With all our fair trade coffee, bangles and well travelled student body, it is far too easy to forget that there is a real world out there. The University of Sussex is a liberal bubble and that can be quite dangerous when you think about it. Seminars that become two hour discussions on feminism, Marxism or postcolonial theories lull us into believing that being a human being at the dawn of the twenty first century is a lot more pleasant than it really is.
There are some of us intelligent (some may say cynical) enough to realise that a lot of the most ‘liberal’ students at Sussex only ever got to build that village school in Napal because their parents are wealthy sell-outs, but I still feel that we are missing something. For the last few decades ‘alternative’ ( I use that term to mean anything outside the Daily Mail) culture has given us great laughs at the expense of the old fuddy-duddy upper classes strengthening our resolve that we are getting ever closer to that ridiculous proposition, a meritocracy. Tim-nice-but-dim, Harry Enfield’s hilarious creation, taught us that the old boy’s club was now a laughable term that had as much relevance as a pork pie in a Phones4U outlet and as if to prove their point the Tories spent a good decade in the naughty corner not even trying to get elected.
These days are different however, and though our liberal chitter chatter continues at a furious pace, there is now a big likelihood that the country will soon be governed by the small-government worshipping, tax cutting Conservatives. For two years now they have blethered on about solar panels and veganism and it really did seem like that spell in Westminster’s naughty corner had got them to cast off their ‘nasty party’ reputation.
Well, to use a polite term, that was all bollocks. The controversy surrounding George Osbourne’s request for donations has highlighted the fact that the old boys club, under the pseudonym ‘The Bullingdon Club’ has been orchestrating a rather remarkable comeback. Boris Johnson, David Cameron and George Osbourne spent their Oxford days drinking and trashing up stuff with some of Britain’s richest little twerps. The club, over two hundred years old, has been responsible for some of the most expensive pranks and general money-wasting high-jinx in the history of the Oxford University.
This, my dear liberal comrades, is the real progress our society has made. From his relatively lowly background, Osbourne’s parents most likely had to remortgage their souls to afford the uniform, damages costs and casual trips to Budapest or whatever, but as soon as Osbourne was in he was made. It is interesting to know that Nat Rothschild’s mother, Nat being the ultra-toff who blew the whistle on Osborne’s dirty money grabbing, has funded Osbournes’ office to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The point of me writing all of this is instructional. Enjoy your abstract discussions about the equality of the sexes (abstract they will stay for many a year I’m afraid) and carry on buying organic if your parents earn enough but please be aware that there is a real world outside Sussex. It is a world where David Cameron can put a couple of female or black faces on his front bench, talk about caring about single mothers and trick us into thinking the Tories have changed. The fact that the Bullingdon Club is so well represented amongst their bright young ranks should stop you from ever thinking that their smarmy rhetoric is anything but disingenuous.