Exclusive: OUCA members’ secret British Empire dining society

19th August 2013 By Sarah Poulten

The Oxford Student has received a dossier which points to the existence of a secret British Empire themed dining society made up of members of the Oxford University Conservative Association.

The logo of the society

The logo of the society

The male-only group claims to be made up of ‘sound gentlemen of the University of Oxford’. The members refer to each other by names of former British colonies, with the President going by India, and others by Ireland, Australia and Canada. The members sign off emails with “Your faithful servant” and the name of their allocated former colony.

Members are selected from the OUCA ranks by other Viceroys. They then have to pay £50 for lifetime membership. This fee includes the silk club bow tie, which members are instructed to wear as part of the white tie dress code for all dinners.

The highly secretive nature of the club is indicated by one email between members which reminds its recipients to “appreciate that the society must be discreet”.

The dossier reveals that the dining society includes members from every level of OUCA. Many are senior members in the OUCA committee. The society also includes one former OUCA president.

The society holds termly ‘Banquets’ which vary in price from £35 to £50. Locations vary from rooms in colleges to the Worcester Room of the Randolph Hotel.

One dinner was arranged to “mark 364 years since one of the most odious crimes in British history – the regicide of King Charles I. King Charles was canonised after the restoration because of his unwavering duty to God and his Country”.

The invitation continues with the quote: “Kings are not bound to give account of their actions but to God alone”.

Another dinner was organised to “celebrate 172nd anniversary of the birth of the Admiral of the Fleet John Arbuthnot ‘Jacky Fisher’ […] who is heir to Admiral the Viscount Nelson in our great naval tradition which has and still to this day (and please god well into the future) shape [sic] the face of the World”.

Others were arranged to celebrate St Crispin’s Day and the battle of Agincourt in 1415.

The revelations of this Empire-themed dining society follow a number of other scandals relating to OUCA. Almost two years ago members were alleged to have been witnessed singing a Nazi-themed song. Other scandals include complaints that poorer OUCA members had been ridiculed by former public schoolboys, leading to suggestions of class discrimination.

Previous OUCA presidents include the Baroness Thatcher and Sir Edward Heath, leading some to see it as training ground for future Conservative Party leaders.