An Unhappy Union

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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”.

  • Lord Hardthrasher


    • Joe Cooke

      "I have confidence George Mawhinney will lead the organisation down a politically responsible path.” … my hypocrisy never ends.

      • KA regular

        If you want to see George Mawhinney in the wild, go to the KA on a Sunday night. That's if you can handle the outrageous amounts of noise he makes because he's had too much to drink. Tories ruin Oxford for the majority.

  • reader

    Come on tab, put back up the photo of that rotter Tory president

  • Joe Bloggs

    I'm sure the fact that James Price the author of this piece lost the OCA presidential election to George Mawhinney has literally nothing to do with the attacks in this piece. Maybe it's time to move on rather than attacking your old enemies?

  • James Rothwell

    It's interesting all of the stuff that was out there that the OxStu didn't bother to to report. Is this made up or is it lazy work by the OxStu?

    • Jenna

      Right, because you're definitely the real James Rothwell…

    • Corrections

      The OxStu is always lazy. So I would assume they simply haven't caught up to the also-shit Tab in this instance.

  • Anon

    Interesting how one of the authors of this article happened to be Mawhinney's electoral opponent when he was running for OCA presidency. One might view this as a personal agenda..not exactly professional writing.

    • H. Hodges Fan-club

      Clearly the bastion of journalism that is Harry Hodges will remain unscathed by this attack on his collaborator. All our members are eagerly awaiting his next piece of solo work – I'm sure it'll be lovely stuff.

  • George

    George Mawhinney

  • NiceTryJamesGetALife

    Indeed. The fact that James Price, the man who wrote this article, lost the OCA presidential election to George Mawhinney, and the fact that the same James Price had to be warned by the returning officer twice that his smear campaign was so appauling and illegal if he continued he and his team would be disqualified from the election has nothing to do with the attacks on Mr Mawhinney in this piece. Moreover I am positive that the comments section pieces that personally slate Mr Mawhinney were NOT AT ALL written by the same James Price trying to make it look like other people shared his petty hatred.

    What sterling journalism.

    • Corrections

      Genuinely cannot decide if this is Jack or George.

  • 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.

  • Student in said lecture

    Well, everybody’s

  • Student in said lecture

    Well, everybody I’ve spoken to who attended these lectures seems to find him funny – he’s just an old dude who’s set in his ways. “Eccentric” would perhaps be the right word to describe him, but ultimately harmless – unlike the kind of “journalism” this publication seems to frequently churn out. No wonder this article doesn’t have a specific writer’s name attached. They should be too bloody embarrassed.

  • Eng Lit student

    I had him last year and he once followed up his coughing rant with “and I also eat children.” An idea for your next article, perhaps? Cannibalistic Infanticide will get asses in seats.

  • Amy

    That’s ridiculous. Get with the times.

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