Turning Point UK (nothing to do with the charity Turning Point) is the new bad boy on the political block. The self-proclaimed grassroots organisation launched at the start of February forcing its way into the public consciousness.
TPUK is the British arm of the already established Turning Point USA, an organisation that has in some ways poisoned political discourse with its vitriolic and anti-facts stance.
The point of both organisations is to kick university campuses out of their lefty liberal haze and force them to see the “light”. A pinned tweet by TPUK says it’s for “free markets, free speech… limited government and personal responsibility” while it opposes “socialism, racism… identity politics and nativism”.
They are sick of the cultural Marxist agenda afflicting campuses all over our good pure nations. Adorno and Marcuse be damned, they just want to turn our countries into a multicultural cesspits with people being… nice to each other? The liberal agenda in their minds is a disease and they are the only ones who have been smart enough to mastermind the cure.
In all seriousness, TPUK is currently considered a bit of a joke; the website looks like something that I crafted in a Year 8 IT lesson. Their social media launch went up in flames as some geniuses made dozens of fake TPUK Twitter accounts, each one identical to the real accounts making it impossible to tell which was real and which wasn’t.
What’s more, their slogans aren’t exactly winning hearts and minds. To most people their existence is a nostalgic nod to conservative youth groups past, like Activate, the conservative youth organisation that spent most of its short life being mocked, parodied and eventually hacked.
The history of doomed young right-wingers and their flaccid attempts at rallying people perhaps has given many of us a sense of confidence and comfort knowing that they too will probably just be another funny anecdote.
But the truth is TPUK isn’t an isolated organisation with a few overzealous young Tories who are trying to catch the eye of their local MP. It is a part of a much wider, far more sinister syndicate. One with seemingly infinite funding, an established membership, and an intoxicating ideology that in times like these can be effective.
Unsurprisingly, upon contacting individuals involved in the organisation I was met with either silence, hostility or fruitless conversation. This organisation could quite easily billow into obscurity, an awkward sub-chapter and symbol of our political climate, or they could mobilise people by pandering to a victim complex that I think a lot of young conservatives have.
The bunker mentality of right-wing students is visible on campuses across the country. For the act of requesting a conversation with the head of UoM Conservative Society, I was removed from the Facebook group where events and meetings are posted, and subsequently deleted off Facebook by the individuals themselves.
Let me be clear, I have no real qualms that the Conservatives on campus don’t want to chat with me. I can survive another day without their insights into free market economics. However, the important thing is the meaning behind their exiling me from their inner circle. Clearly, among even relatively mainstream right-wing groups, there is a perception of persecution.
Whilst it is true that certain conservative groups have distanced themselves from TPUK, it would take little effort on the part of TPUK to effectively exploit this victim complex. What would have been an annoying but relatively harmless group could quickly become a vehicle for more dangerous, vitriolic and hateful views on our campuses. We need to stay vigilant against it.