What can a movie teach us about why we are where we are? The Riot Club & Brexit

riot club

This is a movie I watched on TV a few nights ago.   I didn;t really plan to watch it, it was kind of on in the corner of the room. yet I found myself drawn into it, if only because it as showing something I just didn’t know existed.   It’s about a very private male drinking and hedonistic club at Oxford University.  It’s a film.  It’s fiction.  Here’s a link to it on IMDB.    

Now, there’s no clubs like The Riot Club at Oxford University are there?  Anyone who says it’s like the The Bullingdon Club is mistaken aren’t they?  Well I can’t say. I didn’t go to Oxford.   So who really knows if it’s fact or fiction?  

The Riot Club is about an exclusive club of 10 young men who have no trace of morality.  They believe money can solve everything and that is all that matters.  The clubs purpose is to eat, drink, take drugs and trash (totally) whatever restaurant has been daft enough to let them in. 

The scenes of the club members initiation rites are probably no better and no worse than many young male clubs.  But what stuck in my mind was the complete lack of morality shown by almost all the members of the club.   I’m not going to spoil it by describing scenes but there are many where the principle characters are almost unbelievable.  And yet……. this is the bit that’s got me writing this blog post.  While The Riot Club is fiction, The Bullingdon Club is fact.   And where do fact and fiction cross-over?  There’s a scene where a senior ex-member of the Riot Club, now a successful Conservative MP, is offering to guarantee the future of a young member of the Riot Club in return for that member taking the rap for something very bad which the club did.  “I’m not offering you a constituency, just a future” he says to the young man.   “The club goes on you know” .   And that’s the bit that struck home to me.  Whether the actual actions which occur in this movie are fact or fiction doesn’t matter.  It’s that the club will go on.  Every year the club is producing more ex-members.  As another line in the movie says “One day soon, these men will sit behind very powerful desks in the city. ” 

When you couple these lines form the movie with the Riot Club’s seeming integration with the Conservative Party you start to get a picture of why the UK is being driven over the cliffs to Brexitland.  Members of the Riot Club have no moral compass. They have no experience of life. They have been raised in an environment which is completely sealed off and remote from anything we know as reality.   Yet they are “the chosen ones” who are pre-destined to go on and sit behind those powerful desks.  And that’s the bit which stuck with me.   Fact or fiction?

In summary, I recommend this movie to anyone and everyone who wants to understand how we got to a situation where David Cameron, Gideon Osborne, Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (and others) are given positions of leadership when the truth is that they happened by an accident of birth to have been sent to the right drinking club.  

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