British parties are suffering a slow death. What’s left are elites and cults

Illustration: Bill Bragg.

We have historically reserved the term “political cult” for far-left or right grouplets. They have tiny memberships and thus inevitably have limited interaction with or knowledge of wider society.They are closed-off worlds in which the activists increasingly resemble each other, and where ideology has replaced ideas and debate. The RoadTrip debacle is evidence that the mass parties, the key institutions in our mother of democracies, are becoming so small that they are starting to develop cult-like tendencies.

In 2015 it is easy to assume that the Conservative party has always been an organisation for the few. Not so. In the early 50s, 2.8 million Britons were paid-up Tory members; until well into John Major’s premiership it was the largest party in the UK. Now its base is shrinking fast and ageing: the “party of workers” is in reality the party of OAPs. For most of the past two decades, a similarly sharp decline has set in with the Lib Dems and (until the last few months) Labour.

Combine that with the rapid decline in party allegiance among voters, and you have a democracy in which the three main parties pose as representatives of the popular will even while commanding less popular enthusiasm than at any point in postwar history.

Source: British parties are suffering a slow death. What’s left are elites and cults | Aditya Chakrabortty | Opinion | The Guardian

4 thoughts on “British parties are suffering a slow death. What’s left are elites and cults

  1. ian725

    It is True the 3 Main and oldest Parties are now Dinosaurs and all are a part of History . They look and act ancient and Historic. They have not changed with the and resist the Obvious …. Electoral Reform and New Constitution ( Thats if we ever really had one) In Scotland we have seen a complete turn round in the old days the Tories held the power in Scotland, then it was Labours turn and the Tories were eclipsed holding only a few seats with Labour in almost Total Control.. they too refused to change and so the People turned to the SNP gave them no majority first , then apparently the People liked what they saw and now we have a comparatively New Party with a massive majority virtually eclipsing the other Parties put together. This will happen to us in England in some manner People in general are fed up with them all and still they are too arrogant to change. It takes courage to start a new party one day the Tories and Labour as we know it will not exist as any force in Politics.

  2. casalealex

    When people put their ballots in the boxes, they are, by that act, inoculated against the feeling that the government is not theirs. They then accept, in some measure, that its errors are their errors, its aberrations their aberrations, that any revolt will be against them. It’s a remarkably shrewd and rather conservative arrangement when one thinks of it. John Kenneth Galbraith

  3. mrmarcpc

    It’s too much in the right’s favour as it stands now and for a few years too, is all how they want it and why they attack Corbyn viciously all the time, he is different from them, from the norm, he rocks the boat and threatens their cosy existence and they don’t like it, time for their stranglehold on everything was loosened and they be brought down!

Comments are closed.