Is anybody else afflicted with the masochistic obsessive-compulsive disorder that causes you to delve into the most nauseating realms of the right-wing media on a daily basis?
Well, me too. And this week I was particularly riled by Helena Horton’s piece in the Telegraph, which seemed to suggest that the Labour leader is some kind of ostentatious, bourgeoisie hypocrite for writing in a magazine that his “most desired object” would be a reasonably priced bicycle.
Normally when something irritates me as much the aforementioned article did, I vent my anger through needlessly time-consuming trolling battles with “I’m not being racist but...” types on the internet. However, after reading someone’s comment suggesting they would buy Corbyn the £475 bike if they could afford it, my idiot-baiting utilised a far more direct approach. I set up a Crowdfunder campaign that aimed to purchase Jez his dream bike for his birthday.
My motivation for this was to deliberately irritate the right-wing media – because, deep down inside, I am still a petulant child.
However, when the campaign went live, my practical joke evolved into something different entirely. A considerable number of people wanted to show support, solidarity and genuine kindness towards Jeremy Corbyn. Because a lot of them are genuinely moved by the fact that he isn’t an ex-Saatchi and Saatchi, super-smooth PR machine. People have real affection for the former political rebel who seems to genuinely want to make a difference with a new version of politics.
They also seemed to enjoy the idea of winding up the right-wingers a bit. Collective consciousness had somehow developed my infantile actions into a hitherto unused form of peaceful protest through altruism – one that allows you to be simultaneously generous and puerile. Cosmic!
The campaign snowballed rapidly and thus the initial target was reached and exceeded within around 1 hour and 20 minutes. I decided to update the Crowdfunder page to suggest that excess funds would provisionally be donated to the refugee charity Calais Action.
I was recently at the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk and the situation, particularly in Dunkirk, is pretty grim. It is cold, muddy and rat-infested, with people sleeping in water-logged tents. While spirits are still high, the dropping temperature is going to be extremely problematic. There are no major NGOs helping, so the people delivering aid are unwaged volunteers, living off rice and vegetables, who have given up their lives almost entirely to help out there. The refugee crisis was the news story of the summer, however since media interest has waned so have donations and they are desperately needed.
Additionally, this choice of cause gave the opportunity to further infuriate the Telegraph et al - because we all know how compassionately they have handled this humanitarian crisis.
At the time of writing the campaign has generated £5.5k in donations. Consequently, a situation has now arisen in which Horton’s article has potentially indirectly raised a significant amount of funding for a vulnerable group of people that her rag and its ilk have spent months ignoring and sometimes downright demonising.
Double cosmic! I hope they enjoy the irony.
Want to help give Jeremy Corbyn a new bike for his birthday - and give some money to refugees? The Crowdfunder is here
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