“The Conservatives give you the opportunity to pretend to be a member of the upper classes”
Young, Bright and on the Right follows University Conservative party politics, Joe Cooke, 21 from Oxford University and Chris Monk, 19 from Cambridge University are two young Conservatives, both state-school educated and passionate about the student Conservative Society.
Seeing themselves as outsiders in the Oxbridge political and social scene due to their upbringing, Joe and Chris are both hoping to embark on future political careers, but that journey to Westminster is a turbulent one. The back-stabbing, spin and dirty tactics raise their ugly heads even at this primary level. The current academic term will make or break their attempts to rise to the top.
Steeped in 88 years of tradition the Oxford society does not take kindly to Joe Cooke’s delusions of radical change and wishes to instigate reform in the society. Joe is quite an angry young man, with a bravado that could match any leaders, but there is nothing endearing about his freshness and this is his downfall, due to coming from rural Yorkshire and his father going to prison when he was a child he has had a great drive to do well – which is commendable, but confidence has its boarders with arrogance, ending up a hybrid of Chris Evans and Timmy Mallet.
Chris on the other hand is much milder and is truly the face at the window, hoping to impress the members of the political ‘In Crowd’ he aspires to at his college. He is very out-of-place, sweating and twitching with quirky mannerisms, his obsession with port, cheese and biscuits is quite disturbing. A little eccentricity is welcomed but you can see why he is considered a busted flush in political terms, he is the real Mr Cellophane, resorting to becoming a steward at the Cambridge Debating society and donning a high visibility jacket to be seen.
There is something wholly unnatural about 3 young male students, in their early 20s sat around an oak table having ‘Light Afternoon Tea’, their little fingers poised in the air. When dealing with these very green young men, it is like lambs to the slaughter in terms of comedy value. The toff voices, the boaters and the three-piece blue suits are just a front in a desperate attempt to be something you aren’t.
What struck me was their bratish attitude about whether what they did actually mattered in the grand scheme of politics, worrying and scheming about how people would react to their misdemeanours and punish culprits of back-stabbing, but alas, no one really cared about their endeavours, much to their disappointment. There is something extremely unpleasant about these kinds of documentaries, they never show their subjects in favourable lights, politics is a dirty game and it seems to border on the personal rather than the political.
So you ask yourself, would you like Joe or Chris to run the country one day?
I’m sure the Conservative Party aren’t too happy with the image portrayed of the future Conservatives from this programme and neither young man made any mark in university politics, surprisingly.