Friday, 20 November 2009

Can we Learn From UKIP Activists

I have a lot of UKIP readers who bombard me whenever I do any posts on their favourite subject the EU. I again expect them to bombard me with their comments in reply to this post too, we will wait and see.

UKIP have around 16,000 members. By way of contrast the Conservative Party had around 290,000 members the Labour party had 176,891, the Liberal Democrats 73,000 and the BNP had 10,000 members, I could not find any info on the Greens.

I just wanted to highlight just how active the UKIP members are. The main parties have allot of members but a fair percentage of them are not active. I don't have a problem with this as all parties need as many members that they can get be them active or not because hey provide a support thought funding and discussion. But I have met quite a few UKIP members now. In maidenhead for example I can confirm that all UKIP members of that party are active (spoke to them in maidenhead town centre while they were campaigning).

I think the other parties can learn something from UKIP here. UKIP are a one-issue party (they do of course have other policies) But that one issue for its member’s spurs them onto feel so strong on the EU question that they cant help but be active. The other parties are not inspiring their members into action.

Other issues that of course cause people to not want to be so active is the expense scandal, no one want to get told that they are a crook or you’re all the same and as bad as one another etc etc.

I’m not expecting UKIP to wins seats in the next election (well apart from Nigel Farage) but we should also not underestimate their activist because they are driven on by a very strong belief. A belief that the other parties need to get back in their members as say Blair did in 1997 or as Paddy Ashdown did in the 1990's.

UKIP are currently running a leadership contest the contestants can be viewed here

These figures are taken from around 2007 for the big two parties 2004 for the Liberal Democrats and 2009 for UKIP. However I think it’s well known that the membership of all the main parties has been declining (in 1997 Labour had 405,000 members).

UPDATE: Green Party had 7441 members as of 2008, thanks to 'This is Bracknell' for the info.


  1. You are probably unfairly running down your own average membership since a lot of them are dead or in nursing homes & have not been active for years but are kept on the rolls to keep the numbers up.

    The other difference is that UKIP members have something to believe in, largely liberalism, whereas your own party gave that up long ago when they decided to abandon any principles & follow a leader committed to a criminal war & genocide.

  2. As A UKIP member I know I do work very hard. However I think somehow Neil Craig is arong about the Lib Dems, I do expect they have alot of members who are old but wrong about Lib dems not having principles. Natually I think they have more principles than most.

  3. Thanks this is a very honest blog about the membership. Membership in the main parties is changing because its more than a pound to join these day and people r worried about what they may be asked to do. -t was once just a club really now they want you to get involved.

  4. Green Party had 7441 members as of 2008 (that comes from that ever reliable source wikipedia). I would copy + paste in here but my computer appears to be playing up...

    I think you make an interesting point re: political activism. I find it difficult to understand how anyone could feel inspired to get active for the Labour or Tory parties thesedays (and to a lesser extent Lib Dem).

    Neither of the UK's two major parties appear to stand for any true principles. I'm not sure why anyone would want to spend any lengthly period of time attempting to keep the red people in power over the blue people when in truth they are as purple as each other.

    I think it's far more understandable to hear of people willing to deliver leaflets or stand for election in UKIP or the Greens as they have clear and differing messages from the main parties. (I stop short of bracketing the BNP in the same bracket as I used the word 'understandable' in the previous sentence..)

  5. Ah the UK Independence Party, now there's a brand name to conjure with! The original aim was independence from the other members of whatever the Common Market is called this week. Not a bad aim, not a good aim, but a late aim.

    Even so they make a valid choice in what should be their home territory, European Elections. Getting a UKIP MEP elected is the type of thing that says to real political parties "You have to pull your sock up!"

    I've voted for them in European Elections. I see the point of them there.

    There isn't a chance I'll vote for them in elections about local government of the UK. They just aren;pt credible and aren't competent to govern.

  6. I think a lot of it is that members fell, correctly, that they have no influence on what they are supposed to be supporting. Cameron made it glaringly obvious when he reversed the "cast iron" promise purely on his say so & quite obviously against the wishes of most members.

    At one stage I believed the "LibDems" commitment to conference's legal sovereignty had some truth but obviously learned better.

    It is simply impossible to inspire people's loyalty to a political movement if they can have no role in saying what that movement stands for & this is probably why mass membership of all parties has gone. I remember hearing somebody say that to be a member of a sizable perty now you must be ambitious, insane or have a family history (I was the last).

  7. Now Neil for Change I agree with you. although I think I must then fall into insane as I dont meet the other two options