Anyone who thought that Britain’s grassroots party members – the footsoldiers or ‘poor bloody infantry’ of politics – didn’t really count for much has had a rude awakening this summer. The UK is now governed by one Boris Johnson, a politician promising to end forty years’ worth of links with the European Union at a stroke and a man chosen for the job of Prime Minister not as the result of a general election but by just 92,153 people - or less than 0.2 per cent of the country’s population. And not only were they a very small slice of that population, they were also (as this free chapter reveals) a highly unrepresentative one – something, incidentally, they have in common with the members of Britain’s other big parties. Later chapters suggest that this matters: not only do members have more influence on their parties’ policies, leaders and candidates than many imagine, but who they are has a bearing, too, on their attitudes and on how active they are, as well as on what parties need to do to recruit and retain them. For all that, though, you’ll have to buy the book!
Tim Bale, co-author of Footsoldiers: Political Party Membership in the 21st Century
More about Footsoldiers:
This accessible, rigorously researched and highly revealing book lifts the lid on political party membership. It represents the first in-depth study of six of the UK's biggest parties – Labour, the Conservatives, the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats, UK Independence Party …
Paperback – 2019-08-12