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UK: Labour in decline: one of its party members leaves every 20 minutes
Telegraph ^ | 12/27/06 | George Jones

Posted on 12/26/2006 11:37:34 PM PST by bruinbirdman

Labour is losing a member every 20 minutes and will have none left within seven years if that rate continues, according to one of the candidates for the party's deputy leadership.

Jon Cruddas, the MP for Dagenham, said the party had lost more than 160,000 members between 2000 and 2006.

If it continued in the same way, the last member of the party would leave in April 2013, around the end of a fourth term for Labour under its new leadership if it wins the next general election.

Labour's membership peaked at 405,000 after Tony Blair came to power in 1997. The most recent official estimates show it had fallen to 198,025 by the end of last year, but MPs say it is likely to have fallen further since then.

A party spokesman said there was no evidence that Labour was in "inexorable decline" and insisted efforts were under way to renew the party across the country.

The drop in numbers had to be seen in the context of the fact that Labour had been in power for 10 years.

Labour launched a recruitment drive last month, offering anyone who signs up a vote in the process of choosing a new leader and deputy. Previously there was a minimum length of membership to qualify to take part.

However, party sources said that the fall in membership had added to the "acute cashflow problems" admitted by the party last month.

Hazel Blears, the Labour chairman, said the figures had been used by Mr Cruddas in a "sensational way".

"Our membership is broadly the same as other political parties, and not just in this country but around the world there is a lack of political engagement," she said. Mr Cruddas has said if he is elected deputy leader, he would not want the dual role of Deputy Prime Minister now held by John Prescott. He believes the post should be about linking leadership and grassroots, not acting as the premier's deputy.

He said: "Rebuilding the party is no abstract exercise. To beat the Tories we need activists on the ground, taking Cameron's Conservatives on, exposing how they will damage our country. The days when all you needed was a good spin operation are over – we have to get back to local, pavement politics."

The concerns among Labour MPs that Tony Blair is bypassing party activists were fuelled yesterday by the announcement that panels of members of the public are to be asked to advise ministers on the most controversial and difficult areas of policy.

The so-called "deliberative forums" will consider issues such as how the Government should try to influence people's lifestyle choices and make them healthier.

They will also examine proposals for using supermarket loyalty card technology to harvest data on people's contact with public services – anathema to civil liberties campaigners.

A 100-strong cross-section of the public will be recruited in the new year. In February, regional meetings will get versions of briefing papers that ministers are already studying.

The participants will then attend a one-day public services "summit", likely to be held in Downing Street and attended by junior ministers and top civil servants.

Their conclusions will be considered as part of Labour's major policy review, launched by Mr Blair in October and due to report in the spring.

TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; United Kingdom

1 posted on 12/26/2006 11:37:37 PM PST by bruinbirdman
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To: bruinbirdman

This is good... right?

2 posted on 12/26/2006 11:53:43 PM PST by Porterville (Destroy the Death Culture of Socialism)
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To: Porterville

It hardly matters. BOTH major parties in England are running on a hate-America platform! And NEITHER are "conservative" in our consideration of conservative. Both their parties are socialsits.

3 posted on 12/27/2006 12:07:20 AM PST by Mobile Vulgus
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To: Porterville; MadIvan
"This is good... right?"

I don't know how it works. There is something called a membership "subscription". Kinda like dues. I guess if you are a dues paying member, someone pays more attention to you. Don't know how many tupence a "subscription" is. I do know that a few years ago Labour purged its rolls of "dormant members".


4 posted on 12/27/2006 12:15:48 AM PST by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." -- Ayn Rand)
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To: bruinbirdman

This is why Tony Blair has to bribe millionaires with promises of honours in return for large off-the-books donations to keep the debts down (though Labour's debts are still pretty big).

Hence the fact that Blair could well be facing a stretch in the clink once Scotland Yard have finished getting the evidence together.

5 posted on 12/27/2006 12:45:46 AM PST by Canard
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To: bruinbirdman

Isn't there a new even more liberal party than the Labour Party right now that's gaining in popularity.

6 posted on 12/27/2006 12:59:04 AM PST by MinorityRepublican (Everyone that doesn't like what America and President Bush has done for Iraq can all go to HELL)
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To: MinorityRepublican

This is mostly a bogus article. First...the majority of UK registered voters (not foreigners)...will stay by the Labor Party although they may not vote. Second...the more far left party simply isn't attracting alot of voters because it is extreme in its attitude. Third...the conservitive party in the UK has really failed in showing great leadership...there are no John Majors or Marquet Thatchers in the making. What you will see is a low turn-out in the next election...which neither of the other two parties can take advantage of. Brown will become the next prime minister...although his period will likely last less than two years. To have been a great centerpiece of leadership in the western world...they really have no one adequate after Tony Blair...and thats the sad state of British politics today.

7 posted on 12/27/2006 1:10:10 AM PST by pepsionice
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To: Porterville

Bloody oath it's good!

We should see this happen to all leftist parties across the globe. Mind you, the pommy 'Conservative' Party is almost as bad as Labour.

8 posted on 12/27/2006 2:34:51 AM PST by Aussie Dasher (The Great Ronald Reagan & John Paul II - Heaven's Dream Team!)
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