Severe weather is still battering the UK and Ireland. Thousands don’t have power. Transport is in chaos, and roads are closed. Entire communities are cut off. At least ten people have died. But the biggest indictment of Conservative Britain is that homeless people have died in these storms.
And yet, despite everything, the kindness of strangers has been in evidence everywhere in an attempt to limit further tragedy. Unless you’re a young Tory, it seems. Because in the face of all this, Activate UK – the “united platform for young conservatives” – has sunk to an all-time low.
In the midst of one of the biggest storms for years, Activate tweeted:
But people on Twitter were swift to challenge them:
You are not making any sense. Are you trying to joke about that poor and elderly people will die of cold because they can't afford to pay for heating? Homeless people dying on the streets of UK – shame on you.
— The Wrong Kind of Jew (@TheRedTherapist) March 1, 2018
The truth is that a man died, sheltering in a tent from the cold and snow. Another homeless man died in a shelter. The death toll reportedly stands at 13, and may rise. Not surprisingly, many were swift to cut down Activate’s ‘joke’:
Yes, very funny that. Do you also find this story hilarious? https://t.co/ikKRXnWd4y
— I Am Nothing 🌹 #GTTO (@AKA_Porlek) March 1, 2018
Others pointed out just quite how ridiculous and immature Activate sounded:
My 13 year old went round the neighbours today to see what they needed, then did a 45 minute round trip walk to Aldi to get their groceries. She went to about 90 doors.
A better use of her time than mocking poor people on Twitter.
— Gordon Struth 🐑 (@gordon_struth) March 1, 2018
There’s actually a very serious point here. Activate UK presents itself as a “grassroots” organisation for young conservatives. And it supports a Conservative Party that is currently two points behind Labour in the latest opinion polls:
Badge of honour
Apparently, the tweet was Activate’s deliberate attempt to provoke “vile indiviuals” (socialists, presumably):
But even this backfired, because a block from Activate quickly became a badge of honour:
— Excelsior! Chairman Mardikins (@IAmMardikins) March 2, 2018
Not all superheroes wear capes
What Activate and its ‘supporters’ missed (or are blatantly too dim to recognise) was the true beauty of spirit that shone through and continues to shine as the storms rage on.
In hospitals around the country – the same hospitals left decimated by Conservative funding cuts, staff slept overnight or did extra shifts to ensure patients were cared for:
Please help us get #ThankYouNHS trending today for all the NHS staff who have:
* Slept overnight in hospital
* Worked double (or even triple) shifts
* Walked for hours to get to work
* So much more
And all so they can care for our loved ones pic.twitter.com/Z44Ny4QaQ5
— NHS Million (@NHSMillion) March 1, 2018
Taxi companies, meanwhile, offered to help the elderly for free. Others went out to offer hot drinks and blankets to people stuck in cars:
Also heard from incredible volunteers in Milnrow braving the cold to take blankets and supplies up to drivers – many of whom are travelling with babies and families. https://t.co/QYlasHoWdY
— Charlotte Cox (@ccoxmenmedia) March 2, 2018
Acts of kindness were seen everywhere.
Activate appears not to realise that the word ‘socialist’ isn’t an insult. Because it means we care for each other. We are happy to help each other. A simple fact that Activate, and the Conservatives, may never understand.
– No one should be rough sleeping in this weather. Call Streetlink if you see someone who needs support.
– Support Help the Homeless, which gives grants to homeless charities across the UK.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?