The decadent Oxford drinking club at the heart of recent allegations about David Cameronby Josh Lowe / September 21, 2015 / Leave a comment
What is the Piers Gaveston society?
Described in a recent Tatler piece as “the coolest club in town,” this 28-year-old drinking society is made up of 12 former public schoolboys at Oxford University. Its main interaction with the wider student body is its exclusive yearly ball, an invite to which allows revellers in fancy dress or fetish attire to climb aboard a coach to a secret location outside the city and engage in decadent debauchery, said to often include indulgence in illegal substances. Named in honour of a supposed favourite male lover of King Edward II (1284-1327), the club is defined by a camp aesthetic—its motto is Fane non memini ne audisse unum alterum ita dilixisse, or “Truly, none remember hearing of a man enjoying another so much.”
Why are we talking about it now?
One of the explosive allegations made in an unauthorised biography of David Cameron by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft and published today by the Daily Mail involves Cameron supposedly taking part in a grotesque initiation ceremony for the society in the 1980s. Downing Street has dismissed the claims as “nonsense,” Politicshome reports. Cameron has already endured years of mockery for his involvement in another raucous Oxford drinking society, the Bullingdon Club.
Who else was a member?
Notable former members of the group include the writer and son of the Duchess of Cornwall Tom Parker Bowles and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop, who has made a career from publishing tales of excess and scandal among the powerful. There is no suggestion that either man or any other former member participated in any of the acts of which Cameron is accused.