Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reinvigorating Labour (and other parties)

Labour leader Miliband proposes changes to encourage more people to get involved in party politics. Other parties are interested in that goal as well.

Labour considers allowing non-members to choose leader
Labour's ruling National Executive Committee is meeting to discuss plans to open up the party's leadership elections to non-members…

The plans are part of a project by Ed Miliband - "Refounding Labour" - aimed at breathing new life into what he claims is a moribund party…

At present, only MPs, MEPs, party members and members of an affiliated group, such as a trade union, can vote in leadership contests - although anyone who falls into more than one of those categories is allowed to vote several times.

Mr Miliband wants members of the public to be allowed to register as individual party supporters and to be given a vote as well…

Political party membership has been in decline across Europe for decades and the UK now has one of the lowest rates of membership among other established democracies with 1.5% saying they belonged to a party in 2001.

The Conservatives and Lib Dems have also been experimenting with ways of boosting support by opening their doors to non-members.

These include open primaries to select candidates, similar to those used in the United States, and cut-price membership schemes…

A Labour source told the Press Association: "The aim is to show that Labour is outward-facing, talking to the public, trying to recruit members of the public, in contrast to the old image of decisions taken behind closed doors and in smoke-filled rooms…

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