openDemocracyUK

Tory Democrats

Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
15 February 2010

John Strafford of the Campaign for Conservative Democracy had a significant column in yesterday's Observer. He describes how decision making in his party has been scooped away from its members and centralised. He calculates that the core of the party has been reduced to a rump of "10,000 councillors, their families and friends". I can't tell how accurate this is, but I do know that it is part of a larger picture that suggests the crisis of political parties goes much deeper than formal numbers of membership, steeply declining though these are.

All the usual reform proposals assume that there is a lively party system in existence....

Strafford has created a petitition on the No10 Website of the utmost reasonablness which nonetheless could be devastating for politics as we know it:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to introduce legislation so that the Electoral Commission cannot register a political party unless the party has a democratic constitution which can be changed by a majority of its members on the basis of one member one vote.

I've just added my name.

Sign the petition: save our Freedom of Information

The UK government is running a secretive unit inside Michael Gove’s Cabinet Office that’s accused of ‘blacklisting’ journalists and hiding ‘sensitive’ information from the public. Experts say they’re breaking the law – and it’s an assault on our right to know what our government is doing.

We’re not going to let it stand. We’re launching a legal battle – but we also need a huge public outcry, showing that thousands back our call for transparency. Will you add your name?

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.

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