3 August 2012

Lib Dem membership slumps

Mark Pack reports the Liberal Democrats membership has slumped to less than 50,000.  Twenty years ago it was 100,000 - I remember the press release of Paddy Ashdown announcing in the run up to the 1992 general election the landmark recruit conveniently in the key seat of Bath.  Which entirely coincidently was won a few weeks later by Don Foster - defeating then Tory Chairman Chris Patten.

There is no gloss that can be put on this - and Mark's valient attempt to deflect attention onto the Tories is a misplaced attempt at loyalty that cannot be allowed to lead to complacency. 

These figures add to the growing body of evidence that the party is dying on its feet.  Over the last two years its councillor base has been hollowed out, it has all but dissapeared in Scotland and the northern cities, it has started spending more than it receives in income and its poll ratings still face south. 

Yet the party at Westminster appears to be unconcerned by this collapse.  I wrote on 7 May the party faces a fight for its very existence.  Sadly it is now clear it is a fight it faces with hugely depleted troops. 

One has to wonder at what point do the powers that be at Westminster wake up?


  1. Apart from "waking up" what do you suggest the party actually do about it?
    The party has an unpopular leader in an unpopular Coalition, that would be the obvious place to start looking. But it not there then where?

  2. ..yes.. the next very unpopular thing the lib dems will do is strike a deal with the Tories over boundary change so the have a chance of getting back in.. it's nailed on imo and that will be be the final nail in the Lib Dem Coffin..

    ..I voted Lib Dem in the past and I can honestly say that under no circumstances would I ever vote Lib Dem again.. the only hope for the party is to get out of the unholy alliance pronto and suffer for a couple of years hoping to rebuild.. staying with the coalition will finish the party..

  3. Ironically, my family let our membership slide partially because of Mark Pack! After LDV and his BBC appearances, it became apparent that he had become a sort of unofficial/unelected spokesperson, and we weren't very happy about that - didn't seem Liberal or Democratic. It wasn't the only factor (Nick Clegg was the other), but it was the straw that bust the monkey's knackers. We no longer wanted to be led or represented by people that had all been educated in one of two universities, that had similar social groups and seemingly similar views/ideas about life.

    Lib Dem's have become terrible at talking and thinking like the common-man. It's a party comprised of quite a few Oxbridge idealistic academics with their own warped view of the future, but fewer and fewer people that lead "normal" lives. When the assumed internet mouthpiece is folk like Stephen Tall and Mark Pack, what hope has the party got? I've enjoyed some of their work; it's the disproportionate exposure that seems most undemocratic. Other Oxbridge bloggers have done an excellent job in hatcheting fellow LD bloggers out of existence with a near Aspergers level of social disconnect. Those same people claim they know best as regards how to sculpt society - funny, but unlikely.

    I figure we have to stand by the shore and watch it burn, then come together and build a new craft. In the meantime we can spend all that time we would of been canvassing and pushing Focus leaflets through doors with our families and friends.

    Not winning here!

  4. Left Lib. As I mentioned in the linked post the parliamentary party ought to be using the platform they have to campaign for a small number of popular and relevant reforms - such as abolishing council tax. They need to be campaigning outside of the coalition agreement and stop trying to sell it to a sceptical nation.

  5. @Anonymous - Mark and Stephen get asked to commentate a lot in the media because they've built up their reputation as commentators through their own blogging and through LDV. They always appear in that capacity, not as 'spokespeople' for the party, official or unofficial. I think he was at York University, not Oxbridge.