Corbyn gets a gift crowdfunded, while Cameron spends your taxes on this

Marianne Edwards

The right wing press continues to try and smear Corbyn and discourage his supporters, but journalist Helena Horton was clearly running out of material when she criticised the Labour leader for wanting anything so decadent as a new bike. Corbyn revealed that his ‘object of desire’ was a Raleigh Criterium, costing £475, in an interview with Stylist. Horton clearly knows nothing about bikes because that’s modest for a bike that will have to tackle London’s streets on a daily basis.

A Corbyn fan, known as J-dawg, has fought back with a crowdfunding campaign to get Jeremy Corbyn his dream bike for his birthday in May. The fundraiser met his target:

“Ha ha, done in an hour and a half. Nice one brothers and sisters!”

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Boris Johnson’s Bike

According to Jamie Beach, Deputy Editor of BikeRadar (UK), Boris Johnson’s bike is probably a Boardman Hybrid Pro costing £999.

 

The Boardman, selected according to strict, not ‘too flashy’ criteria, is priced to slip under the £1000 limit on the Government’s own Cycle to Work Scheme, so Corbyn’s Raleigh is especially cheap. Canary writer and former bike shop worker, John Ranson, described it as:

…sweetly parsimonious and quintessentially Corbyn. I’ve got a front wheel that is probably worth more than that.

Cameron gets Blair Force One

The total funds raised now stands at nearly £5,500, and looks set to climb. Even if ‘Jez’ were to spend it all on a superbike, his coveted vehicle would still be modest compared to Cameron’s £10m private jet, which is not a gift from Saudi Princes, but paid for by taxpayers. Yes, you. This ‘essential’ money-saving item is being justified to the taxpayer in much the same way that any spoilt child would explain the necessity of getting a bit more out of the trust fund. Tony Blair wanted a ‘Blair Force One’ but Gordon Brown kept the coffers closed.

Real people, not spin

The best thing about the crowdfunding campaign to get Jeremy Corbyn the object of his desire is the comments by contributors. One Small Bloke (21:21 14/Jan/2016) says:

Some leaders take our money and our services… to others we willingly send a gift. Happy Birthday!

Laura Carr (15:16 14/Jan/2016), voices the feelings of many voters:

Happy Birthday Jeremy. I hope you enjoy your new bike – I’d love to see it outside No 10 (and John in No 11). We’ve waited so long for a leader like you: Thank you for bringing Labour home.

The entire campaign is mud in the eyes of the Tory spin machine, as Socialist Sophie (13:36 14/Jan/2016) explains:

Dear Jez, A small gift to you for all you are doing for us – we are a movement – but as the figurehead you’ve got to admit you and those closest to you are taking all of flack. We (my family, my friends) are thinking of you and doing all we can to help – thank you for bringing the Labour Party back to us – Jez We Can! Hold on in there. Happy Birthday. Love, Sophie Shaw XxX

And the surplus?

The suggestions for what should be done with the extra money are equally inspiring. Wendy McMahon (15:50 14/Jan/2016) says:

I am happy to contribute. Perhaps this might highlight the hypocrisy of those politicians who spend unnecessary amounts on transport. May I suggest this charity as a possible candidate for some of the money: http://www.re-cycle.org This is great organisation that donates bikes to African countries, as well as helps set up mechanical workshops etc to maintain them. It also supplies cheap secondhand bikes in the UK for those that cannot afford to purchase a new bike.

As the campaign gathered momentum, J-Dawg used the publicity to raise awareness of the plight of the refugees, which also found favour with supporters like Giorgia Cerruti (18:18 14/Jan/2016).

This is was a great idea. I hope the extra money will go to calais action or any other charity supporting all of the stranded refugees!!!

As the campaigner himself points out:

Giving aid to refugees abroad is a perfect way to stick it to the right wing press again, because we all know how compassionately they have treated this humanitarian crisis.

Generosity, compassion, kindness, joy: they’ve all turned up to inspire us.

Here’s Corbyn just before his election, asking for a Special Branch bicycle, (is that one with an ejector saddle for thieves?) so we know that a new bike has been on his mind for a while! Hurrah!

Get Involved

 

Featured Image via stopwar.org.uk/flickr and Guillaume Paumier/flickr

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