The Conservative party has been relentlessly mocked after launching a “grass roots” movement attempting to connect with young voters.
The ‘Activate’ campaign group is directly inspired by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Momentum’ pressure group, and is seeking to use “Memes and funny images”, popular culture references, and social media to “engage young people in the right of centre politics.”
The group claims to be “not officially linked to the Conservatives” and “receives no party funding,” yet its chairman (pictured, above right) is the former Tory campaign manager Gary Markwell, a councillor in West Sussex.
The website also has a detailed constitution and code of ethics closely aligned with official Conservative policy, including lines used word-for-word by Prime Minister Theresa May, such as “promoting a global economic outlook” and “making a success of Brexit.”
The last, centralised, Tory attempt to mobilise young people to campaign for them ended in scandal, when debauchery, sexual harassment, and bullying was exposed as a routine part of the Road Trip project run by former Tory parliamentary candidate Mark Clarke.
Yet so far, the biggest problem for Activate seems to be its awkward image after a disastrous online debut.
The page shared a bizarre Meme featuring an image of Mr. Corbyn above a character from Star Wars.
The website acknowledges the group’s imitation of Momentum, whose members played a crucial role in campaigning for Mr Corbyn in the Labour leadership election last summer and in Labour’s general election success.
“Unlike the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign organisation, Momentum, we receive no funding from the Unions and therefore we rely on donations from our members and supporters to achieve our goals,” the website says.
If Activate is to convert young people to the Tory party, however, they have a long way to go.
According to YouGov, among first-time voters (those aged 18 and 19), Labour was 47 percentage points ahead at the general election, with even voters in their early 40s more likely to vote Labour than Conservative.