Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bullingdon Drummond

If there was one group of Tories who were loathed by the opposition in the 1980s, it was the Youth Wing of the Conservative Party.
Why? Well the "Hang Nelson Mandela" badges that some of the Federation of Conservative Students wore didn't help. Nor did the pouring champange over each others heads on election night, nor local young activists deciding to hold an impromptu party outside the Battersea Labour HQ on general election night in June 1987 after Alf Dubbs lost his seat (deliberatley rubbing salt into the wounds), as mentioned in John O'Farrell's political memoir. All the kinds of things that are guaranteed to irritate.
It still continues today of course, for example Otis Ferry and his merry chums storming the Commons Chamber during a session and guarenteeing apologist comments that would have been lacking if Labour activists did it during the miners strike, but in the eighties there were a particular breed who thought that they were straight out of Brideshead Revisited.
Notorious among the upper set was the Bullingdon Club. That group of young Tories who wrecked resturants like a gang of sophisticated hoddies and had Mother and Father pay for the damage and hush things up (not a situation your average asbo collector has to help him or her).
Many of these young Turks are now more well behaved middle aged men, albeit rather embarrased and finding that their past has come back to haunt them. As they regret their past and are sorry, a veil should be drawn over their misspent youth.
But this doesn't take into account the following, according to yesterday's Evening Standard Londoner Diary, Bullingdoner James Delingpole has had to face this sceneario:

"...had hoped to write for The Sunday Times about his new book, How to be Right, the Essential Guide to Making Lefty Liberals History, in which he says his old friend Dave is not Right-wing enough to lead the Conservative Party.
But the paper's editor John Witherow and section editor Eleanor Mills were more interested in the drugs story. 'I told them I loathe this sort of thing and they became very angry,' says Delingpole, who wrote a piece about Oxford Bullingdon Club for the current Spectator. 'Eleanor then sent me an email saying John Witherow would not accept any more articles from me..."

Well I doubt in any case that Delingpole'sbooks will sell that much, but it goes to show that if you are involved in that sort of thing in your misspent youth to be very careful. The sins of the Young Conservatives will come back to haunt you, yea even into the Third and Fourth decade.


Tim Roll-Pickering said...

the Youth Wing of the Conservative Party.

There was more than one - the Federation of Conservative Students, the Young Conservatives and the Conservatives Graduates. All three were dissolved/merged into Conservative Future in 1998 though people still call for the restoration of separate youth and student wings (but, in a sign of just how effective they were, no-one is calling for the return of the Graduates).

Unfortunately too many in the FCS (and later in CF) seem all to willing to conform to the ghastly stereotype of the teenage/early 20s member who knows all the answers and sees everything in black & white. You and I have both expressed our "irritation" with such people, regardless of party.

Paul Burgin said...

To be fair I should have made the distinctions more clear, and yes as you know, I get irritated with such people regardless of Party. The point I was making was that such people should realise that their past can come back to haunt them when they are a bit more respectable