The Oxford Files: the education of Britain's ruling class
The Bullingdon Club, the Oxford Union, pigs heads, debauchery, elitism, the "Establishment". We all hear the stories that come out of Oxford every day. But what is true and what is just the 'Oxford myth'?
Oxford University is one of the United Kingdom's most recognizable and respected brands. It has produced innumerable statesmen, writers and politicians, but media stories suggest it is also a place of unnatural cruelty and debauchery. I want to explore the paradox of an institution that embodies the best and worst aspects of British society.
The phenomenon where a single institution produces almost every significant political figure for generations is not seen anywhere else in the country. I want to write a book documenting the influence this institution has had on Britain.
Along the way, I will be providing regular columns on a series of Oxford archives that give revealing insights into the lives of top politicians. They include:
-The highlight of the project will be the definitive account of the Bullingdon Club, to be published with a major media partner to be announced. This includes interviews with recent and older members of the club, including those from David Cameron and Boris Johnson's time.
-The old Bullingdon. Archival research will reveal the story of the 19th century Bullingdon Club. The stories of senior government figures, kings, dukes, generals and captains of industry will be a piece of serious social history that explores the connections made in this period and how they affected the lives of major historical figures
-The 'terrorist' and 'cult' links of a Cabinet figures University pals.
-A guide to freshers week drinking and drugs, by none other than the Minister for Universities himself.
-Boris Johnson's explanations of how political smear campaigns work.
-What really happens in the Piers Gaveston society?
-Inside the politics of the Oxford Union. An inside look into the greatest debating society but also dirtiest political establishment in the country- and how this training ground goes on to affect those 'Union hacks' who reach the top.
This project is being featured in several leading publications. The first piece, a selection of the best highlights from newspaper archives of the 1980s, is featured as a double page spread in the Saturday edition of The Independent.
I'm a young writer and not an established name, so I'm not asking for a lot. I need to cover travel expenses for interviews and archival research, as well as the ability to rent in London, which is not my home city.