The Bullingdon Club

I don’t usually made political predictions, but if there is one reason David Cameron might lose the General Election, it is the above photo–a picture taken in 1987 at Brasenose College, Oxford which Cameron attended. Although the Labour party accused him of being a member of a secret society,the Bullingdon Club, is far from a secret society. Immortalized as the Bollinger Club by Evelyn Waugh, the Buller usually make its presence known by throwing exclusive yet rambunctious parties.

(See more about Bullingdon here: Amazon)

In the photo above,

  1. The Hon. Edward Sebastian Grigg, the heir to Baron Altrincham of Tormarton and current chairman of Credit Suisse (UK)
  2. David Cameron
  3. Ralph Perry Robinson, a former child actor, designer, furniture-maker
  4. Ewen Fergusson, son of the British ambassador to France, Sir Ewen Fergusson and now at City law firm Herbert Smith
  5. Matthew Benson, the heir to the Earldom of Wemyss and March
  6. Sebastian James, the son of Lord Northbourne, a major landowner in Kent
  7. Jonathan Ford, the-then president of the club, a banker with Morgan Grenfell
  8. Boris Johnson, the-then president of the Oxford Union, now Lord Mayor of London
  9. Harry Eastwood, the investment fund consultant

In the photo taken in 1992, there are eight famous faces:

  1. George Osborne, now the Shadow Chancellor;
  2. writer Harry Mount, the heir to the Baronetcy of Wasing and Mr. Cameron’s cousin;
  3. Chris Coleridge, the descendant of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the son of Lloyds’ chairman David Coleridge, the brother of Conde Nast managing director Nicholas Coleridge
  4. German aristocrat and management consultant Baron Lupus von Maltzahn,
  5. the late Mark Petre, the heir to the Barony of Petre;
  6. Australian millionaire Peter Holmes a Cour;
  7. Nat Rothschild, the heir to the Barons Rothschilds and co-founder of a racy student paper with Harry Mount
  8. Jason Gissing, the chairman of Ocado supermarkets.


Two figures on left of (6) and (7) were blacked out before the photo was released, causing wild allegations. Their identities are yet unknown. My top contenders (based on the influence in the City, the Athenaeum and their Oxford prominence) include:

  1. the Hon. Michael Gove, Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, former president of the Oxford Union and “one-man think-tank”
  2. the Hon. Adam Bruce, the son of the Earl of Elgin and incumbent Unicorn Pursuivant of Arms
  3. the Hon. Edward Vaizey, the son of Lord Vaizey and the Shadow Minister for Culture
  4. the founder of Think Tank Policy Exchange, and conservative activist Nicholas Boles
  5. Steven Hilton, the director of strategy for Cameron and godfather of Cameron’s children

The pictures were withdrawn from circulation as the Oxford-based company Gillman and Soame, which own the copyright, was persuaded to withhold the further permission to show the picture. Mr. Cameron has since shown embarrassment for his association with the Bullers but these photos could easily have tipped the outcome of the close election.

The Brits are still conscious about a classless society: although most of the British prime ministers hail from Eton-Harrow, Oxbridge circles, there was still deep animosity towards elites. Douglas Hurd, Margaret Thatcher’s Foreign Secretary, wrote: “If I had not gone to Eton I would have become Prime Minister in 1990.” During the Tory leadership contest in 2005, David Cameron was discounted because he was an Old Etonian, a name Gordon Brown throws at him usually these days. John Prescott called the conservative front-bench an “Eton mafia,” while a lot of influential journalists (outside of Murdoch circle) are dismissed of the old school ties too.

Read more about David Cameron in Vanity Fair.


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