Tuesday 29 August 2017

May the farce be with you

After the youth vote came out in force to reject the barbaric Tory manifesto of misery in Theresa May's vanity election the Tory top brass decided to do something about it. But instead of reversing any of their most toxic policies (the highest public university fees in the world, education cuts, scrapping housing benefits for under-21s, slashing youth services and mental health services for young people) they decided to invest their efforts in creating a fake version of the grassroots Labour campaign group Momentum.

They eventually launched their "Activate" fake astroturfing campaign on August 28th to almost universal derision.

The standout embarrassment was the pathetic attack meme they cobbled together which, thanks to an inexplicable chunk of black space looked more like an endorsement for Jeremy Corbyn in people's twitter feeds, only revealing the (completely lame) "It's a trap" punchline if you actually bothered to click on the picture to expand it.
Aside from their utterly cringeworthy first effort to get down with the kids with a Star Wars meme, there is plenty more to aim at too, like the subsequent tweet from the Activate account claiming that they are "an independent grassroots campaign organisation" to promote right-wing politics. This claim is totally contradicted by the contents of the website where their constitution states that the group is committed to "ensuring a Conservative government", bans members from joining any party other than the Conservatives, and explains that "members are expected to be members of the Conservative Party".

Then there's the fact that the website provides no information whatever about how the organisation is funded, nor who is currently working for them. How on earth is anyone supposed to take their claims of independence seriously when they actively and openly support the Tory party, and make no effort whatever to explain who is funding their astroturfing operation?

Further examination of the Activate website reveals an events page with no events, and a shop with no merchandise, which works as an unintended metaphor for how little the Tory party have to offer to the younger generations.

It's possible that the Tories behind this fake independent grassroots astroturfing campaign could actually delude themselves into thinking that their launch has been a success based on the fact that the page has picked up aver 1,200 followers in its first day.

However a look at who those followers are suggests that they're going to be in for a rough ride: I'm following them to keep an eye on whatever lame rubbish they churn out, and others with the same idea include Evolve Politics, Red Pepper magazine, Dan Bloom (of the Daily Mirror), James Wright (of The Canary),  EL4C (a fantastic left-wing meme factory), Red Labour, and Frankie Boyle.

Aside from the fact that a significant proportion of their audience are anti-Tories keeping an eye on them, there are also the numerous spoof accounts that have popped up within a day.

If these copycat Tories think that they're going to be in for an easy ride on social media with the likes of me, Evolve Politics, Frankie Boyle and a load of spoof artists following them, they're even more clueless about how social media works than their lamentable debut meme suggests.
And if this patronising fake grassroots effort to rip off Momentum is all the Tories have to offer the youth vote, they're likely to get an even bigger hammering from the under-40s whenever they decide to stop putting their own party political interests above the national interest and call another General Election.

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