Leaked documents reveal OUCA as “corrupt from top to bottom”


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.”

31 thoughts on “Leaked documents reveal OUCA as “corrupt from top to bottom”

  1. Corrupt? On the contrary, OUCA members pay for port and get port. You can criticize that penchant but it’s entirely upfront.

    If you want to see corruption, maybe the writer should attend Prezzy Drinks at the union. Ever wonder where that enormous union membership fee goes? Yep. Getting the President’s friends sloshed in his office, free of charge after every debate.

    This article is such uniformed garbage it barely merits response, were it not so slanderous.

  2. 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.

    … just not true. Perhaps two were new, and they had both helped lead the way with the freshers’ recruitment drive, the most successful in years. The rest were people from across Oxford, including former OUCA officers and others who have a lot of experience to bring.

  3. I’m not an OUCA member, but this seems ridiculously biased. Given the amount that the sports teams drink, or even a normal night at park end, I don’t see how 1/3 of a bottle of port per person is “debauched”…..

  4. I loathe OUCA as much as the next tea-swilling Guardian-reading lefty discontent, but I find it seriously offensive that you’re lumping ‘nights of debauchery’ (yeah, let’s face it – 1/3 a bottle of port is nothing) in with ‘an ingrained culture of sexism, classism and racism’.

  5. I’d like to point that the source who said he could think of only 2 people in the committee who were not privately educated clearly wasn’t thinking properly. As a senior officer I can confirm that the actual number (off the top of my head) is *at the least* 8 people….

    Given that there are 15 committee members, that is still more than 50% non-private school which is in line with the Oxford average for private school students….

  6. It is commendable that “An Officer” has addressed and, it would seem, refuted the allegation of inequality/unfairness etc. in the article.

    As for the other “OUCA” members commenting here: shame on you.

    The author of this piece seems to have evidence that a member of your organisation has sung a Nazi song, and indeed that the student group in general is “corrupt.”

    Rather than addressing these issues, you have taken the *very* easy option of focusing on the port drinking etc. which, frankly, only Daily Mail readers shall care about.

    What impression does this give? I shall tell you. It gives the impression that you are more than happy to let allegations of inequality and racism stand, but as soon as someone criticizes your right to drink port, you leap to the society’s defense.


    Once again, I commend the “Officer” for tackling the grave allegations made by the writer of the this article – as for the rest of you, you make me ashamed to be a Conservative.

  7. @Forever_Blue

    I’m sorry, I took it for granted that I don’t have any connection with anti-semitism or racism and was more concerned about, yes, the rest of the article that impugned the integrity of every member of OUCA. You, on the other hand, like this article, clearly assume pervasive racism.

    All this “shame to be a conservative,” what a load of bull.

    If one person holds racism in their heart that very obviously has nothing to do with what’s in the hearts of others. I have no idea who this person is, what the video consists of, and nor have I ever heard the song in question sung at P&P. Nor, in this instance was it sung at P&P.

    I also, of course, don’t think singing a song makes someone a racist, anymore than a rapper using the n-word makes them a Klansmen.

    The only thing that is pathetic here is that this article was written at all. As if an organization of hundreds should do a background check on the potential racism of its members. As if singing the national anthem is a criminal offense. As if we’re debauched for a few glasses of port. We’re all racist, sexist, snobs according to people who are too politically bigoted to ever attend a meeting. Ridiculous.

  8. @Member.

    “I also, of course, don’t think singing a song makes someone a racist, anymore than a rapper using the n-word makes them a Klansmen.”

    Shame on you, shame shame shame. This is precisely the kind of attitude which got OUCA embroiled in such a scandal. The arrogance and petulance here at diverting the issue at the port drinking is to me a sign of no remorse.

    Further, the distinction you draw is facetious. A rapper uses the n-word because he perhaps, could be referring to himself/his community. OUCA on the other hand, makes an insensitive ‘ode’ to the Holocaust, Jews and the atrocities by the Nazi party in general and you think it’s perfectly justified that they do so, implying, even that it’s akin ‘culture’. You are a sorry disgrace to the society and this kind of attitude should never be condoned at all. Finally, the subject-matter is different. I don’t believe ANY decent human being would accept that an anti-Semitic reference is acceptable in today’s day and age, and just because a rapper uses the n-word, does not mean that the ‘k-word’ is any more acceptable.


  9. What I find more outrageous is your comparing of your ‘anthem’ of ‘dashing through the Reich’ to the national anthem.


  10. @Member: This paper has been “leaked over 25 documents” that implicate your club in all kinds of repulsive behaviour and if they didn’t exist or they weren’t genuine then you would have sued them by now, wouldn’t you. What on earth could possibly bring you to think that an article based on such a large amount of concrete evidence could be “uninformed gargabe”?

