The Bullingdon Club is a private all-male dining club for Oxford University students. It is known for its wealthy members, grand banquets, and bad behaviour, including vandalism of restaurants and students' rooms. The club is known to select its members not only on the grounds of wealth and willingness to partake but also the esteem of their private education with former pupils of public schools such as Eton, Harrow, Stowe School, Radley, Oundle, Shrewsbury, Sedbergh, Rugby, Westminster, Charterhouse, St. Paul's, and Winchester forming the bulk of its membership. Originally a sporting club, dedicated to cricket and horse racing, club dinners gradually became its principal activity. Membership is expensive, with tailor-made uniforms, regular gourmet hospitality, and a tradition of on-the-spot payment for damage – they have a reputation for intentionally causing damage to establishments, before paying huge sums to compensate the owners of the establishment. This is not a new thing, on the 12 of May 1894, after dinner, Bullingdon members smashed almost all the glass of the lights and 468 windows in Peckwater Quad of Christ Church, along with the blinds and doors of the building – and did so again on the 20th of February 1927. As a result of such events, the Club was banned from convening within 15 miles of Oxford.
The club has attracted controversy, as some members have gone on to become leading figures within Britain's political establishment. These include former Prime Minister David Cameron, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, and current Prime Minister Boris Johnson. While still Prince of Wales, Edward VIII had a certain amount of difficulty in getting his parents' permission to join the Bullingdon on account of the Club's reputation. He eventually obtained it only on the understanding that he never join in what was then known as a "Bullingdon blind", a euphemistic phrase for an evening of drink and song. On hearing of his eventual attendance at one such evening, Queen Mary sent him a telegram requesting that he remove his name from the Club.
A photograph taken in 1987 depicting David Cameron and Boris Johnson among other members of the club, including Jonathan Ford of the Financial Times, was an embarrassment to Cameron, and the photographers withdrew permission for it to be used by the media, though some do it anyway and the internet has a long memory. But recreations of that photograph including accurate paintings have been used instead.
And now, with the return of one of my favourite comics characters Baxter Basics MP to this month's Viz Comic, dealing with the fuel and food crisis as a member of the government, we get that image recreated for the front cover of Viz #310 out this week…
…with Cockney Wanker, Terry F*ckwitt, Big Vern, Raffles The Gentleman Thug, Sid Th Sexist, Roger Mellie, Baxter Basics MP, and 8 Ace. Which of them will end up as Prime Minister first?