Given the thread the other day (which seemed to drift to the conclusion that anyone actively identifying with/being associated with a party was kind-of a wanker) and the party funding SCANDALS in the last few days, I thought this was interesting. Party membership numbers since 1951:
1951 Conservative 2.9m - Labour 876,000
1971 Conservative 1.3m - Labour 700,000
1981 Conservative 1.2m - Labour 277,000
1991 Conservative 1m to 0.5m - Labour 261,000 - Lib Dem 91,000
2001 Conservative 311,000 - Labour 272,000 - Lib Dem 73,000
2011 Conservative 177,000 - Labour 190,000 - Lib Dem - 66,000
One thing that stands out is that they obviously aren't getting the funding from the public that they used to. Another is that engagement with politics seems to be bottoming out. Are these numbers important? Does it matter if no-one actually ponies up to join these things?