Will the last person to leave the Conservative Party please turn out the light
21 December, 2008
So the News of the Screws has it that Conservative Party membership has fallen pretty significantly since Cameron came to power. As Tom and Yousef point out this is not good news for Project Cameron. Four main points occur:
1) Considering they are in opposition and ahead in the polls this is extraordinary. Should they ever reach government, and that stands as less of a possibility today than at any time in the last year, it seems hard to imagine that they are going to put on lots of members.
2) When Blair and Brown were in opposition they saw that the public’s chance to see them running something came in the form of how they managed the Labour Party. Cameron and Osborne don’t get this. This is why they have had to lay off staff, see membership fall and pose for whatever political positions they think will gain them a point in the polls but leave the dinosaur membership unevolved and restless.
3) The Conservative Party still hasn’t got over Thatcher. I know whenever I see this line of argument I always think it’s a little suspect but I think it has more validity when it comes to the membership rather than policy issues. I would argue that the full time professional conservative political class and the relatively small numbers of young activists are Thatcher’s Children and up for some V for Vendetta style government is evil ideas while many of the older members and some of them are very old are more socially authoritarian but still relate to the postwar consensus. So with the young turks in charge of the party the older ones are dropping out, dying or their modern equivelents aren’t joining the Conservatives or going elsewhere.
4) Does this mean they can’t win the next election? Absolutely not as I said before it’s still game on.