The Bullingdon Club may be on the verge of extinction with as few as two members left, according to Oxford sources published in the Daily Telegraph today. It is understood that even close friends of last year’s president did not want to join, and that the club’s reputation is deterring potential members.
A variety of students and recent graduates have claimed that the club is struggling to replenish its membership as incoming students turn down offers because of the club’s reputation. One source claimed that “Every reasonable person thinks it is a joke. People think it is elitist and exclusionary and if anyone is ever mentioned as being in the Bullingdon the instant reaction of everyone hearing it is, ‘what a loser’.”
It was also suggested that the rise of social media has deterred prospective members, with the same source stating, “People are worried that it is too much scandal and then their name will be in a student paper. No one used to care about that but now because it all goes online, all it takes is a Google and everyone is quite scared about that. It’s definitely a big fear.”
One Oxford graduate interviewed by the Daily Telegraph claimed to know “at least one person who has turned down the Bullingdon this year”, and said, “If you knew who was in it, you would see them around but you would never see them as a group smashing stuff up. They were just normal people in a pub, never in their tailcoats smashing up a pub.”
Typically formed of twelve members, the Bullingdon Club has known periods of unpopularity before. In 2009, Cherwell reported that the club had rebounded to have twenty members, after having only four in 2006.