Advertisement

Movement-Led Electoral Campaigning: Momentum in the 2017 General Election

  • Abi Rhodes
Chapter

Abstract

Abi Rhodes provides an activist’s perspective of the role played by Momentum, which evolved out of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign for the Labour leadership in the summer of 2015. Rhodes describes this as a movement-led campaign, contrasting with traditional political marketing approaches which focus on selling a political product. The focus is on encouraging and empowering activists to get out there and connect with other voters, and to use their own political knowledge to respond to people’s concerns. This approach linked well with Jeremy Corbyn’s own personality and style of campaigning. There was a strong digital component to this “people-powered political communication”, for example in the use of Facebook and Twitter to help people identify My Nearest Marginal, and in encouraging campaigners to personalise their online messages.

Keywords

Activist Movement Political marketing Digital 

References

  1. BBC News. (2016, June 28). Labour MPs pass no-confidence motion in Jeremy Corbyn. BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-36647458. Accessed November 12, 2017.
  2. BBC News. (2017a, March 20). Labour: Tom Watson attacks Momentum-Unite ‘secret plan’. BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39325559. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  3. BBC News. (2017b, June 12). Jeremy Corbyn: How Momentum HQ perfected social media outreach. BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/election-2017-40255298/jeremy-corbyn-how-momentum-hq-perfected-social-media-outreach. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  4. BBC News. (2017c, June 30). Momentum’s Adam Klug says he expects Labour to win election soon. BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-40460842/momentum-s-adam-klug-says-he-expects-labour-to-win-election-soon. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  5. Bennet, W. L., & Segerberg, A. (2013). The logic of connective action: Digital media and the personalization of contentious politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cammaerts, B., DeCillia, B., Magalhães, J., & Jimenez-Martínez, C. (2016). Journalistic representations of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Press: From watchdog to attack dog. Media@LSE Report. http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/research/pdf/JeremyCorbyn/Cobyn-Report.pdf.
  7. Chadwick, A., & Stromer-Galley, J. (2016). Digital media, power, and democracy in parties and election campaigns: Party decline or party renewal? The International Journal of Press/Politics, 21(3), 283–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clery E., Curtice, J., & Harding R. (2016). British social attitudes: The 34th report. London: NatCen Social Research. www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk.
  9. Denver, D., Carman, C., & Johns, R. (2012). Elections and voters in Britain (3rd ed.). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Finlayson, L. (2016, January 11). Don’t elect him, he’s unelectable! Forum for European Philosophy Blog (Blog).Google Scholar
  11. Fisher, L. (2017, June 2). Momentum runs clever campaign to get out the youth vote for Corbyn. The Times. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/momentum-runs-clever-campaign-to-get-out-the-youth-vote-for-corbyn-m6gkbjxbx. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  12. Gaber, I. (2017). Othering Ed: Newspaper coverage of Miliband and the election. In D. Wring, R. Mortimore, S. Atkinson (Eds.), Political communication in Britain polling, campaigning and media in the 2015 general election. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Godfrey Wood, R. (2017, June 10). Pavement politics, new media, and a little help from Bernie: How Labour fought its ground game. New Statesman. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2017/06/pavement-politics-new-edia-and-little-help-bernie-how-labour-fought-its-ground. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  14. Harrop, M. (1990, July). Political marketing. Parliamentary Affairs, 43(3), 277–291.Google Scholar
  15. Hodges, D. (2015, October 9). Jeremy Corbyn now has his own Praetorian Guard inside the Labour Party. Daily Telegraph. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/Jeremy_Corbyn/11922468/Momentum-Jeremy-Corbyns-militant-Praetorian-Guard-inside-the-Labour-Party.html. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  16. Lees-Marshment, J. (2001). Political marketing and British political parties. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Lilleker, D., & Lees-Marshment, J. (Eds.). (2005). Political marketing: A comparative perspective. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  18. MacAskill, E., & Roberts, D. (2017, May 9). Jeremy Corbyn hoping for Bernie Sanders election endorsement. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/may/09/jeremy-corbyn-hoping-for-bernie-sanders-election-endorsement. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  19. Mason, R. (2015, September 14). Jeremy Corbyn’s victory speech: What he said, what he meant. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/sep/14/jeremy-corbyns-victory-speech-what-he-said-what-he-meant. Accessed November 12, 2017.
