A new Tory campaign to win over young voters crashed and burned with its very first tweet

Bex Sumner

A new campaign to get young people to vote Conservative has just launched, and it did not go well.

The campaign

The ‘Activate’ campaign, run by Conservative Party supporters including councillors and students, describes itself as:

an independent national grassroots campaign organisation that seeks to actively engage young people in the right of centre politics, make a case for what conservatism can offer and provide a platform to enable their voices to be heard.

The meme

On the evening of 28 August, Activate sent its very first tweet – a meme that had something to do with Jeremy Corbyn and Admiral Ackbar of Star Wars, and was helpfully hashtagged #meme:

https://twitter.com/Activate_uk_net/status/902284187687780353

Lots of people on Twitter pointed out the obvious:

And, within hours, spoof accounts were up and running:

https://twitter.com/activehate_uk/status/902333668949098496

But unfortunately for the campaign, there was a bigger problem. This is what people viewing the tweet on their mobiles saw:

Bad policy

But the real problem Activate has isn’t bad memes. It’s bad policy.

Since 2010, coalition and Conservative governments have introduced policies that have hit young people hard. They’ve scrapped housing benefit entitlement for 18-to-21-year-olds. They’ve tripled tuition fees. They’ve slashed spending on mental health services for young people by nearly £50m. They’ve stalled the economy, giving us what some say is the UK’s slowest recovery since records began. And they’ve plunged millions of people into precarious work.

As Labour MP Richard Burgon has pointed out:

A young person in my constituency now, leaving university, has less chance of a debt-free life, less chance of a well-paid job, less chance of a mortgage, less chance of a council house, and less chance of a decent pension at the end of their working life than someone leaving school at the age of 15 in my constituency did 40 years ago. Now that’s not right.

So it’s no surprise that, according to The Prince’s Trust:

young people’s happiness and wellbeing are at their lowest levels since the study was first commissioned in 2009.

Desperation

One Twitter user summed up the campaign perfectly:

The Conservative Party is struggling to win over the youth vote because its policies have hammered young people. And terrible memes will do nothing to fix that.

Get Involved!

– Buy Naomi Klein’s latest book, No Is Not Enough: Defeating The New Shock Politics.

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed