“A fascinating Politico article details London’s private members clubs and the politicians who frequent them. As befits their stuffy image of pinstripe suits and ironed newspapers, most seem populated by Tory grandees – you can’t move in White’s or the Sublime Society of Beef Steaks without bumping into a HUGO SWIRE or Nicholas Soames.
Source: Metro newspaper, today, “Politics, Party and Pillow Talk” column edited by Guy Pewsey (page 20)
If, as one assumes, Swire is a member of one or both clubs, here are some details of them:
“The original old boys’ club, White’s is one of the oldest and most exclusive members’ clubs in London. Based in St James, it does not allow women in and Her Majesty The Queen is reportedly the only woman to have ever set foot through the door, according to the Daily Mail.
Prince William, Charles and the Duke of Wellington have all been members at some point, and David Cameron famously disowned the club in 2008 before becoming prime minister — despite the fact that his father was previously club chairman.
There is no online information about the club, but most reports suggest membership costs about £850 a year. New members will first need to be vouched for by some 35 signatories, the Daily Mail reports.”
Sublime Society of Beef Steaks (aka Beefsteak Club):
(Count Nikolai Tolstoy wearing the traditional Beef Steaks Society uniform:
“Members continue to wear the traditional uniform, and woe betide that impious dog who unwittingly infringes our ancient laws. Under the Recorder’s stern gaze he is doomed to crawl around the table in a white sheet, or suffer some yet more humiliating punishment.
The President traditionally wears a Beefeater’s hat, and when it succumbed to age and rough usage a new one was formally presented at a Dinner by the Constable and Governor of the Tower. When the Recorder’s hat similarly required replacement, the Governor of the Chelsea Hospital likewise attended as a Guest and presented us with the traditional Pensioner’s tricorn.
For many years now the Society has found a congenial home in the Jacobite Room at Boisdale, where portraits of Members gaze approvingly down on the antics of their successors. This is thanks to Brother Macdonald, a much-valued Member of the Society, who has succeeded to the mantle of Brothers Rich, Arnold, and Irving in providing us with a happy and lasting home.”
As the Society’s toast has it:
“May BEEF and LIBERTY be our Reward!”