From the Vaults: Guardian, November 11, 1982

I have been accused of spending a lot of time in this series of “From the Vaults” posts of attacking or ridiculing those from the far-left of the political spectrum. In response, I can say that my general interest is extremism of all stripes. Others on this blog do a splendid job with different forms of political extremes and the far-left holds a particular fascination for me.

In any event, extremist organisations and behaviour can come from other quarters, even from what Marxists would refer to as “the ruling class.”

Below, I copy an extract of an unsigned news article that appeared in the Guardian in 1982:

Assassins told their image is ruined

Guardian, November 11, 1982, p. 6.

A magistrate yesterday suggested the end of an Oxford University dining club after hearing how a drinking “boat race” brought devastation to Thatcher’s Restaurant.

Nineteen undergraduate members of the Assassins had assembled at Thatcher’s.

A wine drinking challenge based on double-barrelled names and public school pedigree led the Assassins to vomit inside and outside the restaurant; urinate in the garden; throw chocolate soufflé over the walls and floor; and smash glasses, crockery and tables, causing £600 worth of damage.

Yesterday three of the Assassins were found not guilty at Thame magistrates’ court, of causing criminal damage at the restaurant last June. But they were bound over for two years to be of good behaviour. Four other members who gave evidence, including the group’s president were also bound over.

The chairman of the bench, Mrs Dorothy Dann, said the case had not been proven beyond reasonable doubt, but added: “We are disgusted at the way you all behaved. It has brought your club an extremely bad image.” …. [She] suggested that they consider disbanding the club.

It can be added that it was reported in The Times the following day that following their aquittal, the Assassins, whose symbol is a skull and crossed swords, toasted the ruling with an all-night drinking session where they vowed to keep the club going despite the suggestion from the magistrate. According to The Times, “Their parents have warned them to behave, or face the consequences.”