    Weak, weak, weak.

  11. @La Resistance
    Did you read the article?
    ‘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.”’

    If you’ve never been to P&P (you never have, have you?) The national anthem is sung after the loyal toast. That’s why this girl is threatening 999. The national anthem, God Save the Queen if you aren’t familiar with it. Not some racist song.
    ‘OUCA on the other hand, makes an insensitive ‘ode’ to the Holocaust, Jews and the atrocities by the Nazi party in general and you think it’s perfectly justified that they do so, implying, even that it’s akin ‘culture’.’

    What in the world are you talking about? Are you under the impression that OUCA composed this song and invented it? That it’s sung by us en masse each meeting? Read the article again. It was one person. At a non-ouca event. And yet this is proof we’re all anti-semites.

    I’d love to know your standard for racism. Like good and evil, is knowledge alone sufficient for the sin? Does knowing a racist joke make a racist?

    As for me, my point was that one swallow does not a summer make. And one racist, condemned immediately by his peer and subsequently investigated for dismissal by his society, doesn’t damn that society. If you have another standard, I’d like to see it.

    I think this is re-direction in the extreme. The point of my post is that I judge people individually. You all have seen one member of OUCA do something disgusting and find that sufficient to judge us as a group.

    Who’re the real bigots?
    Oh that I had as many words as this editorial to rebut what they say. We’ll see if they afford OUCA the opportunity. As it is, on the drinking they’re wrong. On the accusations of state/private they’re wrong. The words of Joe Cooke about *other* people being snobbish are laughable. Read his OxStu column about whether tweed is back in fashion. I remember vividly that, being too good for port @P&P, he’d keep his own cocktail shaker of appletini on the side with his velvet jacket. If he’s resigned, then OUCA has been made less snobbish.

    Not all of it is uninformed, I admit. It’s just shockingly petty.

  12. As for suing them, what an absurd standard. Someone can’t be wrong unless you sue them? Let’s see if the university finds that anything untoward occurred.

    The last time OUCA was embroiled in controversy, the student at the center was found to have done nothing wrong. That was after, of course, his name was dragged through the mud of every national tabloid.

    The university made OUCA become OCA for one year before reinstating them in full.

    I doubt this, on the other hand, will result in anything at all.

  13. I find it hilarious that anyone would waste a second’s breath trying to defend what these silver-spooned ponces get up to!

  14. “This article is such uniformed garbage it barely merits response, were it not so slanderous.”

    Firstly it would be libel as it’s written word. Secondly you can’t libel an organisation. You eejit.

  15. So it would be libel but it can’t be libel? What a wonderful paradox.

    Good thing I didn’t use the word libel, then. I used the word slanderous:

    Slanderous, adj., calumniatory: (used of statements) harmful and often untrue; tending to discredit or malign.

  16. I’m sorry, Member, but I don’t have all the time in the world to reread through the article and scrutinise it with a fine toothcomb to defend my association. Just saying.

  17. The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth. OUCA is always an easy target. Ironic that those who accuse it of prejudice are in fact themselves showing prejudice by doing so.

  18. Prediction: the more the student press wring their hands with sanctimonious humbug about OUCA singing songs, the more they will sing; that’s the main reason they do it – to get attention. If the world ignored them they would soon lose the fun of it.

  19. Here’s a prediction: University has a pretend investigation, turns a blind eye to ingrained culture of bigotry at OUCA, stalls the ruling until the nationals get bored of the story, and then lets OUCA get on with being a bunch of crazed misogynists.

    Thumbs up to the writer for trying to cut through all the pompous public schooboy bullshit and get the truth out there, but it’s just as futile an effort as it’s always been.

  20. @A non-exec: “… just not true. Perhaps two were new, and they had both helped lead the way with the freshers’ recruitment drive, the most successful in years. The rest were people from across Oxford, including former OUCA officers and others who have a lot of experience to bring.”

    – I reckon by experience you mean that they’ve got around more than most? Had you in mind a certain presidential strumpet recently depicted in the Telegraph? Whatever she has or has had, it can hardly be called experience, or at least experience of any relevant description.

    @An Officer

    – I don’t know what’s more exaggerated, that 8 people on committee were not privately educated, or that there are 15 people on committee. Surely with resignations they’re down to a President, President-Elect, Treasurer-Elect, Secretary, two Junior Officers & 4 committee. To be fair you were commenting a few days back but still, not for a while were there 8 people on committee not privately educated.

  21. So one member got drunk and sang a racist song and was told to shut up by another member at a non OUCA event and suddenly all members are racist?

