Politics

Jeremy Corbyn and The Big Issue: Was it the mug that swung it?

Labour's shock turnaround left the Conservatives reeling. While Corbyn still has to settle for second place, his resurgent party remains the notable post-election talking point...

The Big Issue interviews Jeremy Corbyn live on Facebook

It’s clear now that Jeremy Corbyn’s rise was helped by a huge increase in young voters.

Indications are that over 70 per cent of 18-24 year-olds voted. Organisations such as Bite The Ballot and Rize Up UK helped galvanise. Not all these voters will have backed Jeremy Corbyn. But it’s clear that many did, defying all received notions on political parties needing to move to the centre ground.

And while Corbyn may not have won, his leadership of a resurgent Labour Party is one of the primary stories of an incredible General Election.

Before election day, Jeremy Corbyn gave his final broadcast interview to The Big Issue, when we hooked up with UNILAD for a Facebook Live event last week.

The broadcast, drawing on UNILAD’s core young users, was viewed almost 600,000 times with hundreds of comments and thousands of shares on social media.

The interview (read 10 things we learned), conducted by The Big Issue editor Paul McNamee, covered a lot of policy – with Corbyn reiterating Labour’s commitment to The Big Issue’s core belief in better conditions and rights for people renting homes, and financial education for kids from school age. But when it turned to other issues unexpected revelations came pouring out that (clearly!) might just have tipped the Labour leader back into the running late in the game.

As well as the startling revelations about his cat El Gato and its Number 10 ambitions, 68-year-old Corbyn revealed the secret weapon keeping him going through the campaign was a combination of apple juice and coconut water. At our suggestion he said he’ll be trying them out as a cocktail. Racy.

Throughout the grilling Corbyn swigged tea from a Big Issue Activist Army mug. It was this choice of mug that proved he was no slouch, symbolically connecting him to the ‘big issues’ the electorate cared about.

Such was the reaction to the mug that here we outline how you can purchase it, and other Activist Army must-haves.

Bottom’s up! How to lead change – one mug, tea-towel and t-shirt at a time…


Like Woody Guthrie’s guitar, this unique item carries a political message. It also dries dishes. £9.99


As modelled by Jez, the Activist Army mug makes you instantly cool, hip and ready for a political surge. £12.99


Help dismantle poverty by buying your Activist Army kit from The Big Issue Shop – every purchase has a social echo. £20


You’re not just another brick in the wall, you are an Activist Army recruit. This poster – in A4, A3 and A2 sizes – says it loud and clear. £15, £25 and £35


Back where it all began…this is the original edition of The Big Issue magazine that launched our prevention manifesto. Own a part of history – get your copy before they’re gone. £4

All Activist Army items are available only in The Big Issue Shop.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
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