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Where have all the members gone? the dynamics of party membership in Britain

Whiteley, P (2009) 'Where have all the members gone? the dynamics of party membership in Britain.' Parliamentary Affairs, 62 (2). 242 - 257. ISSN 0031-2290

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Abstract

This paper examines current and past party membership in Britain by means of a large-scale internet-based survey. It shows that party members differ from voters in being higher status and more educated, but more likely to be retired than the population in general. It examines the differences between the characteristics of Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat members, and explores the differences between current and former members. The latter outnumber the former by almost two to one, indicating that the grassroots party organisations are continuing to decline in Britain. This paper then discusses the implications of this finding for British politics, suggesting that while parties at the centre will continue to operate, parties in the community will not fulfil their functions effectively. It then shows that a decline of membership will weaken partisanship in the electorate, and this in turn will undermine the effectiveness of central government in Britain. © The Author [2009].

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2013 18:52
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2019 16:22
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/7675

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