LUNES. More United

In times of political anxiety, some people came out with the idea of setting up a crowdfunding platform to back politicians from any party who support its “progressive values” of diversity and tolerance, Wired reports.

In June 2017’s General Election, the “tech-driven political startup” More United backed 49 candidates from 5 different parties. Of these, 34 have been elected to be Members of Parliament. The final list of candidates include Labour’s Clive Lewis, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and Liberal Democrat Vince Cable.


Bess Mayhew, Founder and CEO of More United

Behind the project there is Bess Mayhew, 30, who had been the Liberal Democrat head of digital communications. In tandem with the party’s former campaign and membership head Austin Rathe who came up with the idea of crowdfunding, the founding team also includes former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown.

So, Wired asks

is More United a branch of the party? No, says Mayhew emphatically, citing the group’s name, a reference to a line in the maiden parliamentary speech of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox: “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us.”

Wired’s Roland Manthorpe writes:

More United works by channeling crowdfunded contributions directly to candidates from any party who support its “progressive values” of diversity and tolerance. Mayhew launched the first campaign in November 2016 – less than a month later, More United had raised £274,164, almost three times its £100,000 target, with 8761 supporters pitching in average donations of around £35. Mayhew calls it “the largest political crowdfund in history”. But before she had a chance to catch her breath, Theresa May called a snap general election.

For Mayhew, that meant not only starting another crowdfunding campaign – as of the start of this week, More United had raised over £220,000, putting it just short of half a million overall – but also, more crucially, picking candidates to support. Although political parties receive donations in the millions, individual MPs have a campaign spending limit of £15,000. “Five or ten thousand pounds can make the difference, especially in a tight race,” Mayhew says. So who would get the benefit? Rewarding impeccable moderate credentials was one thing, but Mayhew was searching for something else. Post-Brexit, she wanted candidates who would win.


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