IT’S A good job that Tory politician Stuart Andrew’s very own Lego alter-ego has no plans to stand for election – or the Pudsey MP’s majority, cut to just 331 votes at last year’s election, might be under even greater threat from local residents.
Yet, while he believes that he is being portrayed as a model politician after a friend created an Instagram account by the name of ‘Stuart Legodrew’ that uses Lego characters to chart his work as a MP and minister in the Welsh Office, this gimmick misses the point.
Like Matt Hancock, the newly-promoted Culture Secretary, who seems to be getting more publicity for his personalised app than his policy pronouncements, Mr Andrew, vice chairman of the Tories during the last election, seems to think a more creative use of social media will revive his party’s electoral fortunes.
It won’t. The Conservative Party will only turn the tide if they come up with an online movement of thier own that can outflank the collective strength of Momentum which, like it or not, goes to the core of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity.
It was able, for example, to mobilise sufficient followers to change the dynamics of the debate when the Tory election machine misfired and proposed a return to fox hunting. Yet, when Mr Corbyn faltered on national security, the Conservative response and rebuttal was virtually non-existent.
This is not to endorse those so-called ‘keyboard warriors’ whose vitriolic abuse has, on occasion, brought politics into disrepute and caused candidates to fear for their safety. Quite the opposite. Debate and dialogue, whether at traditional hustings or online, needs to be respectful, and the Tories should be leading by example and making a positive case on social media for entrepreneurship rather than wasting time on stunts which show how far the party is behind the times when it comes to building a new support base to replace an ageing party membership, courting the youth vote and, ultimately, winning the argument.