Monday, 8 August 2016

Did Jeremy Corbyn pull his weight during the EU Referendum campaign?

One of the biggest criticisms of Jeremy Corbyn by those Labour Party members who believe that there should be a new Leader to our party is that his efforts during the EU Referendum campaign were, how shall we put it, a tad half-hearted.

Time and time again I have seen Corbyn supporters refute this claim on the basis that he travelled 2,768 miles on the campaign trail in the 22 days before 23 June.

It got me wondering.

Is 2,768 a high number or is it low? I just don’t know.

So I thought I would check out how many miles Mr Corbyn has covered during his leadership campaign.

I want to be fair so I thought the fairest way I could do such a check was using his own Twitter account ( @jeremycorbyn) and Google maps to check mileage.

Obviously Mr Corbyn doesn’t tell us where he is travelling so I have made a few assumption which I am more than happy to be challenged.

I have only used Mr Corbyn’s mass rallies as the basis for calculating mileage (no London events, I haven’t included the recent hustings held in Cardiff, I haven’y included informal visits such as Falmouth Carnival).

I have assumed that where Mr Corbyn has held rallies geographically close to each other (for example Hull and Leeds) he has probably attended them without returning to his Islington home. For other rallies I have assumed a return journey to north London.

I have used 21st July as the start date for Mr Corbyn’s campaign, not quite 3 weeks ago, but the date Jeremy himself tweeted ‘This morning I launched my Labour leadership campaign’.

This is what I have found.

23 July: Rally in Manchester – return journey 396 miles

29 July: Rally in York – Islington to York 207 miles

30 July: Rally in Hull – York to Hull 47 miles

30 July: Rally in Leeds – Hull to Leeds 61 miles, Leeds to Islington 193 miles

2 August: Rally in Liverpool – return journey 420 miles

3 August: Rally in Brighton – return journey 156 miles

5 August: Rally in Merthyr Tidfil – Islington to Merthyr Tidfil 173 miles

6 August: Rally in Swansea – Merthyr to Swansea 45 Miles

6 August: Rally in Redruth – Swansea to Redruth 239 miles, Redruth to Islington 294 miles

So in summary in the 18 days between 21st of July when Mr Corbyn started his campaign he has covered an absolute minimum of 2,170 miles.

Of course Mr Corbyn’s longer trips tend to happen at weekends and partially when Parliament was sitting, which was not the case with the EU referendum campaign.

Similarly, if the pattern of recent weeks continues, Mr Corbyn is likely to stack on the campaign miles again this weekend.

So what does it all prove? Not a huge amount other than when it comes down to miles overall Jeremy’s EU campaigning is roughly commensurate with his Leadership campaign.

When it comes down to number of campaign stops (123 during the referendum campaign but on the basis that I’ve outlined far, far fewer during the Leadership one) it seems on the surface at least Mr Corbyn is much more willing to up his average distance travelled to make sure he wins in a few weeks time.

All very interesting I’m sure but when it comes down to it it’s nothing more than a bit of useful ammunition to use, depending on how you interpret it, to prove your argument on whether Jeremy pulled his weight during the referendum campaign or not.

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