A right-wing youth group from the US has set up a UK faction. Despite Turning Point USA being labelled “white supremacist”, it’s received the backing of several Tory MPs. Things aren’t going well for Turning Point UK on social media, however. Largely because no one can tell the difference between the group and its many, many parody accounts:
Had to save it with the date because I fear people won’t believe they genuinely made this, the worlds poorest meme pic.twitter.com/rYECROB9hE
— TPUKNorth (@NorthTpuk) February 5, 2019
We feel you
— TPUKNorth (@NorthTpuk) February 5, 2019
Turning Point USA
The original group is controversial, and with good reason. It runs a site called ‘Professor Watchlist’ for a start, which tracks professors it accuses of spreading ‘leftist propaganda’. It’s also not really a grassroots movement, having received millions in funding from wealthy right-wingers and the National Rifle Association (NRA) – figures it tried to keep secret.
Other controversies include:
- Spreading lies about politicians.
- Accusations of racism and illegal campaign activity from former insiders of the group.
- Accusations of sexual assault and harassment against students.
Despite the founding group’s clearly documented history, that hasn’t stopped Turning Point UK being invited on to the public broadcaster:
"Time for it to be challenged” says student @dominiquetaegon from right-wing grassroots group Turning Point on the image within universities that Conservative ideas are “inherently evil and nasty” #politicslive https://t.co/HBJAgTuGXd pic.twitter.com/Cfli0UJGRl
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) February 5, 2019
It’s worth pointing out that the BBC described Turning Point as “grassroots”. This is obviously at odds with the millions in funding the group has received.
The British invasion
With the mainstream media as weak as this, it’s easy to see why Turning Point thought it could do well in Britain. There’s one problem, though. Any youth movement must now have a strong social media game. Turning Point UK doesn’t even know what game it’s playing. Take this recent tweet, for example:
Socialism ideas so good, they have to be mandatory.
— Turning Point UK (@TPointUK) February 6, 2019
Is this badly written or an attempt to talk in youth speak? Nobody knows. And this is why people are struggling to tell the main account apart from its parodies:
The problem with socialism is you eventually get overthrown by the United States.
— Turning Point Newcastle (@NewcastlePoint) February 3, 2019
Our courageous wee fuds were just trying to hand out some flyers until leftist thugs shut down our free speech! This is blatant censorship and also as bad as racism probably! pic.twitter.com/V1SEjuK1Kc
— Turning Point UK Glasgow (@TPGLA1) February 3, 2019
— Turning Point Cardiff University (@CardiffPoint) February 5, 2019
Stay Vigilant! Socialism is coming for you and your family! pic.twitter.com/hkvBiSuU3d
— Turning Point UK Devon (@TPUKDevon) February 5, 2019
Never forget pic.twitter.com/5YSRTcVyhH
— Turning Point Cornwall (@tpukcornwall) February 5, 2019
Can you see why some people are getting mixed up? Some people are so confused that they’re not taking any chances:
Block all Turning Point accounts on sight. No engagement.
— David Dowse #FBPE #RevokeA50 (@David_Dowse1) February 6, 2019
And again, let’s go back to this from the genuine account:
When you come out as young centre-right conservatives… pic.twitter.com/Ty7hiqMCI6
— Turning Point UK (@TPointUK) February 5, 2019
I mean, if you’re going to imply that “young centre-right conservatives” face accusations of being “racists”, maybe don’t make David Lammy the only person you picture? They’ve literally put the two right next to each other, and there are so many white people they could have used instead:
If I was going to design a campaign to solidify Labour's already unprecedented lead among young people, it would be "make young people meet young right-wing activists". So, Turning Point UK and the rest, please, do continue, best of luck.
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) February 5, 2019
What are they good for?
It’s interesting to note that Turning Point – the right-wing youth movement – has a history of appealing largely to men over 50:
So conservative "college" Turning Point USA's FB ads are almost exclusively reaching Boomers pic.twitter.com/BAb8hmgtae
— jordan (@JordanUhl) February 4, 2019
There could also be a problem with Turning Point using this name in the UK:
Turning Point Scotland is a great charity doing important work – no connection to student group that has stolen their name. https://t.co/r4C9OeDCVK
— Eilidh Whiteford (@EilidhWhiteford) February 6, 2019
One member of Turning Point UK suggested universities push the idea that right-wing ideas are “inherently evil and nasty”. In the UK, however, the main thing pushing this is that right-wing policies have actually been implemented.
Turning Point UK has an uphill battle to convince young people that right-wing ideas are good for them. And they’ve started that battle facing the wrong way with their shoelaces tied together.
Featured image via pxhere
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