23 April 2007

The Bullingdon Club c.Mid-19th Century-2007

Image: Newsnight's Bullingdon club paintingWaiting staff, pub landlords and other inhabitants of the city of Oxford are today breathing sighs of relief and downgrading their insurance policies, following news that The Bullingdon Club, Oxford University's most notoriously irresponsible "dining club", is expected to pass away after calls by its most celebrated member, Conservative Leader David Cameron, for a new "responsible society".

Born in the mid-19th Century (the details are, like so many members of the society, a little hazy) the Bullingdon Club was a late flowering of Regency irresponsibility in a more sober Victorian age. Though originally conceived as a sporting society, before its first year was out the club was already establishing for itself a reputation for drunkenness and debauchery previously only held by the Hellfire Club and now rivalled only by Premiership footballers and British under-30s on their summer holidays. It is understood that it is in order to distinguish themselves from the last two groups that the Club's members insist to this day on wearing an eccentric uniform of blue tailcoats (though, sadly for the club, this has led to many claims that former boxer and present-day oddball Chris Eubank is an honorary life member).

So irresponsible was the Bullingdon, indeed, that to this day those invited to join the Club's 20-strong membership are welcomed by having their rooms trashed (something which, admittedly, many students are capable of achieving without the aid of some chinless types in dinner dress) and then required to book a private room at a local establishment where the Club's members can drink themselves into near insensibility before reducing the room to a state where it would look far from out of place in Central Baghdad.

Down the years the Club's reputation grew and grew. Lampooned by Evelyn Waugh as the Bollinger Club and attracting such (usually only briefly) upright members of society as bad artist and zookeeper Lord Bath, fraudster and thug Darius Guppy, gleefully caddish former minister Alan Clark and er, David Dimbleby, the Club spent its time in glorious irresponsibility, throwing bikes through windows, smashing street lights and carrying out assorted other activities which lead lesser mortals to criminal charges and Club members to throw large amounts of daddy's money at the victims.

With members such as Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, Shadow Minister for Higher Education Boris Johnson and Mr Cameron himself all poised to take power, a future of untrammelled irresponsibility seemed assured. Who could have predicted that one of the Club's own offspring would forsake his vows and turn against it, using a speech to the Royal Society of Arts and an article in The Guardian to espouse the virtues of social responsibility and condemn those who cause wreck and ruin in their failure to offer others the respect that they deserve?

The Bullingdon Club will be buried at a secret dining event at St Alan Clark's Church of the Extended Wine Tasting. The Vicar will read from The Book of "Dear Lord You Can't Really Be Doing That In The Font Can You? Oh, 'Here's £500 For The Church Roof', You Say? Just Carry On". The church itself will be condemned as structurally unsound tomorrow.


james higham said...

Poor, poor Paul Pennyfeather, when Lumsden of Strathdrummond crossed his path that night.

The As A Dodo Team said...

Ah yes, "always a gentleman" Paul