Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to make a political party popular

Who'd have thunk it? If a political party elects someone who represents its values as leader, people actually join it:

More people have joined the Labour Party since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader than the total membership of the Liberal Democrats, party figures suggest.

The latest numbers released by Labour show that 62,000 people have joined it in the week since Saturday 12 September.

This compares to 61,456 people who are members of the Liberal Democrats, according to figures last released in June.

The number is also significantly more than the 47,000 people who are members of Ukip, whose membership also grew dramatically during the previous parliament. It could also soon surpass the 67,000 membership of the Green Party.

Corbyn's election looks set to reverse the twenty year decline in UK Labour membership numbers. Its unclear whether they're new members of former members rejoining, but either way, (re)engaging that many people with a party is a pretty big success.

Of course, the real reason here is that Corbyn's values - equality, peace, disarmament - are popular values, and that UK Labour under Blair and his successors had lost track of them. But that's what happens when you allow your party to be colonised by the establishment: it turns into their vehicle, and people walk away from it.