Sci-Ence! Justice Leak!

Another fact-check

Posted in Uncategorized by Andrew Hickey on June 25, 2013

Re: that thing about Cameron, Mandela and so on that’s going round.

As far as I can tell, the Federation of Conservative Students never actually put out “Hang Nelson Mandela” posters — rather some members of the FCS wore T-shirts and badges saying that. The posters are a recent invention.

And David Cameron was never a member of the FCS. Even this piece from the Mirror calling Cameron a hypocrite for his latter-day support of Mandela admits that .

I have no time *at all* for David Cameron, but it’s easy enough to attack him for things he’s actually said and done, without making more stuff up.

10 Responses

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  1. LondonKdS said, on June 26, 2013 at 11:44 am

    But of course Oxford University has always had its own independent Conservative student society, the OU Conservative Association, that was not affiliated with the FCS. So the point about Cameron not being a member of the FCS is something of a red herring. The OUCA is, *to this day*, notorious for hateful far-right-wing trolling of the kind that the old FCA became notorious for, and it would be interesting to know if Cameron ever engaged in those activities. Did he, for instance, ever join in a chorus of “Dashing Through the Reich”?

    • Andrew Hickey said, on June 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm

      ” So the point about Cameron not being a member of the FCS is something of a red herring. ”
      Not really — because people are spreading, far and wide, a claim that he was a member of the FCS at a time when they made those posters (which as far as I can tell they never made). If Cameron did other, equally distasteful things, that’s a different matter.

      By all accounts, though, Cameron was barely involved at all in OUCA, or in politics generally, during his time as a student.

      • Mat Bowles (@matgb) said, on December 6, 2013 at 11:30 am

        Plus, even the picture itself gives things away-the poster was supposedly released in 1985, but it claims Cam was a senior member of FCS at the time. Which would be a bit weird given he’d have been a fresher in 1985, you don’t tend to make newly joined first years senior members FFS.

  2. Matt said, on June 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    OUCA? Far-right trolling? You’re having a laugh. The nearest they would ever get to trolling is accusing someone of passing the Port the wrong way round the table

  3. Peter Bateman said, on June 27, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Is John Carlisle, once MP for Luton North and known in the 80s as the Hon Member for Johannesburg, still alive? The man who once said on Question Time that ‘you can’t know what’s like in South Africa if you’ve never been there.’ to receive a memorable put down from Robin Day. ‘I’ve never been to the North Pole but I know it’s bloody cold there.’

    Perhaps he could be wheeled out for a comment?

  4. Sean Fleming (@flemingsean) said, on December 6, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Well said. It drives me absolutely nuts when some on the left just make stuff up, or spread rumours. If we can’t win without resorting to falsehoods we should just give up and go home. When you get into debates about whether it was the FCS or some Oxford university group it’s just as important to stick to verifiable facts only. Why..? Because the right will pick us apart when these errors come to light and use them as the basis to paint everyone on the left as untrustworthy and deceitful, interested only in power, not in the truth. I can’t see why anyone on the left would feel it’s ok to hand them yet another stick to beat us with. You might as well just go and vote Tory.

  5. Kirsty said, on December 6, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    are there any solid links on the ‘hang mandela’ poster being ‘faked’? Having shared this page as a link (via andyducker) I am now being challenged on that…

    • Andrew Hickey said, on December 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      I’m afraid I wrote this post six months ago and can’t find the articles I saw then. What I *can* say is that I can’t find any reliable evidence *for* them existing. For example, Buzzfeed, which has also done a “No, Cameron didn’t make those posters” piece (at ) says “This account explains how a faction of FCS members printed the slogan on posters, badges and stickers”, but if you read the account they link (–in-case-its-members-hang-themselves-8672121.html ) it only talks about stickers.

      I know that T-shirts with the slogan also existed — a right-wing friend owned one “ironically” in the late 90s — but I’ve never been able to find a reference to the posters themselves existing dated to before the mid-2000s. It’s *possible* they did, but it seems unlikely — the point wasn’t that they wanted Mandela hanged (even the people who made these items didn’t really want that) but to be provocative, and so everything produced was wearable — T-shirts, badges, stickers — so you could provoke a reaction.

      • Kirsty said, on December 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm

        That’s the best I am going to get I suspect – and that’s plenty. So can’t really say for absolute certain without far more digging than I think I can afford to get into. thanks!

        • Andrew Hickey said, on December 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm

          No problem. Sorry I couldn’t be more help — I definitely saw some fairly convincing stuff at the time, but for the life of me can’t remember where.

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