Monk Debunked In Tory Story

Aspiring politico and Trinity Hall lawyer Chris Monk makes his debut BBC appearance, causing access outrage.

Cambridge’s very own Tory boy Chris Monk has hit the media jackpot.

Monk, who can regularly be seen making Union floor speeches in his trademark querulous manner, appeared on BBC Two’s Wonderland last night.

The episode, titled Young, Bright and on the Right, follows the Tit Hall lawyer and his Oxonian counterpart, Joe Cooke, as they attempt to climb the Oxbridge political ladder.

Chris Monk (left) alongside Joe Cooke from Oriel, Oxford (right)

However, the twist is that both aspiring politicos were state-educated, seemingly a large hindrance in the world of Conservative politics.

“I don’t have the connections for a safe seat so I’m never going to be able to get to ministerial office because my parents aren’t socialist academics,” Monk told the BBC. “You’re on a hiding to nothing trying to enter politics without significant connections.”

I’m [now] around the kind of people who have those connections.”

Despite the pair’s state school background, students who have seen the show have already expressed worries about the upper class portrayal of Cambridge.

When asked about CUCA, Monk said “The whole point of the Conservative Association is it gives you a chance to pretend to be a member of the upper classes for an afternoon”. He explained that his entry-level role in the society involved “buying port and procuring cheese”.

CUSU access officer Vicky Hudson told The Tab, “We are outraged that the BBC has chosen to broadcast a documentary that relies on outdated Oxbridge stereotypes for effect.This is absolutely not the University of Cambridge that the majority of students inhabit today.”

“We would like to remind prospective students that not only is Cambridge a diverse, multicultural university that denounces racism in all its forms, but that it also has the most generous financial support package in the country, and arguably the fairest admissions process of any university. No student should be discouraged from applying to Oxbridge because of the misrepresentation of student life shown in this documentary.”

Indeed, CUCA’s very mention alongside an institution as notorious as OCA, could be seriously damaging to Cambridge’s perception. The Oxford society was summed up at one point in the show as  “A hodge-podge of old-boys institutions” and has been forced to disaffiliate from the University of Oxford.

CUCA has expressed, via its website, its ‘disappointment that a documentary has aired which misrepresents Cambridge University Conservative Association.

It continues: ‘Contrary to the suggestions of the programme, CUCA is unfalteringly open to all . That five of the last six chairpersons of CUCA attended state schools is testament to our belief that your background does not matter at all if you want to be involved with the Association.

‘The Association works with local schools and the Cambridge City Foodbank, putting the Big Society into action. It holds open events with politicians, think tanks and academics for anyone to enjoy.’

Despite his initial enthusiasm, since talking to the BBC, finalist Monk has now decided to concentrate on his studies instead of university politics.

  • Anon

    Is it really the BBC’s fault for broadcasting this? If a Cambridge student goes on national television and says CUCA is an excuse to play at being upper class, and that his role was procuring the port and cheese, he’s rather dug his own grave. It appears that Monk is not cut out for politics – he seems to believe that honesty is the best policy.

    In short, CUCA and Vicky Hudson can shove their outrage at the BBC where the sun don’t shine.

  • Monk-ey Business

    Chris Monk's failure to 'get ahead in politics' surely has more to do with his wild quasi-fascist views than his background.

    • oli

      I agree, whilst im sure the others feel superior to him I dont feel that this would go beyond "banter" and light hearted mockery; its more the fact he is so clearly trying to impose himself upon the scene by spouting the most stereotypical "Oxbridge" image (i.e. 30's Jolly Hockey Sticks- which I might add applies to Oxford a great deal more than Cambridge where the number of people conforming to this stereotype is seemingly equal to the amount you might find at many other universities (i.e. Durham, Warwick, Exeter ect)). I would suggest that he may have progressed further by using/accepting his background (in a sort of Eric Pickles way), as pandering to stereotypes in a desperate bid for acceptance is never going to impress anyone. I have to say I have never (at Cambridge) found that anyone has really been interested in my background beyond small talk about where I live/how long the train journey is. Quite a different story at Oxford tho, hem hem…

  • Lord Cucan

    It was disgraceful of the BBC to attempt to smear CUCA by associating it with OCA in this manner.

    Whatever one thinks of the Conservatives, CUCA is a student society open to all who are interested in the politics of the right. OCA conversely seems to be the Youth Choir of the SS.

  • Stage presence

    He has it

  • Tweet Hawk

    It seems someone (Presumably from CUSU?) has stirred up a little mob to mass tweet the following:

    "State school kids, please ignore BBC2 tonight. I didn't meet any prats like this at Cambridge, and made some great friends"

    As a 'state school kid', I have met a few prats at Cambridge, including the one featured. That didn't stop me from making 'great friends'.

