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Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK

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Opening in 1963 New York, to Renaissance Florence, to the birth of theatre in fifth-century Athens, and the Sex Pistols shattering Thatcherite Britain - take your seat for the history of performance.

I’m personally sceptical of Oxford becoming a graduate-only university, given the serious issues with graduate funding that means postgraduate study is out of reach for many from lower-income backgrounds. They carried their Arcadian personalities and politics into the rest of their lives – and Kuper, a fellow alumnus, loathes them for it. In the 1980s, under Margaret Thatcher, that trend had reversed and the upper classes got their confidence back.It taught him the unassailable truth that no one can truly succeed in politics if he relies entirely on his own cadre. David Cameron, two years below Johnson at school and Oxford, was a different kind of throwback – rich enough and connected enough to feel himself above the “hackery” of student politics.

In fact, argues Kuper, “the ‘very, very bright future’ that he saw for post-Brexit Britain applied in spades [only] to himself. TheBookOfPhobiaaAndManias traces the rich and thought-provoking history in which our fixations have taken shape.Nineteen-year-olds debated visiting 60-year-old cabinet ministers, and tried to loll on the frontbenches just like them.

The Tory public schoolboys had the advantage of feeling at home (meaning boarding school) as they swaggered across quads into medieval buildings to hear grace in Latin.From the beginning, the union chamber had functioned as a self-conscious nursery of the Commons, dominated by Etonians. He is the author of several books, among them the William Hill awarded Football Against the Enemy and the Sunday Times Bestseller about UK politics, Chums: How a Tiny Caste of Oxford Tories Took Over the UK. Discover your next non-fiction read and brilliant book gifts in the Profile newsletter, and find books to help you live well with Souvenir Press.

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