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Gary Markwell, a Tory Councillor in West Sussex and the current Chairman of the Tory Youth Group Activate, praised the tactics of two of Britain’s most notorious neo-Nazis, saying at an Activate launch event held at the weekend that:
“It’s amazing what a response Tommy Robinson and Britain First get on Facebook, how they engage people
Every now and then you see that one of your Facebook friends has shared one of their videos, and you’re like – wow, they’ve got 25,000 likes.”
Activate Chairman Markwell’s deeply troubling comments – which strongly imply that he believes the Tories should copy the tactics of both neo-Nazi groups – were exposed as part of an undercover operation by Vice who infiltrated Activate’s launch event on March 17th in Whitechapel.
According to Vice, despite being highly publicised by Activate’s social media team, the launch event was a particularly depressing scene – with just 28 people attending – a figure which included four Tory Councillors and two undercover reporters.
As Vice reporter Ben van der Merwe reported in his article:
“Despite the best efforts of Activate’s digital marketing meme machine, only 28 people turned up to the launch event, including four Tory councillors, two undercover reporters and two women under the age of 50. The group had booked a room for 150 people, so attendees congregated awkwardly around the free prosecco.“
Van der Merwe then goes on to document how Activate Chairman Gary Markwell praised the social media tactics of Britain First and Tommy Robinson – who have both now been banned from Facebook and Twitter for inciting hatred and “repeatedly [posting] content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups” – stating in his article for Vice:
“When it became clear that no more guests were arriving, middle-aged chairman Gary Markwell took the microphone. He reiterated warnings about the Conservative vote share among young people, but stopped short of calling for an overhaul of party policy, of the kind Momentum have pushed for in Labour – or, in fact, any policy change at all.
Before going on to say that:
“Campaigning efforts are focused almost entirely on social media marketing. “It’s amazing what a response Tommy Robinson and Britain First get on Facebook, how they engage people,” chairman Gary Markwell said. “Every now and then you see that one of your Facebook friends has shared one of their videos, and you’re like – wow, they’ve got 25,000 likes.” “
Vice’s deeply enlightening report also went on to report how friends of Activate Director Sam Ancliff “boasted that he had fired a shot in anger as a private in Afghanistan”.
Ancliff – who failed in a bid to become a Tory Councillor in Kirkby last May – also reportedly told the Vice reporter during the event that he didn’t really know how he had found himself involved with Activate, saying that “I sort of just knew some of the people who set it up, and they said this role needed filling.”
The Tory Youth movement – who have been billed as the Tory Momentum in respect of their obvious attempts to copy the hugely successful pro-Corbyn grassroots campaign group – have been beset by deeply humiliating problems since day one.
But this latest revelation exposing the Tory Youth Group’s Chairman’s open praise for the work of disgusting fascists must surely be the final nail in the coffin for Activate.