Hold the press: Crowdfunding Jeremy Corbyn his dream bike!

In a guest column for Stylist magazine, Jeremy Corbyn recommended a red aluminium-framed Raleigh Criterium to readers. He also wrote: “I’m a big believer in repairing rather than replacing, I suspect I will have my own long after my leadership.”

Nevertheless The Telegraph reported this story as “Socialist Jeremy Corbyn reveals he covets at £475 bicycle,” later changing the headline to “Jeremy Corbyn reveals his dearest wish is a £475 bike”.


Riled by the Right Wing

Riled by the piece and the right-wing press at large, reader Tom Jordan decided to do something about it. He was inspired to set up a Crowdfunder campaign after reading a comment from someone saying they’d buy the bike for Jeremy if only they could afford the £475.

Tom wrote on The Independent: “My motivation for this was to deliberately irritate the right-wing media — because, deep down inside, I am still a petulant child.”

Crowdfunder for Jeremy Corbyn

Tom pointed out on his Crowdfunder page that Eric Pickles has spent half a million pounds at the taxpayers’ expense on his luxury limo bill, so Jeremy’s “coveting” of an eco-friendly alternative at 1000th of the cost is hardly unreasonable.

And so the “Let’s get Jez his dream bike!” campaign was set up with a tiny target of just £475. Tom started by putting in £1 in the hope that 474 others would do the same.

A roaring success

To say the campaign snowballed would be an understatement. Tom smashed his initial target in just under an hour and a half! Tom told Konbini that initial target was reached simply by “putting it on about 3 or 4 labour based and general politics based Facebook pages.”

And now? At the time of writing it’s sitting pretty at £7,329 pledged from 2,651 backers — talk about people power! So why so much support? As well as the love shown on social media, we think a lot of it comes down to the staggering amount of press coverage this project has received. The story was covered in The Independent, The Mirror, The Evening Standard and Buzzfeed.

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Feeling charitable

Of course now there is a situation where there is a surplus of money — a nice problem to have. According to an article in The Mirror Jeremy Corbyn has said he will not accept the cash and instead will treat himself to the bike for his 67th birthday in May.

Tom suggested from the beginning that excess funds be donated to the refugee charity, Calais Action. He was recently at the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk and he reported that it was a ‘grim’ place; cold, muddy and rat-infested. Tom told The Independent that there are no major NGOs helping out and since the media interest has died down, so to have the vital donations.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Jeremy Corbyn has since confirmed that he will be donating the full amount raised to Tom’s charity of choice. Jeremy wrote:

Last week, I responded to a question from Stylist magazine about my “object of desire.” I said it was an aluminium-framed Raleigh Criterium bicycle.
I could not have imagined when I replied that a crowdfunder would be set up to buy me this bike. People’s generosity has been remarkable and incredibly the total raised is over £6,000. The average donation was £2.70.
I’d like to say a huge thanks to every person that has donated. It’s truly humbling and I’m pleased that others will now benefit from this — as the organisers have suggested that they donate the substantial excess money raised to a charity of their choice. I will also be donating the cost of the bike to charity.”

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Learn more
Want to ruffle some right wing feathers and donate to a good cause? Learn more about this project and pledge by visiting the ‘Let’s get Jez his dream bike!‘ project homepage.

How to use crowdfunding for political projects
Crowdfunding Politics: Crowdfunder features in the Financial Times