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.