on the freak show.
It seemed to me that the BBC chose two very interesting characters, but also two incredibly vulnerable people to focus on and held them out to be ridiculed by the nation. Both seemed desperate to be someone else. Chris, in particular, came across as a completely lost little boy, desperate to belong to the upper classes, convinced that saying cheese and biscuits enough times will somehow achieve this. Joe was a more complex character who went from being completely intolerable to commanding a degree of respect for all that he has achieved. The only time he comes across as genuine is when he is with his family and that person’s actually quite likeable.
If I were a member of the Conservative Party, I’d be wishing the ground would swallow me up. The Oxford University Conservative Association or OUCA may not be representative of the national Party but the Party cannot avoid responsibility for what goes on in a student body which carries its name, has its authorisation and plays host to some of the Party’s big boys at its events. The money aspect of it doesn’t bother me, frankly. If they want to keep it a rich man’s club, that’s fine, I would never have the money to be one of them and that’s also fine. What is completely unacceptable, and I hope the Conservative Party would agree with me, is for the OUCA to allow its members to sing disgusting anti-Semitic, racist songs in today’s Britain.
In a programme so utterly damaging to the Tories, I was surprised to find one bit of light which, if I were a Tory Party member, I would hang on to like a life jacket in a sinking ship and that is this quote from Joe – to him, to be a Conservative meant “where you are born should not determine where you end up”. I have no idea if this really is what it means to be a Conservative, but in this time of complete political disillusion and apathy where both our major parties seem to be struggling to establish what they really stand for, it would seem to me that this would be a pretty good statement to grab and run with.
- Freedom in the City on 22nd May with JP Floru on May 22, 2013 12:30 pm
- The Freedom Association’s Magna Carta Pimms and Politics Cruise on June 15, 2013 12:30 pm
- Conservative Renewal Conference on September 14, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on September 30, 2013
- The Freedom Zone on October 1, 2013
Join the Mailing List