What will Cameron do to end the racism of the young Conservatives?

Alex Hern questions just how deep the rot at Conservative Future goes

A Conservative Future poster from the 1980s

The flurry of scandals involving Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Tory Party, ought to raise serious questions about the make-up of the organisation.

The rush was sparked by an investigation by the Oxford Student newspaper into that university’s Conservative association.

The OxStu reported:

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 ”…

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.”

As we reported earlier this month, the history of OUCA is one of scandal:

In 2000, four members were kicked out of a meeting of Oxford University Student Union for what the student press described as “a deliberate disruption of proceedings, involving Nazi-style salutes, cries of ‘Viva Pinochet’ and alleged drunken behaviour”.

In 2004 OUCA’s ex-treasurer was found guilty of bringing the organisation into disrepute after writing an article claiming that “the problem with India is its culture [which is] stained by two main features which hold the country down continually with little sign of change: democracy and Hinduism”.

In 2007, they were exposed for singing exactly the same Nazi song that they got in trouble for this month.

But the rot amongst young Conservatives is broader than just one university.

The BBC reported yesterday:

An effigy of US President Barack Obama was burned over the weekend by members of the Conservative student association at St Andrews University.

The St Andrews Conservative Association apologised for any offence caused.

Suggestions that the effigy was also wrapped in an EU flag have been denied.

As Political Scrapbook uncovered this morning, this isn’t the first time that St Andrews Conservatives have done something like this:

The Conservative Association which caused outrage by burning an effigy of Barack Obama have previously torched a likeness of Nelson Mandela on numerous occasions and toasted Apartheid at their annual dinners.

The group at St Andrews University have been excoriated for the racial insensitivities of the stunt.

And yesterday, the chair of Conservative Future was savaged for mocking the northern diet of “chips and gravy”:

The leader of the Conservative Party’s youth organisation has been called “patronising” and “snobbish” after insulting the diets of northerners, describing the party’s successes in the region as the ”gravy revolution”.

The Tory website London Spin — previously the venue of appalling anti-gypsy racism — claimed that Conservative Future chair Ben Howlett has “committed to having chips and gravy with CF branches in the north”. Not for the first time, it was left to the blog’s readers to point out how out of touch this supposedly amusing campaign ruse is.

So many young Conservatives have said so many terrible things in public that there exists a blog purely to catalogue them. From Tory Boy Tom complaining:

Gypsys breed like rats. How can they have human rights when they aren’t human? Soft touch Britain at its worst.

To Stewart Green, the former secretary of Conservative Future Scotland, musing:

As far as I can see, racism is discrimination against a particular race. So you can be racist against Jews, but not against black people…

The cup of young Tories with terrible views is overflowing.

What’s really scary, however, is the thought that none of this is new. It may well be that what has changed isn’t that Conservative Future has got more racist and offensive over the years, but merely that whereas they used to do all of this in private, it now often spills out into public.

Although Cameron has managed to crack down on stories of his Bullingdon days, it will be harder for the leaders of the future to do the same.

See also:

Worst Student Tories Ever Faceoff: Oxford Tories 2011 v Bullingdon 1988 – You decideAlex Hern, November 7th 2011

Griffin’s friends the KKK come to BritainAlex Hern, October 19th 2011

Helmer’s exit takes us out of the frying pan and into the fireAlex Hern, October 13th 2011

The dehumanising rhetoric undermining the student movementDavid Barclay, April 17th 2011

Liddle’s BNP friendsWill Straw, February 5th 2010

38 Responses to “What will Cameron do to end the racism of the young Conservatives?”

  1. DGillon

    “a better dressed version of the BNP.”

    That’s how I normally think of UKIP, but if the Tories want to claim it for their own…

  2. Guest

    The University of St Andrews Conservative and Unionist Association seem to have taken their website offline, but its still cached on google. Apparently:

    “This is an annual tradition which dates back numerous years, with previous heretics including Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband & Alex Salmond”

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3dZXAhALD9wJ:www.standrewsconservatives.com/

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:3dZXAhALD9wJ:www.standrewsconservatives.com

  3. Mr. Sensible

    Disgrace.

