Student Hacks

A number of university contemporaries are doing things in this general election campaign. Old friends include Kitty Ussher (heading for victory for Labour in Burnley) and Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured here on a winning University Challenge team, and heading for defeat for the Tories in Brent East). I hope they’re both having fun.

I’m also struck by the way in which the two most irritating student hacks from my undergraduate days have clearly found their political home in the Conservative Party. I don’t remember either as a Tory when they first showed up on my radar screens around a decade ago, but I’m not at all surprised that that’s where they ended up.

Liz Truss was an annoying Liberal Democrat student hack, c.1994, elected, I think, onto the student union executive, and she’s now metamorphosed into a Conservative candidate in Calder Valley, a reasonably marginal seat. I’ll be pleased if she doesn’t get elected.

And Sheridan Westlake, than whom a more irritating person it would be difficult to imagine, is now a Tory councillor in Guildford, is working for the Tories in Central Office during the election campaign, and is someone who has attracted the attention of blogger Guido Fawkes. (Guido reports that Westlake “admits only to standing for the Tories in Oxford”; I vaguely remember him running for the OUSU Sabbatical elections in his first year as an undergraduate, and I’m reasonably confident that it wasn’t on the Tory ticket but as an independent. I think he was a member of the Labour Club back then, too, though I may be wrong.)

(I’m very happy to report that I’ve forgotten most of what I once must have known about Sheridan’s doings in Oxford; indeed, I successfully managed not to even think about him for four years after graduating, until one day in 1999 or thereabouts when my old friend Adam Shapiro reminded me of his existence on a clifftop walk around San Francisco’s Golden Gate.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *