Sunday, 12 August 2012

Unnatural child: 2

I don't know if anyone watched the BBC's Young, Bright and on the Right but in case anyone did and is wondering, nothing appears to have changed in 28 years. It was exactly like that, down to the Nazi songs and port. I actually found the programme incredibly difficult to watch and had to pause it (iPlayer) several times to let the nausea die down. Was I really that obnoxious? Yes, probably. I was on OUCA committee for two terms (I came top of the ballot in every election I stood in) and only began my slow move to the hard left after I'd been 'knived' by someone if not more ambitious, certainly more adept than me. In many ways, I deeply regret spending that time on student politics when I could have been doing something else like student drama or journalism (did you think I was going to say voluntary work? I haven't changed THAT much...) On the other hand it was the only period of my life when I was consistently happy and having fun. I'm not sure what that says about me. But those now frighteningly repulsive people do undoubtedly explain why I didn't carry on being politically active afterwards.

I also retain my university allegiance clearly because I found the Cambridge lad so objectionable I could have punched him across Parker's Piece whereas I rather warmed to the Oxford one, despite how objectively speaking, his behaviour was so much worse.


  1. I didn't watch it, but I am interested in why some young people are Tory, especially because when you're younger, you tend to sympthasize with the under-dog much more. And a lot of people start off left-sh and gravitate to the right as they get older. What made you Tory when you were growing up?

  2. In retrospect it's very difficult to explain particularly because whenever I got into arguments with left wingers I could not argue my point at all. I think it was simply because my parents were very right wing and I was brought up not to disagree with them in any way. I still find not doing what I'm told quite difficult... I also didn't know anyone left wing growing up (I only ever went to public schools) and we weren't allowed anywhere near anyone working class. I don't know if I agree that younger people sympathise more with the underdog either - in general I'd say that younger people have a harder time understanding different points of view to their own. The thing that started moving me leftwards was seriously horror at how thoroughly awful some of these young Conservatives were. I supported the SDP by the time I left university and as I think I've said here before, the politician that moved me over to Labour was Harry Perkins. Who, by the way has a (not very active) Twitter account.

  3. If my kids turn out like that, I'm drowning them.

  4. Also - supporting the underdog. I don't think that's something age related. I think it's a function of any of 3 things: thinking you are the underdog so self interest, empathy, which not everyone has large amounts of and finally (and I doubt this applies to many teens) a utilitarian perspective.

    Thinking more about the 2 in question, there was nothing in the programme to indicate that the Oxford guy's family wasn't also Tory supporting - being Northern doesn't automatically make you left wing. And thinking more about how he presented (the charm, the vulnerability which was purely self pity rather than any feeling for anyone else) I suspect he has mild sociopathic tendencies and will therefore be very successful. The Cambridge chap was just extremely odd. The throwaway line about being unable to make eye contact and the obsessive focus on cheese provision may provide a clue.