Membership and elections

Posted on September 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm,

The recent news that the Conservative party is losing its members offers a great opportunity for other parties. Falling party membership usually means that the party membership is, in large part, disillusioned with the direction in which their party is going. Not only are there fewer members to campaign for the party, but also those left are likely to share many of the reservations of those who have left, and hence be less enthusiastic.

In fact, even the Tories’ core activists appear to be having doubts. There are quite a few Tory activists who want to see Nigel Farage take Tom Bercow’s seat in Buckingham (see, for example, the comments here). Apparently they think that he’s “too new Labour” which, given that new Labour is virtually indistinguishable from the Tories in policy terms, doesn’t bode well for David Cameron’s future.

Labour are, likewise, in disarray – knowing that they are on course to lose the next General Election, and fighting each other, rather than fighting to change their collective fortune.

This means that smaller parties like the Greens, have a massive opportunity for breakthrough. Green membership is growing, our share of the vote went up by more than anybody else’s in the European Elections – and did so across the country, and we managed to quadruple our share of the vote in the Norwich North By-Election. In fact, we are more popular amongst those thinking of switching their vote than the Tories.

The best example of how much difference having highly motivated activists on the ground makes is Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign. The most important factor in his win over John McCain was the massive emphasis he placed on having activists on the ground. Every other aspect of his campaign was built around his ground game.

If we can get those who voted for us to become members and activists, , if we can equip them to be effective campaigners in towns and cities across the country, and if we can direct their efforts to the wards and constituencies where they will have the greatest effect, then we have a good chance of becoming and remaining a major player in British politics and getting much of our policy agenda enacted.

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