    I have also met *plenty* of smug, patronising champagne socialists who seem to think 'state school kids' are too stupid to realise that there are oddballs at every university and in every walk of life, and that one such person is not representative of all Tories, let alone of several thousand students.

    Given the choice between spending time with an amiable moron like Chris Monk, and these self-satisfied, condescending CUSU hacks, I'm sure plenty of 'state school kids' wouldn't plump for the blonde loon who, despite his other failings, that doesn't look down on them in such a shamelessly hypocritical manner.

    • hypocrite?

      while calling CUSU condescending you also called Chris Monks a moron and a loon. so unless you think you're both of those things also, that probably makes you either condescending or a hypocrite

      • Mug Life

        Except they said they know Chris Monk, and so that assessment of him is probably based on experience; and judging by the programme, not exactly unfair.

        Whereas assuming that just because you went to a state school you shit yourself with fear at the prospect of meeting someone with a tie is breathtakingly patronising.

        TL;DR – Tweet Hawk thinks Monk is an idiot and says so. CUSU think all state school kids are idiots and talk down to them. Not equivalent.

  • Groan…

    I dearly hope he realises just how utterly terrible this looks

  • Deluded?

    I love the way Monk considered it a great a achievement to join the committee when all he did was put his name forward.

    • Be nice

      He is cheese and biscuits officer now

    • Irony?

      Did you hear the irony when he was saying that stuff – I certainly did. He pretty clearly realised that he had signed up to be a fetch and carry boy "making sure there are biscuits" and that he saw CUCA as a "leisure activity" which was not especially serious.

      • olll

        I felt it was somewhat exploitative (of the BBC) to be honest, I pitied him a bit becuase it was obvious that no one took him remotely seriously.

  • Mug Life

    However bad this Monk guy is, he was much better than the Oxford gang. It's hardly the highest of praise, but: at least he wasn't a Nazi.

    • oli

      Anyone looking for a good, unbaised and concise account of how awfully snobbish Oxford is would do well to read the court of appeal judgment from G Lewis v New College Oxford [2012], where I understand the debate between the bench was "Oxford University; Institutional Racism or Just Snobbery?" (which was also a heading in the judgment itself).

  • Kettering

    It wasn't misleading though, Chris Monk actually exists and is like that. I know, I've seen him. There's loads of different kinds of people in Cambridge, let's not pretend this particular minority doesn't exist. They do, and sometimes you might even have to interact with them.

    What I do think is misleading is suggesting Chris is disadvantaged, because he went to a very good school that sent lots of people to Oxbridge. And Kettering isn't that bad anyway. I promise. Also suggesting CUCA isn't dominated by white males, that's not true. So yeah, don't overreact, CUSU.

    • a massive douche

      'you've seen him' = you know his personality and aspirations intimately?

      • Expletive Deleted

        I don't see in what way that was implied. Kettering was simply pointing out how pathetic it is of CUSU to pretend their aren't any oddballs at Cambridge, especially when there is demonstrably at least one.

  • Nice kid

    I met chris once, he seemed like a nice kid.

    • Dr Guyk

      I love a nice kid (po)

  • Cynic

    I loved how the chairman of the conservative association just 'forgot' about his nomination.

    • Naif

      How very dare you!

    • Insider

      He forgot about a couple of others too. That term's chair was so disorganised he forgot to keep enough money back to pay the VAT on the dinner that term. Nice as it is to assume a conspiracy, I would go for cock-up instead.

      • Inside Out

        Mate I know you have an agenda, and certainly an axe to grind against that particular Chairman, but don't abuse him like that. The reason he had difficulty was that he had a VC who was relentlessly fucking everything up for him. If he sought to spare the Committee the presence of Chris Monk, all I can say is more power to him.

  • I really hate

    The way these political wannabes/social climbers try to talk in a 'posher' accent. Its so annoying with those occasional northern slips of 'goot' (gut) and 'aboove' (above). Just talk in your native accent it sounds much better. You dont need to try to talk RP. Thank you.

    • Still

      As much as I like listening to some regional accents and aesthetically dislike some forms of RP, a pleasant form of RP still I think has currency.

    • now you know

      The whole point of received pronunciation aka Queen's english is that everybody speaks like that when they're amongst people from other parts of the country in order to make it impossible for someone they're talking to to tell where they're from hearing them speak.

      • Maybe

        In these days of globalisation, one should probably learn a form of transatlantic/mid-atlantic accent, if one is really bothered, so no one can tell which country one is from from one's accent.

  • Well. . .

    I loved how the BBC preyed on this kid’s autism in an attempt to prove how weird students are at cambridge.

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