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More on Obergruppenfuhrer Dacre, Biscuitgate and Bullingdon Conservatism

Posted on 20 October 2009 | 12:10pm

A return to three recent blog stamping grounds if I may, namely Jan Moir, Biscuitgate and Oxford student politics.

First, Jan Moir. And a question – where has Mail Obergruppenfuhrer Paul Dacre been as this storm has engulfed his paper? He is always front of queue when it comes to lecturing others on leadership, and yet what has his response been as 21,000 complaints – mine not included I should say as I have no faith in the PCC whatever – have flooded into the Press Complaints Commission? It has been to get Moir to cobble together the ludicrous statement of a few days ago, and to get Janet Street-Porter to pen a ‘why oh why did Jan write that piece?’ piece in yesterday’s paper, while keeping his own sweet head well below the parapet.

The PCC has at least shifted from its original line, that it could only investigate if the subject of the article made a complaint. Stephen Gately was doubtless highly talented, but I’m not sure those talents extend to making a complaint to the PCC from beyond the grave.

Now, the PCC have asked the Mail for their comments. That should be a cosy little chat. Mail Obergruppenfuhrer Dacre can sit down for tea and biscuits with the PCC Code committee chairman, Oberkomiteepresident …. er, Paul Dacre.

Ludicrous. Surely even he realises his chances of that Knighthood for services to journalism are thin.

Now to Biscuitgate. I think this may be a story of the mainstream media’s continuing difficulties with handling the new media, with a bit of good old party politics thrown in. Mumsnet had 800 postings for the GB event, and 500 direct questions, of which he answered 28. A good hour’s work for both Mumsnet and GB, and the tone was not nearly as negative as the mainstream media would have it.

One of the early negative pieces, a running commentary of GB’s performance, came on Times Online’s Alpha Mummy, part run by one Sarah Vine, described as a mother of two children. And the father of the two children is Tory schools spokesman Michael Gove, who yesterday led his Times column bemoaning GB’s role in … yes, Biscuitgate. Oh, the plot is thickening faster than you can dunk a jaffa cake in your tea.

Third, Oxford students. Both Peter Mandelson and I have now spoken to Labour students there since the new term started, and a lively bunch they are, but meanwhile a very interesting story has been developing on the Tory side of the fence. This will be of interest to all past, present and future members of the Bullingdon Club.

It seems that at a hustings for election to positions in the Oxford University Conservative Association, one of the tests for the candidates was to recite their favourite racist jokes. This went down a storm with almost all of those present, but offended one or two and the story got out, not least when one of the complainants got beaten up for his pains.

Eventually, two of the jokers – the winner apparently told a joke about black people stealing TV sets, only they used the N word rather than the black people words – were expelled from OUCA. It also led to the University Proctors deciding


there was no place for this vile body within the University and they were asked to remove the word ‘University’ from their title. So they are now OCA not OUCA.

And guess what has happened now? They have been accepted into the Tory Party fold, affiliated to Central Office and Conservative Future, the Tories’ youth wing.

Great to know that Cameron’s compassionate progressive Conservatism has done so much to shake off the Bullingdon past he professes to find distasteful, don’t you think?

  • Polly Harper

    Keep going. It is a scandal that this issue is not getting the same intensity of coverage as it would if it concerned, say, Russell Brand and the BBC. I know the BBC has higher standards than the Mail, and this reflects maybe the fact people realise the Mail standards are low. But it is excellent when they feel the same heat they like to put on others.

  • George Hills

    Why don;t you ask to interview Dacre on stage for charity, a bit like the Stephen Fry event or the Calendar Girls event on your site? I would pay a lot for that

  • Harry Harrison

    Why has the Oxford story had no national publicity? If this was Labour allying itself to extremists – which racists are – then we would never hear the end of it.

  • isabelle cavagnon

    Bonjour,
    Je suis plutôt une lectrice de livres policiers mais mon ami m’a offert votre livre “Tout est dans la Tête” que je viens de terminer ce matin. Merci pour cette lecture émouvante et cette merveilleuse leçon d’humilité qui est, je pense, la plus belle et la plus importante qualité humaine ; comme vous l’écrivez, “l’humilité est la clé de l’humanité”. Je crois malheureusement que les gens humbles n’existent presque plus et que ceux qui le sont ont dû traverser une épreuve pour la retrouver. C’est une leçon de vie extraordinaire que votre livre que je vais m’empresser de transmettre à mes ami(e)s qui se complaisent dans leurs petits malheurs qui n’en sont pas.
    Merci encore pour cette lecture émouvante et bouleversante, je serai maintenant à l’affût de vos prochains livres.

  • Judith Haire

    I have a swear box on my desk. It’s a porcelain piggy bank and that seems to cover all eventualities. I emptied all my loose change into it after I read today’s blog.
    I read Private Eye if I want to find out what’s really going on behind the political backdrop(s) My husband has a job but this weekend we feared he hadn’t. Life is complicated enough without all this he said she said claptrap. That said I take my hat off to anyone brave enough to try and run HMG. KEEP BLOGGING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • burt

    Why don’t you run a story regarding ex-Labour voters turning to the BNP?

    What’s more shocking, though – Labour voters at Oxford University? Great – the Left-wing political theorists that have done so much profound damage to this country are thriving.

    Oh, one more thing. A certain politician – I think he’s the PM, though I could be wrong – cites the BNPs manifesto as his own – two examples –

    British Jobs for British Workers
    Locking up single mothers for state “re-education”.

  • Ben Lyons

    There’s nothing new about this behaviour from Oxford’s Conservatives either. At their “Port and Policy” events, women pour the port and men drink it, prospective Presidents often spend hundreds of pounds buying votes and in a Port and Policy a couple of years ago, Hitler salutes were given.

    Yet throughout this time (and despite being challenged publically on OUCA’s bigotry) Tory leaders like Cameron and Osborne have continued to visit and patronise the organisation. Why? Because it’s the next generation.

  • Mark \’Elvis\’ Wright

    The head of an organisation remaining silent on a big issue that is rapidly turning into a major national story? GB has also been guilty of this many times. Both need to attend a course in basic crisis management. Of course if Dacre DID show his face his conflict of interest in this matter would then be exposed for all to see when they cut to the PCC Code Committee Chairman for his comments (go on Michael Crick, you know you want to!).

    As for Biscuitgate. Well it’s not the first time spouses have been used for a two-pronged attack on a Labour leader. What’s that you say Jack Dromey? Nobody’s told you about about all this money that has kept the party afloat these past 10 years? Not ‘in the loop’ are we? Shameful. Let’s go on telly and talk about it. Whoops. We seem to have ousted the one leader who actually WON an election for Labour. I’m sure you have nothing to gain from this though; it’s not like your wife wants to become Deputy Prime Minister or anythi…DOH!

    As for OCA. I hope with so much attention being given to the BNP at the moment that some political editor recites a version of this ‘joke’ to Cameron to gauge his response. At this rate he’ll have no party left!

  • Em

    Cameron embracing students who tell nigger jokes? I expect no less from right wingers.

  • Tina Harris

    For Gawds sake luvvie you just dont get it do you? I have come on to your bloody blog via Mumsnet, I can tell you I am a strictly “Old Guard” m/netter and the threads about about GB his biscuit “ishoos” are still very much a cause of mirth and bewilderment. We want to know why he couldn’t answer a straightforward “blardy” (more of our lingo I am afraid) question. Favourite Biscuit? A standard Mumsnet question for all live chatters it is our little M/net test and he ducked the issue so badly. He was trying to be “down” and “with-it” with the Mumsnet gals and he failed so bloody miserably. Go on M/NET and do your ruddy research AC (by the way the DMAil is much despised by our sorority.) Become a member and check out our profiles and political leanings and you will be surprised. There is a load of general antipathy to your lot on our site and not just from “Tory” mums but from the Marxist mums, Liberals, Socialist workers etc, I myself am dusting down my old 80.s Anarchist badges as I write! Finally why are you trying to cover GB’s sorry arse didn’t you spend most of the Blair years briefing against him and Charlie Whelan. Yeah I watched “The Deal” on Channel 4 so what! You underestimate us M/Netters at your peril boy! (perhaps Gordy should have said he favored a Finger of Fudge!)