A brief history of how student Tories became the most tragic people on campus

From Bullingdon to blue T-shirts


Daniel* is sitting in his bedroom, a cloud of Lynx Dark Temptation hanging in the air like the musk of a 19th century Chinese opium den. He’s got a sharpie in his pink, sweaty hand. He pauses, thinks for a second, then puts pen to his £3 blue Primark shirt and scribbles the words "fuck the NHS" .

In doing this, the members of the Plymouth university Conservative society joined a rich tradition of incredibly lame uni Tories. You know the ones, with their Margaret Thatcher masks and hiking boots in lectures.

Student Tories aren't cool, that's a fact. They have events called "Port and Policy" and are weirdly into fox hunting. They're ruddy cheeked, socially inept and have largely migrated from oddly rural towns like Cirencester.

But it wasn’t always like this. Student Tories used to be cool. Sure, it was cool in a sort of Bullingdon club "fuck the poor" smash up a pub sort of way, but you can't deny they had charisma.

The Young Tories of 2018 are super into Jacob Rees-Mogg and seem to possess no sense of what is actually classic and what is just writing obnoxious sayings on cheap T-shirts and tucking them into your Burton jeans.

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These are the faces of the Plymouth Young Tories. This is the club pic to end all club pic; the pic that took student Tories’ reputation to pretty bad to the worst it’s ever been. The levels of “bantoir”, as they most probably call it, have hit 0.

But let's go back to the last time you could conceivably call any Tory under the age of 25 "cool".

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This picture is of David Cameron and his mates at the University of Oxford in 1985. Literally a world away from the picture above. Now obviously, most of the people in this picture are tremendous wankers, but they look pretty dapper while doing it.

There's a certain charm, a certain moneyed charisma that elevates them way above the almost infinite small dick energy of the #squad from Plymouth. After all isn't putting your dick in a pig in a way actually quite metal?

The most enduring rumour of Dav Cam's time at Oxford was that he was a member of the infamous Piers Gaveston Society, a dining club that still hosts sex parties in the Oxfordshire countryside to this day.

Since the 80s, it seemed to all go a bit downhill for young Tories. The Plymouth incident is just one in a long line of incidents that transformed this much-maligned uni group from posh party-boys to universally reviled 4chan basement dwellers.

It's got so bad that even the main Conservative party doesn't want to be associated with them.

As uni culture has broadened and students no longer need to align themselves with pointless causes, the need for vaguely normal people to join uni political parties has just melted away. When anyone vaguely cool on campus doesn't really care about politics, who does that leave in the parties?

People like Ronald Coyne, the Cambridge Tory who burned money in front of a homeless man last year. Or the members of the Oxford Conservative association who allegedly molested women before being kicked out of a pub.

The DavCam Riot club Tories of yesteryear were obviously bad in their own way, but something about them just seems a little bit less sinister. Young Tories today aren't joining the party at uni to get with girls, find cocaine or hold rowdy parties in mansions.

They're coming from the dark corners of the internet, they're looking at people like Jacob Rees-Mogg (??) and being inspired into joining up.

As a result, you get people like the Plymouth Tories. No longer, the confident, born-to-rule weak-chinned Eton boys, but clueless weirdos who have decided to fly in the face of everything young people should stand for and become Tories.

Student Tories have written in the last couple of years about how it's "social suicide" to come out as a Tory, or that it's "harder than coming out as gay" and when you're doing the sort of moronic stuff as the Plymouth tories, that shouldn't really surprise anyone.

There will always be young Tories, there will always be tragic losers at your uni, but if the current trend continues, then the venn diagram of those two categories will just be a circle with "fuck the NHS" inside.

*I said Daniel, but it could be any boring English name – a Hugh, a James, maybe even a Ross. Something shit and regional for SURE.