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British comedy hasn’t been this good since Rob Grant quit Red Dwarf.

Yes, that is a reference to an ancient science fiction institution, in keeping with the #meme** used by Activate UK – the Conservative Party’s answer to Momentum (stop laughing!). Here it is:

I know!

For a start, they were using an image from Internet pre-history to attract young people – something likely to appeal only to their target audience’s dad. Then there’s – oh, please, do I have to explain the sheer awfulness of it?

The Twitter address on the #meme is wrong, by the way – it’s @ActivateBritain now. @Activate.UK.Net was vacated and subsequently adopted by a satirist who has been having great fun with the name.

Activate has a website, where it proudly proclaims: “Activate is 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.

“We intend to reclaim the voice of young people in politics, bringing together individuals and groups in our education system, workplaces and communities. We will campaign and organise to ensure that issues that are important to them are heard, discussed and addressed.”

Fine, if you like that sort of thing. It’s just that the public turns out not to.

The first sign of trouble is on the parts of the website relating to money – membership and donations. Full member, aged 25 and over, are encouraged to spend anything between £10 and £500 – yes, really! – on their membership. This Writer has no idea how many people have signed up to that, but as a possible indicator, let’s look at the “Donations” page, where we see the most that has been offered so far is £2.06, from a person with the unlikely name “Theresa May is wildly incompetent”.

Other donors at the time of writing include “Harold Shipman”, “Jimmy Savile” and “Communism Will Win”.

So it seems the public has not taken Activate seriously…

Perhaps they have taken their cue from the Conservative Party – one glance at the “People” section of the website showed that it is not a grassroots campaign at all, but run by old-hand Tory apparatchiks. I say “showed” because that page has disappeared from the website for some strange reason – teething troubles, perhaps?

Fortunately, Twitter is there to show us what we were missing:

Actually, let’s stick with Twitter, because this is where Activate has really come into its own – in parody. This is how the public sees the Tory version of Momentum:

Yes. To complete the science fiction comparison, Activate has now become the Tory equivalent of The Black Hole, attracting all comment into its self-parodying gravity well. Even this (mocking) query about tax avoidance couldn’t escape the inevitable:

This Writer hopes that Activate enjoys a long life on the Internet and beyond. I also enjoy a good laugh. But I fear that this may be a phenomenon without enough momentum (ha ha!) to last until the end of the week.

*I joked that the Tory version of Momentum should be called “Inertia” in a previous article.

**”Activate shared their first meme on Twitter with the hashtag “#meme”. Hashtag meme. They also – save yourself, read not on – finished the tweet with #retweet and #rt,” according to New Statesman.


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