The Green Party’s Conference this weekend will be the largest ever gathering of party members. When I first joined, in 1978, it had 5,000 members. Apart from a rapid increase (and equally rapid decline) shortly after the 1989 European elections, when it attracted two million votes, membership stayed around that level for decades. Now, suddenly, it has over 50,000. What has changed?
Membership growth has not resulted from a sudden burst of public interest in climate change or organic farming, nor, thankfully, an environmental disaster such as a nuclear accident. Disillusionment with the ‘third party’ option is clearly one factor, just as 25 years ago with the collapse of the SDP-Liberal Alliance. Likewise, the failure of Ed Miliband to present a convincing alternative to conservatism. Continue reading