The Morning Star's industrial reporter CONRAD LANDIN looks at a bafflingly amateurish effort to mobilise the (24+) ‘youth’ vote
A TORY campaign group aiming to emulate the success of Momentum has faced widespread mockery.
The new organisation, branded Activate, aims to “actively engage young people in right-of-centre politics,” according to its website.
Unusually for a youth organisation, Activate’s constitution suggests recruits under the age of 24 will not be considered full members.
The group is chaired by Gary Markwell, a Conservative local councillor in Sussex. The Activate website initially profiled Tories in key roles in the organisation, including an all-male national committee.
But on Tuesday afternoon the “people” page disappeared from the site. Activate did not respond to the Star’s request for comment on this matter.
The foundation of the group follows calls from senior Tories for the governing party to emulate Momentum, a grassroots pressure group set up out of Jeremy Corbyn’s successful Labour leadership campaign.
In June the Star reported that Environment Secretary Michael Gove had said the Conservatives could “learn something” from Momentum’s success in getting thousands of people newly involved in politics.
Yesterday a Conservative spokesman insisted that Activate had no formal links to the party.
The group has been lampooned for its amateurish use of graphics and social media. Its first official tweet showed Mr Corbyn in front of Labour slogans accompanied with a shot of Star Wars character Admiral Ackbar, captioned “IT’S A TRAP.”
And online critics were puzzled by the seemingly random presence of a square-root symbol in the organisation’s logo.
A Momentum source said: “We’re flattered that Tory activists have been inspired by the success of Momentum in setting up Activate, but they’ve made some rookie errors early on.
“If they had really learnt lessons from our viral social media content, they would know they don’t have to use the hashtags #meme and #retweet with every graphic they share.
“And if they are as committed to a ‘modern’ Conservative Party as they say, maybe they shouldn’t have picked an all-male national committee. At this rate we wouldn’t be surprised if Activate deactivates in the near future.”