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By James Rothwell
Three terms of debauchery, anti-Semitism and nepotism at Oxford University’s Conservative club have been revealed after disillusioned officers leaked more than 25 documents to The Oxford Student.
Most embarrassing for OUCA is video evidence of one member beginning an anti-Semitic chant, which has featured before in the society’s controversial recent history.
The video, filmed towards the end of Michaelmas 2010 in Corpus Christi’s JCR, shows a member drunkenly singing: “Dashing through the Reich”, at the camera, before being silenced by another member. The song’s full version includes he words: “Dashing through the Reich / in a black Mercedes Benz / killing lots of kike / ra ta ta ta ta ”.
“This is a widespread issue at the moment,” said a former OUCA President, “Lots of people were singing it that night, and indeed on many other nights, and the general attitude is that that was OK. The thing is, lots of members do find that song (and songs like that one) absolutely despicable, though little is done to stop it. I am very worried with the direction the society is going in at present.”
Leaked photographs depict numerous high-ranking officers of the society rolling around drunk on the floor and falling off sofas. The members were also photographed late that evening posing in British Empire uniforms. In one particularly bizarre scene, a member pours port into another’s mouth through an Imperialist helmet.
Another photo shows two members dressed as Margaret Thatcher and a miner respectively, the latter bearing a placard across his chest, which reads “I LOVE SHAFTING.”
“The pun was very funny indeed,” one 2nd year observed, “the flippant attitude to the way in which Thatcher subjugated the working class was not.”
At another Port and Policy meeting, in spite of the association’s reputation for extreme views, one member was overheard complaining that OUCA “was not right wing enough”, while another proudly claimed the society was “a better dressed version of the BNP.”
Cooke, who was present at the meeting, said: “I find it offensive against the Conservative party and efforts to broaden the appeal of OUCA. It betrays the reformist mantra of earlier terms.”
In yet another blow to the eighty seven year old political society’s reputation, one former officer condemned OUCA as it exists today as “corrupt from top to bottom.” A series of private emails between senior OUCA officers also condemned members’ conduct at several society meetings as “an utter disgrace.”
As drunken debauchery at Port and Policy becomes increasingly prevalent, volunteering schemes and the creation of a woman’s officer role and a charity partnership have both been scrapped in a move described by one member as “absolutely disgraceful.”
Anonymous sources in the organization, several of them former officers, claimed its bigoted days are far from over with numerous members engaging in the same behavior which drove them to be disaffiliated from the University in 2009.
The society’s penchant for patriotic songs even drove former Treasurer Chris Adams to distraction:
“Gentleman,” the ex-treasurer wrote in a message to senior officers, “I write to you not for my own sake but on behalf of my friends who live in the Frewin annexe next to the Union. I am informed that, in recent weeks, it has become customary to sing not just the thoroughly apt national anthem, but to embark upon a meandering destruction of yet more of our fine country’s greatest songs… However, singing a string of roaringly patriotic songs *every week* seems a little excessive, and not a little crass…the dissonance is enough to inflict pain as short, spotty, still-pubescent boys struggle to fix their unsteady voices on *any* pitch at all.”
The ex-Treasurer added: “This unbridled clamor is disturbing finalists who live near the Union, many of whom are sounder Conservatives than most, but who don’t feel the need to dress up in ridiculous clothes or pretend that we still have an empire.”
“One friend told me this morning at breakfast that, somewhat stressed with revision, the impending cacophony which she sensed as the words “The Queen” rang out [that night] was actually enough to reduce her to floods of tears. While the happy medley deluged all those surrounding, she lay on her bed, crying, with her phone in her hand, waiting to call 999.”
“Nor is the suffering unique to her; every single Sunday night I reliably see my Facebook feed fill up with comments such as “FUCKING OUCA” and “CUNTS”. Indeed, I know when to leave the KA on a Sunday, as I usually receive a text from one or more friends saying “OUCA are twats,” which acts as a useful warning that the dirge has begun.”
One invoice, dated 16th October 2011, revealed the society incurred £75 for “special cleaning” of Union premises after a particularly raucous evening of port quaffing and revelry.
“It was highly embarrassing and very inappropriate,” said one anonymous former officer, “basically one member had had a bit too much to drink that night and vomited on the Union premises, which is yet another example of drunkenness and foolishness happening at what is supposed to be a political society.”
Nepotism is still prevalent in the society with current President James Lawson appointing fellow old-Hamptonians to committee positions in the society. The President came under fire from members after he appointed ten new members to the position of Non Executive Officers.
“Dear All,” Lawson wrote, “I am writing to inform you of some non-executive officers I would like to appoint as “general assistants”… and to “further the objectiveness of the Association [quoting from OUCA rulebook].”
“The following people…have already provided significant assistance to the Association, from receiving deliveries to helping transport items to other events, helping book speakers etc.”
But the society’s bands of mutineers deny these reasons, as stated in the President’s Email.
One “concerned” OUCA member recounted how Lawson, attempting to pass through ten new non-executive officers, “couldn’t keep a straight face when some of the names came up…the same went for a lot of his friends in the room.”
Amongst the newly appointed members were three former pupils at Hampton School, a prestigious independent school in London that the President attended.
“Clearly Lawson is playing homage to the school tie,” said “A Concerned OUCA Member,” “one new officer is a fresher – therefore it is beyond belief that he could have done enough to warrant a position as officer.”
When challenged about his choice of new officers, Lawson “suddenly started getting very uncomfortable,” according to the member.
“This is just one example of the cronyism at the top of OUCA. Out of 6 committee members, 4 junior officers and 5 senior officers, I can only think of two who weren’t privately educated. The problem is, if you don’t have the old boys’ network and you can’t afford to buy the white tie, it is easy to be alienated from the society’s activities, let alone win elections.”
President James Lawson denied that members were unhappy with the appointment of new members: “”Council overwhelmingly supported and encouraged each of these appointments, and they have already added lots of value to a resurgent OUCA with over 500 new members.”