The Green Party sent out an interesting press release today stating that their membership had ‘grown by 23% in the first 5 months of 2014’.
Let’s keep this claim in perspective, it has grown from being small to not quite so small, but the fact that it has grown at all, let alone to some 17,000 people, is interesting for two reasons.
Firstly, it is well and truly bucking the trend of party membership that is being endured by the big three political parties.
Party political membership has been on the dramatic decline since the Second World War resulting in just 1% of the population now holding membership to a political party.
As the BBC rather dryly pointed out:
“There are more members of the Caravan Club, or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, than of all Britain’s political parties put together.”
Indeed, the Conservative Party membership is thought to have almost halved under Cameron (although figures are not official it is thought to be as low as 134,000 now!)
A House of Commons briefing paper put the Labour and Lib Dem membership on 193,000 and 49,000 respectively (although in reality the figure will be much lower by now).
So, for The Green Party to be able to claim to be ‘on course to break 20,000 members’ by the end of the year is a pretty impressive, especially considering the general discontent with party political politics.
Secondly it is an important building block to the long-term success of the party. Although The Green Party had a reasonable local and European election last month, we know that voters can be fickle and that many of these will vote elsewhere come May 2015.
Members in contrast have shown a commitment (they have paid some of their hard earned cash to start with) to the party that should be longer lasting. Members provide a volunteer as well as economic base for the party to grow from. This in turn can help the party launch better (funded) election campaigns that will potentially lead to more elected representatives which eventually can lead to their actual goal – more Green Party policies being introduced.
You can find out about joining the Green Party by clicking here.
UPDATE: Liberal Democrat Mark Pack has just tweeted this:
Points to take from this are: One, small recent upsurge in Lib Dem membership but, two, this surge takes them to just 44,000 – 5,000 less than the figure the 2012 HoC paper put them on.
I wonder how much of this recent ‘growth’ can be explained by some of the 35% of Lib Dem members that left between 2010 and 2012 (42,000 down from 65,000) coming back to the party after venting their anger at the coalition?