An Unhappy Union


Exclusive: Conservative society planned to sabotage Union debates after Port and Policy was banned

Oxford Conservatives planned to sabotage Union debates after they were banned from holding their Port and Policy meetings.

Details leaked exclusively to The Tab by one of the Oxford Conservative Association (OCA)’s most senior ex-officers reveal that Tory students had planned to filibuster the traditional 1st week ‘No confidence’ debate to prevent the rule change that would have forced them from the Union.

Instead the Union has ended an 18-year hire arrangement which had saved OCA nearly £600 a week on the cost of its port parties at the Union.

Union president John Lee said he wanted to end the association between the two societies, claiming too many students thought they were linked.

And one ex-Union officer told The Oxford Student members were sick of “regular accusations of racism, sexism and bigotry.”

He said: “The debauched antics at Port & Policy have repeatedly brought the Union and the University into disrepute.”

Our source also revealed that OCA President George Mawhinney had been warned by many members during his election campaign that his blasé attitude regarding the Union was likely to see OCA suffer.

Union President John Lee (right), seen here with Senator John McCain

OCA used to receive the use of Union rooms for free and had the benefit of a significantly reduced corkage fee for the copious bottles of port usually guzzled at their Sunday night ‘Port & Policy’ meetings. This was in return for co-hosting their speakers with the Union.

By refusing to co-host these speakers, rather than following through with a rule change, the Union has left itself clear to withdraw these perks. This has made the weekly P&P meetings simply too expensive for the student Tories to host.

The Union, despite describing itself as “at the cutting edge of controversy”, has clearly had enough of OCA.

Accusations of anti-semitic chanting, the troubling revelations of the BBC documentary ‘Young, Bright and on the Right’ and a number of noise complaints from Brasenose College’s adjoining accommodation complex have all reflected negatively on both the association and the Union in recent times.

Mawhinney told The Tab “Mr Lee did offer to co-host events with us, however the terms of these offers were not in OCA’s best interests”.

In a barbed rejoinder he added: “We are hosting more cabinet level speakers than the Union this term”. These are set to include “Lord Heseltine, Lord Howard, and Andrew Lansley”.

John Lee was unavailable for comment.

Mawhinney’s comments are in stark contrast with the battle cry reported by one unnamed OCA member from a P&P last year in which he boasted “this is what OCA does and the Union will have to get used to it”.

  • Get over it James…

    I’m sure the fact that James Price, the author of this article, lost the election to be OCA president to Mr Mawhinney has absolutely nothing to do with the anti-Mawhinney slant and unfounded accusations in this article. I’m also sure that as he served (unelected) as OCA Secretary before getting beaten in the presidential election he is not the senior ex-officer who “leaked” this story to the tab.

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