Sunday, 5 October 2008

Fernando sounds his drum

. I have thus far refrained from commenting on the race for party President although I have made it pretty clear in comments on Liberal Democrat Voice that I fully intend to support Ros Scott. Chandila Fernando is the first candidate to benefit from it's platform. I am quite willing to admit I knew little about him and I have to say his platform didn't change my mind one jot. The below in particular attracted my ire;

"The Liberal Democrats must become the first mainstream political party to move away from the tired concept of card-carrying membership. Lib Dem membership is in serious decline. We need to build a stronger relationship with the 99% of Lib Dem supporters who are not paid-up members. Modern technology makes it possible and desirable to move to a system of registered supporters. Again, I will consult on all the details, but my blueprint is available on my website. The party should also go through a full rebranding exercise. We still look and feel just like we did twenty years ago. In that time, we have seen the rise and fall of new Labour and the Tories have re-branded twice. I will be consulting with some of the country’s leading brand managers during my campaign. The party should be doing this!!"

As was pointed out in the comments by Sensco, it would seem Fernando wants to 'do away with membership'. How is the concept of 'card-carrying' members 'tired'? The fact is that none of the mainstream political parties are doing well in terms of membership. This says more about the a sanguine apathy and even antipathy towards politics than it does about the concept. Members and activists however remain the bedrock of building a political base within a community. Keeping track of supporters is all well and good but that should be with the aim of turning them into members.

It is ironic is it not that somebody seeking the support of membership should declare that they are part of a tired concept??

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