It turns out that the Labour Party raised £8m more than the Conservatives in 2016, for one beautiful reason: sheer grassroots support.
When it comes to individual donations and fundraising, the Conservative Party was ahead. The Tories received £19.6m in individual donations, while Labour got £15m.
But then there’s membership fees. Powered by Jeremy Corbyn’s political platform, Labour membership skyrocketed after his first election as leader. And in 2016, Labour received £14m from its grassroots base.
It’s not so promising for the blue team, though. A dwindling Conservative Party membership yielded the party just £1.5m:
How many members?
In 2015, Labour received £5.5m less in membership fees than in 2016, illustrating its drastic increase in support under Corbyn. While Labour doesn’t provide a running commentary on its membership, the most recent estimate from March this year was 517,000. By contrast, the Conservatives have not provided membership figures since 2013.
The Conservative Party did not comment on its membership, but Labour said:
Labour is a mass membership party, proud to be funded by our members and working people.
It is this broad funding base that makes us the party of ordinary working people, while the Tories increasingly rely on a small pool of super-rich donors.
During the 2017 election, the Conservative Party was largely bankrolled by property tycoons, bankers and tax dodgers. Courtesy of a similar ultra-rich minority, the Conservatives raised a total of £21.1m in membership fees and donations in 2016. Labour, with the help of many ordinary members, raised £29m.
Now, Labour needs to put that money to good use – training activists, broadcasting policy discussion, and generating social media content.
But the very fact that Labour raised more than the Conservatives in 2016 shows that the power of the masses can trump that of the rich. Even when it comes to money, ordinary people can win.
– Support the Unseat Campaign which is targeting eight marginal seats where Conservative candidates are vulnerable in the next election.
– Support the work of Momentum, a grassroots pro-Corbyn Labour campaign.
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