  20. Mullen, A. (2015). Political consultants, their strategies and the importation of new political communications techniques during the 2015 general election. In D. Jackson & E. Thorsen (Eds.), UK election analysis 2015: Media, voters and the campaign. Bournemouth: CSJCC Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Nielsen, R. K. (2012). Ground wars: Personalized communication in political campaigns. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Peggs, A. (2017, June 12). How Momentum changed British politics forever. Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adam-peggs/momentum-jeremy-corbyn_b_17054254.html. Accessed April 24, 2018.
  23. Rampen, J. (2017, June 7). “Jeremy Corbyn is the man”: Can Momentum help Labour take Croydon central? New Statesman. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/elections/2017/06/jeremy-corbyn-man-can-momentum-help-labour-take-croydon-central. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  24. Rees, E. (2017, June 12). What made the difference for Labour? Ordinary people knocking on doors. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/12/labour-knocking-on-doors-jeremy-corbyn-momentum. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  25. Rhodes, A. (2016). The “unelectable” elected man. In T. Unterrainer (Ed.), Corbyn’s campaign. Nottingham: Spokesman Books.Google Scholar
  26. Rhodes, A. (2017, May 26). Young voters have registered to vote in force—Theresa May made a dire mistake underestimating them. Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/general-election-2017-polls-voter-registration-under25-young-people-a7757976.html. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  27. Savage, M. (2017, June 10). How Jeremy Corbyn turned a youth surge into general election votes. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/10/jeremy-corbyn-youth-surge-votes-digital-activists. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  28. Savigny, H. (2003). Political marketing. Journal of Political Marketing, 3(1), 21–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Scammell, M. (1995). Designer politics: How elections are won. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Scammell, M., & Harrop, M. (1997). The press. In D. Butler & D. Kavanagh (Eds.), The British general election of 1997 (pp. 156–185). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Scammell, M., & Harrop, M. (2005). The press: Still for Labour, despite Blair. In D. Butler & D. Kavanagh (Eds.), The British general election of 2005 (pp. 119–145). London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  32. Schlosberg, J. (2016). Should he stay or should he go? Television and online news coverage of the Labour Party in crisis. Media Reform Coalition report in association with Birkbeck, University of London. http://www.mediareform.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Corbynresearch.pdf.
  33. Seymour, R. (2016). Corbyn: The strange rebirth of radical politics. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  34. Shabi, R. (2017, June 1). What use is a group of cultish, Corbynista clicktivists? Quite a lot, actually. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/01/corbynista-clictivists-election-jeremy-corbyn-momentum. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  35. Silvera, I. (2017, June 11). Jeremy Corbyn’s viral revolution: Momentum’s savvy social media strategy hailed. International Business Times. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/jeremy-corbyns-viral-revolution-momentums-savvy-social-media-strategy-hailed-1625760. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  36. The Week. (2017, June 12). How Momentum helped sway the general election. The Week. http://www.theweek.co.uk/general-election-2017/85501/how-momentum-helped-sway-the-general-election. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  37. Watson, I. (2017, March 20). Labour: Momentum, Unite and a ‘plan’ to take over the party. BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-39333130. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  38. Watt, N. (2015, December 10). Information commissioner launches inquiry into Momentum group. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/10/information-commissioner-launches-inquiry-into-momentum-group-jeremy-corbyn. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  39. Williams, Z. (2017, May 7). Labour won’t be saved by talk at the top. But local action could do it. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/07/labour-saved-local-action-principles-members-share. Accessed November 14, 2017.
  40. Wring, D. (1997). The media and the election. In A. Geddes & J. Tonge (Eds.), Labour’s landslide: The British general election 1997. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Wring, D. (2001). Labouring the point: Operation victory and the battle for a second term. Journal of Marketing Management, 17, 913–927.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wring, D. (2005). The politics of marketing the Labour Party. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

Personalised recommendations