Wednesday, June 25, 2008
We Should Look to the Germans on Party Membership
It seems Britain is not the only country where party membership figures are plummeting. German party membership has fallen by about 50% since 1990, which is perhaps not such a steep fall as in Britain. Compare the UK figures with those in the graph above (from Der Spiegel).
If you include parties like UKIP, BNP and the Greens I reckon the total membership of political parties in the UK is around 500,000**. This is a million fewer than in Germany. In Britain about 1 in 120 people is likely to be a member of a political party. In Germany the figure is 1 in 59.
Interestingly it is the centre right parties in both countries which have managed to hold onto most of their members, while those on the left have been in sharp decline. Perhaps some of the academics out there could give us some figures for other countries. Is Britain the country with the fewest party members pro rata in the EU? It wouldn't surprise me at all.
Perhaps UK political parties could learn a few lessons from their German counterparts.
* These figures are approximate. If anyone has accurate figures, do let me know.
** Figure updated