Bullingdon Club back with a bang

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An Oxford student involved in the setting off of fireworks at The Bridge nightclub two weeks ago is reportedly a member of the Bullingdon Club.

Orme Alexander Clarke, a student at St Benet’s, was confirmed by a staff member at Bridge to have been named by police in connection with the incident.

Sources close to Clarke have suggested that he is a member of the infamous dining society.

The firework incident occurred in the early hours of Friday 8th February, when two pyrotechnics were let off in the nightclub’s smoking area.

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “We were called to the nightclub at 12.20am Friday 8th February with a report of a man setting off fireworks in the smoking area of the club.

“No-one was reported injured, and no property damaged. A 20-year-old man was given an £80 fixed penalty notice for letting off fireworks in a public place.”

A staff member at Bridge then confirmed that the police had told them that Clarke was involved in the incident.

The Bullingdon Club has gained a reputation for being one of the most secretive and controversial societies in Oxford. All-male and reputed only to consist of 12 members at any one time, it is notorious for its dinners, which have been known to result in ‘trashing’ of restaurants. High-profile former members include David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

Clarke’s Facebook profile lists his uncle as Sir Tobias Clarke, Baronet, an alumnus of Christ Church, and his cousin as Sir Tobias’s daughter, Augusta. Sir Tobias is one of the Vice-Presidents of the Standing Council of the Baronetage.

The disturbance took place just a week after the disastrous fire at the Kiss nightclub in Brazil, which started as a result of using outdoor pyrotechnics indoors. At least 239 people were killed and 169 others injured.

A St John’s student observed: “I was a little bit drunk at the time, and I was enjoying a cigarette.

“I heard a whizz and then a small bang and I saw some blue sparks a couple of metres away. I didn’t think it was that dangerous or that big.”

Claudia Hill, a student present on the night, said: “I didn’t witness the incident, but I think it’s awful in light of the Brazil tragedy.”

A student who was in Bridge on the night said she had not realised the incident had occurred.  “I didn’t see anything while I was there. I didn’t even find out it had happened until afterwards. I don’t think most people knew about it.”

Dan Enzer, a St John’s fresher, also did not directly witness the incident, but commented: “Yeah I don’t remember that, but well played for smuggling explosives into Bridge.

It’s harder to jump the barrier than get a firework in.”

One anonymous student commented on his exclusion from the Bullingdon: “I’m still waiting for my invitation. Frankly I wouldn’t notice if they trashed my room, I don’t think it would make any difference.”

Another student complained: “It’s because of people like them that I can’t wear white tie around town anymore.”

Clarke is a student at St Benet’s Hall, a Permanent Private Hall on St Giles. The Hall is the only constituent body of the University to solely admit male students. According to its website, Clarke is the JCR Committee’s Food Liason Officer.

Orme Clarke declined to comment.


Corrections & Clarifications

This article originally contained a statement that Orme Alexander Clarke had burned a £50 note in front of a tramp. The Oxford Student wishes to retract this statement on the basis that, subsequent to publication, it has emerged that the evidence does not substantiate the statement. We apologise for the harm and damage to reputation caused.

29 thoughts on “Bullingdon Club back with a bang

  1. Common sense is not innate it needs to be taught to children and young people by their parents and opportunities to practice those skills in real life with appropriate feedback. Many grow up in a bubble and things that they should have learned as a toddler are acted out as young adults instead. Teenagers hormones also pre-dispose them to take more risks with their own safety.

  2. I quite agree, Janet. Whilst this behaviour may not be deemed normal in society, we must accept that this is the kind of thing that teenagers do get up to. No one was hurt and I’m sure he won’t do it again! Lesson learned.

  3. The firework story may be, but yet another use of that old fable regarding the 50pound note!?they’ve been bringing out that story for years and any one with relative sense would realise those boys probably aren’t that financially stupid or malicious. Add that to the quite recent use of it in the daily mail and this article smells poorly of lazy journalism. I look forward to an article in the Oxford Student that takes an interesting and original approach to this obviously rather stale topic.

  4. Is this anything more than gossip? You don’t seem to have corroborated the hearsay with anything solid!

  5. reporting that someone “reportedly” is or did something a pretty self-fulfilling and meaningless exercise in the sort of middling journo-aspiration that can only scrape by on titillation, untruths, and misplaced shaming.

    also: ‘news team’ ? is that your christian name? were you born swaddled in a daily paper? or borne of cowardice?

  6. it says ‘news team’ because more than one person worked on it, and I mean ‘worked’. A lot of investigation has clearly been conducted for confirmation of the details in this piece, and the author(s) clearly state that the name of the man involved came from the police. I see no reason to be cowardly about this article, and if it seems cliched to re-state the kind of thing the bullingdon club get up to, then I would instead ask, why does it become any less dreadful the 50th time you hear about it? If anything, confirmation that practices such as burning money still go on is important in a country led by one of its former members. How a man who at one point thought that it was acceptable on any level to trash restaurants and taunt homeless people became prime minister in the first place will always be a mystery to me, and the more articles that exist to deplore the wickedness of a tiny minority of oxford students, the better.

  7. Bethany, I completely disagree with your view; this article does not at all seem to suggest that an extensive amount of investigation has been conducted in order to confirm the details that are mentioned. The only statement that can be considered anything other than hearsay is from the police spokesperson. As for the allegations about initiations, it appears that the “authors” of this article have spent too much time reading unfounded and baseless suggestions which have been made in other publications, This paper should be focussed on reporting stories in which they have some reliable evidence rather than using the article as invective against an individual based on tenuous claims that “a source” has offered. The fact that you seem to accept that which is written in the article as being the absolute truth highlights your ignorance and inability to recognise poor journalism. “How a man who at one point thought that it was acceptable on any level to trash restaurants and taunt homeless people became prime minister in the first place will always be a mystery to me” – On what basis can you make the baseless claim that homeless people are taunted? Are you still clinging to the nonsense that has been churned out both in the national press and this student paper? Could you please offer some evidence for any wrongdoing of David Cameron during his time at Oxford? It is ridiculous to base your view on whether he should be PM by judging him against stereotypes that have been exaggerated and vilified in the press, rather than the things that are important like his policies. Your comment is mere slander, in the same way that this article is a vindictive attack on an individual that is maliciously informed by a stereotype and unworthy of being published.