  4. Nick_Osborne

    RT @leftfootfwd: What will Cameron do to end the racism of the young Conservatives? http://t.co/vjTNVo7V

  5. David Smout

    The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/itUm7fsA

  6. Atos Stories

    The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/itUm7fsA

  7. John Rogers

    Young Tories do Nazi salutes + burn Mandela effigies, but I'm sure they grow out of it, right? Right? http://t.co/RLS0w4NB via @sunny_hundal

  8. Chip Deeks

    The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/itUm7fsA

  9. thatmashguy

    The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/itUm7fsA

  10. Lily Ayre

    The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/itUm7fsA

  11. Steven Hallmark

    Shocking. RT"@sunny_hundal: The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/FGVLNYSl"

  12. Melissa Apis

    Young Tories do Nazi salutes + burn Mandela effigies, but I'm sure they grow out of it, right? Right? http://t.co/RLS0w4NB via @sunny_hundal

  13. Christopher Lewis

    A few wks ago I suggested it might be worth keeping tabs on young Tories in light of the Bullingdon fiasco. Someone has http://t.co/ZlS4XFz8

  14. Janet Graham

    The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/itUm7fsA

  15. Alex Braithwaite

    RT @leftfootfwd: What will Cameron do to end the racism of the young Conservatives? http://t.co/qA7ATONt

  16. Jonathan Taylor

    RT What will Cam do to end the racism of the young Conservatives? http://t.co/m26wXj9x OUCA =“a better dressed version of the BNP.”

  17. Jane

    RT What will Cam do to end the racism of the young Conservatives? http://t.co/m26wXj9x OUCA =“a better dressed version of the BNP.”

  18. Anonymous

    I and my mates in college burnt the picture of Thatcher in the 1983 miners strike Labour said it was done due to the anger of the closure and mistreatment of miners and working class people, to day Labour MP’s would have said she was one of our greatest leaders how times change

  19. Tom Evans

    What will Cameron do to end the racism of the young Conservatives? http://t.co/Hn1M4LhT

  20. seuss

    #MostRead #1: @AlexHern on the young Conservatives' racism problem – asking what David Cameron's doing about it: http://t.co/Hsqm7miK

  21. neilrfoster

    #MostRead #1: @AlexHern on the young Conservatives' racism problem – asking what David Cameron's doing about it: http://t.co/Hsqm7miK

  22. thabet

    #MostRead #1: @AlexHern on the young Conservatives' racism problem – asking what David Cameron's doing about it: http://t.co/Hsqm7miK

  23. Panda

    #MostRead #1: @AlexHern on the young Conservatives' racism problem – asking what David Cameron's doing about it: http://t.co/Hsqm7miK

  24. w.m o'mara

    RT @leftfootfwd: What will Cameron do 2 end the racism of the young Conservatives? http://t.co/rp2UpVZO The terrible views of young Tories

  25. Patricia Farrington

    #MostRead #1: @AlexHern on the young Conservatives' racism problem – asking what David Cameron's doing about it: http://t.co/Hsqm7miK

  26. Look Left – Workers prepare to fight slasher Osborne | Left Foot Forward

    […] the rotten, racist, backward-looking scum of the St Andrews University Conservative Club, who burnt an effigy of Barack Obama – having previously done the same to Nelson […]

  27. guest

    There’s also this one from a few years back: Fury Over Young Tory Slave & Master Pictures

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/02/08/fury-over-young-tory-slave-master-pictures-86908-20312384/

  28. Trouble Down Pit

    The list of idiotic and offensive things young Tories get up to is long…. RT @aarora17 http://t.co/itUm7fsA

  29. Nazi party Tory is sorry you were offended | Left Foot Forward

    […] we reported in November, various CF organisations have got in trouble for: Mocking the northern diet of […]

  30. C S McUke

    Bullingdon/ Oxford/ St Andrews…… Tory, Tory, Tory http://t.co/uNmQyASX

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  32. Liz Hammond

    RT @leftfootfwd: What will Cameron do to end the racism of Conservative youth? http://t.co/dDvZkliw It's not just the banks, or the EU …

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