    I’m not defending the guy who sang it – he should be thrown out of the association and possibly more than that. However, to suggest institutional anti-semitism based on this is insane. OUCA has hundreds of members, many of whom sign up for free and attend only a few events. Are the officers meant to follow every member around to make sure that they don’t do anything offensive? Does signing up to a societies membership list make the society responsible for your behaviour at all times? If the “25 documents” show racism or anti-semitism (which I doubt) then that’s a different story and condemning the society may be right but one member at a non ouca event being racist and then told to shut up is not indicative of a racist association.

    The British army uniforms etc. are, again, not from an ouca event.

    The only other substantial claims seem to be that ouca students drink excessively and sing too loudly, and that the president has allowed non-executive officers who are his friends. To whom is it news that students tend to drink alot and can be loud? As for appointing officers I know nothing about it so I won’t comment.

  22. Hi all,

    I remember being an officer under a Jewish president of OUCA just three years ago (albeit that’s quite a while in Oxford terms I suppose!). I think it’s a shame that people feel the need to turn what could be a forum for serious debate into a drunken rabble of anarchy. However, I seriously doubt whether the society or any representative selection of its membership is anti-Semitic. Based upon one drunken person’s singing of an inappropriate song, this article has attempted to portray a group of young individuals who may be inclined towards excess in a far darker light than they deserve.

  23. I’ve followed these developments with interest.

    I note that the proctors cleared OUCA of all the above allegations. They didn’t find a case for “racism, anti-Semitism or harassment”

    On the legal issue, having dealt with the press back in the day, I can confirm that OUCA cannot sue. It is NOT a Corporate entity, but an unincorproated body, which makes things rather messy. I understand that a number of former Presidents were consulted about this matter, and ultimately the Ox Stu will have had to tread carefully not to directly libel any individuals, even if their anonymous whistle-blowers said ridiculous things about OUCA as a whole.

    On the substance of the allegations, it strikes me like stupid immature students. I note that despite the implication it’s a big OUCA thing, it didn’t happen at an OUCA event. Let’s be realistic, if it were actually a significant issue, it would be a police matter.

    On the non-executives, it reads to me like petty political whining. In the Oxford Union, the President appoints a similar number of officers, from ‘Presidential Courtiers’, to Directors of Strategy’, and ‘court jesters’. It’s a discretionary matter, and usually used to bring people in who lost elections, have been involved a lot in the past, or are just good friends. They have no privileges, and no additional responsibilities, unless these are specifically clarified. Some people appoint none, others appoint many. I’ve never heard of people taking issue with it before.

    Lawson, who I’m guessing is related to Nigel,has probably just been targeted by embittered hacks who didn’t succeed electorally, and have yet to get beyond the nursery school mentality of, “If I can’t have it, nobody can”. It’s really quite sad to see OUCA drop to that low. I don’t know of any comparative events in the last 25 years.

    As for the core substance, given this story was done in Michaelmas, and unless something has changed radically, Presidents only do the job for one term, Lawson will have inherited all of this, from his predecessors. These are precisely the ones who wish to imply it has all gone wrong since. I know for a fact that the Chris Adams, “leaked document” originates from earlier terms, and wouldn’t be surprised if all the rest of the details do too. Not to mention the fact that this article is from Michaelmas 2011, and the video is from Michaelmas 2010.

    So Cooke systematically built up a dossier against his own society, didn’t deal with any of the issues when President, and rather than deal with things internally, with the help of the National Party, and/or with the guidance of the Proctors, made it into a massive national press scandal. I’m no psychologist, but he seems like a rather disturbed character. I also note as a Telegraph reader that Cooke got two further waves of whistle-blowing with an article about his predecessor having an accident with security, and with the most recent stories. Clearly, he doesn’t care about the image of the Conservative Party or University.

    All in all, its a depressing indictment on student politics, and on some of the characters who go to Oxford University, both those stupid enough to engage in offensive behaviour, and those who betrayed OUCA, the Party and the University in pursuit of 10 minutes of fame or help to deal with their personal inadequacies. I just hope the society is able to move on from all this. It seems quite periodic for there to be internal battles, and scandal. This detracts from OUCA positive function as a network for Conservatives to socialise, campaign, learn, and debate. OUCA is one of the largest societies in Oxford, and has enriched the lives of many students over it’s years, including my own.

  24. @An Ex OUCA President

    “So Cooke systematically built up a dossier against his own society”

    From whom did I hear this before almost verbatim? Now the agenda behind your comment is clear enough. Guess you weren’t quite an ex-Pres. when you wrote it.

  25. anyone looking back on events, who wasn’t trying to gain attention, and damage a society in which they were the last President. Why not submit a disciplinary complaint to the Association, the Party or the University. The approach says it all…

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