  8. I would like to voice my up most support for orme on this issue, but would like to say the actual crime is his poor show at food liaison officer!

  9. Further, I am yet to complete my law degree, but even I know that the OxStu wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they were sued for libel. Any lawyer would jump at the opportunity to represent Mr Clarke.

  10. ‘Anonymous’ should probably take a chill pill and realise that this is student journalism not a national newspaper, that the story is interesting and relevant to most students in Oxford, even those who don’t go out clubbing, and that the source of the story about the £50 pound note was not hearsay or previous articles but a current member of the university, known to Orme, who has been directly quoted. It wouldn’t be in the interests of the people who write for the ox-stu to practice bad journalism, since they don’t get paid and most of them are doing it with a view to working in journalism in the future. I know that the authors of this piece put time and effort into getting enough sources (5 or 6 off the record) to confirm that Orme was a member of the Bullingdon club to make their story credible.

  11. And there is photographic evidence that David Cameron was in the Bullingdon club. His personal moral fibre is certainly relevant to his ability to be a good prime minister, aside from the policies of the party he represents, and I don’t think it’s ridiculous to say that your moral fibre probably isn’t helped by enjoying membership of a club that thinks it’s funny to burn money.

  12. Bethany,

    I completely agree; ‘this is student journalism… and relevant to most students in Oxford’. However, to contend that ‘the story about the £50 pound note was not hearsay’ but a quote from ‘a current member of the university’ and therefore true is short sighted, if not charmingly naive. Given that you know that there were ‘5 or 6 [sources] off the record’, would suggest that you are in some way affiliated with the article (and probably the author), would also suggest that you are somewhat familiar with journalistic values and practices. You must surely know that journalists notoriously interpret sources (and even create them), to fit their arguments – the astonishing number of libel cases against national newspapers is testament to this. Indeed students who had a ‘view to working in journalism’ (in all likelihood yourself included) know full well that, if anything, a principled refusal to ‘practice bad journalism’, would count against them. Perhaps your ‘naivety’ is not so charming after all.

    NB suggesting that anyone who is not in accord with your line of argument should ‘take a chill pill’, somewhat undermines the credibility of your position. Rather, it suggests prejudice and dogmatism.

  13. Anonymous is obviously a pretentious twat. But sadly i have to agree with him in one respect; writing ‘take a chill pill’ makes you sound like you’re a five year old. Come on Beth, or should i say News Team (wink wink, nudge nudge), I expected better from you.

  14. “Bethany burnt a £50 note in front of a tramp when she was initiated into the Oxford Student”

    That is literally as accurate as your piece of shoddy journalism.

  15. God that Bethany girl must be really awful…who kicks tramps dogs for fun…

  16. Bethany's potential future employers reading lies printed on the basis of the claims of an 'anonymous source' says:

    Not going to give her a job, she must be mental, what with all the dog kicking and tramp baiting etc

  17. I really wish the media wouldn’t print fabrications to which I cannot possibly respond….It has caused me number of problems and a great deal of upsett. I can see now how it must have been deeply upsetting for that Orme character who I once ignorantly maligned on just such a basis

  18. Sorry old girl, think we’ve screwed the pooch on this one. Libel claims coming faster than bullets from a south african’s 9mm.

  19. We would like to formally distance ourselves from our colleague bethany, following the plethora of legal issues that are currently dogging this case of shoddy reporting. We are also extremely concerned about the rumours surrounding an incident involving Bethany, a £50 note and an unfortunate jack russel terrier on Cornmarket last week.

  20. Orme Clarke is an extremely lovely boy, well respected and admired by his peers. He made a mistake, and it is quite frankly boring to blog about it. Bethany, no one gives a F.

  21. haha WOW… I didn’t write the article, I don’t write for ox-stu, or any other paper. And I don’t want to go into journalism. And in light of your 9 comments, I stand by my earlier advice to take a chill pill.

    Also- whether or not he’s in the bullingdon club, letting off a firework at a club is not the action of an extremely lovely boy, it’s the action of a thoughtless dickhead.

  22. Sorry for being so ratty guys, my girlfriend made me drink her period blood last night as a ‘test’ of our relationship

  23. Bethany, again you show your naivety and lack of understanding. David Cameron was photographed with the Bullingdon Club. But the fact that you take this as absolute proof in defining his character shows how you are informed solely by stereotype. You judge him based on the actions of others. Both at university and in his political career, Cameron has never been implicated in any wrongdoing. “Also- whether or not he’s in the bullingdon club, letting off a firework at a club is not the action of an extremely lovely boy, it’s the action of a thoughtless dickhead.” – You at least seem to have grasped that these “sources” appear to have been created and at best exaggerated. But you persist with slander, and you appear all the weaker for it. If, as you say, you are not in any way inclined towards journalistic pursuits, why do you find such difficulty in trying to see through the swathes of false and exaggerated claims that are made in this article? See above concerning your request for me to take a “chill pill”.

  24. I decided I’m going to track one of these cunts down & give them what they deserve – watch this space!

  25. Can I just ask anyone who’s actually in Oxford and knows who these members of the Bullingdon club are, please stab them to death with a sharpened rusty spoon.


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