09 December 2007: Murdo Fraser, Tory (List) MSP, for Mid-Scotland and Fife belatedly admits to the theft of a university memorial to Nelson Mandela the late South African President.
As an active member of the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS) in Aberdeen during the 1980s Fraser said he had “appropriated” a plaque honouring Mandela but had recently returned the engraved “trophy” to students.
However, his alma mater’s union has still to see any sign of it. And Fraser’s act has been condemned as “outrageous” and “infantile” by a senior lecturer at the university.
The list MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife graduated from Aberdeen with an LLB in 1986 before becoming the chairman of both the Scottish and UK Young Conservatives.
During that time he gained a reputation as a champion of ultra right-wing causes. And could not resist stirring up controversy when his fellow undergraduates named a room in the students’ union after the South African freedom fighter.
The removal of the plaque sparked outrage on campus but the culprit remained untraced and the metal memorial was never returned. When Mandela was freed in 1990 and then went on to become president in 1994 it became largely forgotten.
Having decided to return the plaque, Fraser, in a talk at a Christmas party organised by current members of the university’s Conservative Association said:
“At one point in time in the 1980s the Aberdeen University Union housed the rather grandly titled Nelson Mandela TV Lounge. One night the plaque to this lounge was appropriated by a person or persons unknown. All that I can say is that it came into my possession and has remained there for around 20 years. This was a bit of a student prank aimed at winding up some of the lefties on campus and there was certainly no malice involved. It was not meant to be taken seriously.”
Dr Michael Dyer, a long-serving member of the university’s politics and international relations department, felt Fraser’s “outrageous prank” was misguided and out of touch. He said:
“By and large at that time there was a recognition across a wide political spectrum that Mandela’s imprisonment was unjust. Mrs Thatcher, of course, chose to regard him as a terrorist – possibly reflecting the views of her husband and his cronies, her own eccentricity and cussedness towards fashionable liberal causes. Conservative students were few in those days and those that joined such an unfashionable cause deliberately adopted ‘nutty’ right-wing views largely, one suspects, for the hell of it and to out-Thatcher the Thatcherites. Fraser’s action simply reflected the infantile nature of much right-wing student activity.” (The Scotsman)
Paraphrasing author Ian Smith, who knew Fraser at Aberdeen university and wrote in his (15 Nov 2016 blog
Actually, I will digress for a moment about Murdo Fraser, who only last month declared on Twitter: “I’m British and I’m staying that way.”
I remember him as a fellow student during my college days at Aberdeen in the 1980s, where he was a member of the Federation of Conservative Students (FCS).
When Murdo and his FCS mates weren’t strutting around the campus waving the Union Jack, they were behaving like pillocks towards “GAY” students and singing “Hang Nelson Mandela!” at discos whenever the DJ played the “Free Nelson Mandela” anthem, and making nuisances of themselves in pubs yelling “F*** the Pope!”.
The FCS were an organisation so obnoxiously right-wing that they embarrassed even (on your bike) Norman Tebbit, then the Conservative Party Chairman and a fair bit to the right of Vlad the Impaler in his own political beliefs; and he had them disbanded in 1986. (bloodandporridge)
Comment: Acceptance of the foregoing provides evidence that for Fraser being a white, hetrosexual, Protestant, Orangeman and British nationalist is all good; whereas being a Scottish nationalist, Catholic or GAY is unspeakably bad.
Quite how his profile gels with the policies of the leader of his party, in particular her high profile support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Scotland is difficult to comprehend.
The Tory Party in Scotland is structured around two camps:
1. Conservative Future, which includes Party members under 30yo who support the ultra right wing agenda of the Scottish Tory Party and its links with the DUP and Orange Lodge in Scotland but retaining deeply held reservations about the LGBT aspect of policy.
2. Old school conservatives sidelined by Ruth Davidson in favour of her young guns.
Any indication of division within the Tory Party leading to a repeat of the bitter in-fighting it is infamous
for will see a return of the old guard and the demise of Conservative Future and its distasteful objectives.