As the opposition parties bray for SNP transparency while refusing to be so themselves, the Labour branch revealed its membership in February 2021 to be under 16 000, less than a quarter of the SNP currently at 74 9000.
The UK Lib Dems claim 73 000 but I doubt that gives the Scottish Lib Dems 7 300.
The Conservative Party has 172 000 but I even less doubt that the Scottish Tories have 17 000, half at best?
15 thoughts on “SNP membership only more than FOUR times higher than that of Labour Party’s Scottish Branch”
I posted this btl elsewhere recently but it seems appropriate to offer it here given the topic.
Left Foot Forward (LFF) is a ‘news and comment’ website with left leaning journalistic sympathies. On 25 April (2023) it published an article entitled: ‘Why Labour are on track for massive gains in the local elections’. The article was written by Eli Folan who also runs a blog called Stats for Lefties, ‘a polling and elections blog that takes a leftwing perspective on British politics’.
The article included these comments and statistics on UK Labour Party membership and finances (with my emphasis):
‘.. Labour may be popular in polls but it is IN POOR SHAPE ORGANISATIONALLY – and you need to be organised to compete and win in the literally thousands of wards that are contested in local elections (compared to 632 British seats in general elections).
‘Labour’s most recent accounts show that IT HAS A FINANCIAL DEFICIT OF £4.8M, COMPARED TO A SURPLUS AT THE END OF 2019; meanwhile, its PAID-UP MEMBERSHIP HAS DROPPED FROM 480,000 IN 2019 TO 380,000 IN 2023. In local elections volunteers are an essential resource, and Labour is in desperate need of them.’
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I’m not so sure that signed up members of the British parties are so important these days when it comes to campaigning.
They have the massed ranks of the media on their side who will promote whatever narrative they want to get across in Scotland that repeats the independence bad message.
England is different because of the essential need to conform to the Thatcherite model of economic insanity so beloved by the right wing media.
However, in Scotland,the clear lack of active support for the London based parties demonstrates the true nature of the UK Union which is effectively a one nation state (England that is).
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It’s very likely that British Nationalist parties member numbers in Scotland are very low indeed. Brexit will have had a huge effect on peoples’ ideas of Britishness, seeing the reality of it, and the terrible consequences of being dragged out of the EU against their will. Many small businesses in Scotland have and will, go to the wall because of England’s Brexit. Shops are closing, mainly smaller ones, and not being reoccupied, even in affluent Edinburgh, that’s bad for business generally and of course, there is no business tax being added to council coffers, a double whammy.
Starmer is a Brexiter, happy with the disastrous Tory hard Brexit. Labour in Scotland registered in London are not a Scottish party, they do not work for Scotland’s best interests and more and more people see that.
Drip drip reality of Brexit and trashing of the UK economy by the Tories and hardly even opposed by Labour, will be having an effect on what people perceive about being ‘British’ and it’s become a very negative atribute, not one to embrace anymore.
The BritNat state is scared, hence the witch hunt taking place against the SNP.
Great to see FM Humza Yousaf invited to and welcomed with open arms at the German consulate in London yesterday. Scotland is recognised as a viable democratic country abroad and support for independence I am sure reaches beyond our shores. Nicola Sturgoen is to be applauded for her work in talking up (!) Scotland outwith the so called Uk.
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For a bit of a laugh I looked up how to register a company in Scotland and this was the result,what do you think.
Good News, SCOTTISH CONSERTIVE PARTY LTD is available to register!
Good News, SCOTTISH LABOUR PARTY LTD is available to register!
This would really put the wind up them scare the s*** out of them.
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So what is Labour for? This is from Byline Times today, 27 April
Headline: ‘Keir Starmer Now Opposes Scrapping Westminster’s Voting System for PR in Blow for Reformers’
‘… Starmer’s official spokesperson has now revealed that the Labour Leader has a “LONG-STANDING VIEW AGAINST PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION”. When asked to clarify if the Labour leader was against PR he said “yes”.’ (my emphasis)
‘Labour delegates overwhelmingly backed PR at last year’s party conference – after mega-unions Unison and Unite supported the shift. But they do not control the manifesto – a process that is steered by the Labour Leader and his allies on the National Executive Committee.
‘Starmer has repeatedly refused to commit to changing the system, despite noting during his leadership campaign that many people felt their votes didn’t currently count.
‘But his spokesperson’s latest comments appear to be the first time he has suggested active opposition to PR.
‘In the article we learn this: ‘Nearly 23 million votes did not count towards electing people’s MP in 2019, according to Electoral Reform Society analysis, a result that was branded “disenfranchisement on an industrial scale”. Tactical voting and electoral pacts also dominate First Past the Post elections. YouGov polling after the 2019 elections found that one in every three voters (32%) chose to vote tactically, instead of choosing their preferred party or candidate.’
Left Foot Forward also covered the story. It had this on Starmer’s position:
‘The SNP accused Labour of being “indistinguishable from the Tories”. SNP deputy leader in Westminster Mhairi Black said: “On the big issues, from Brexit to denying Scotland’s democracy, and now on reforming the archaic Westminster voting system, Labour are indistinguishable from the Tories. The self-branded party of change offers precisely the opposite – mimicking Tory policy every chance it gets to ensure the status quo of the Westminster establishment is preserved.”
No PR for Westminster simply hastens the day when the Tory Party – the party which a majority in Scotland rejects – will once again govern Scotland from Westminster even if the Red Tories win the next UK General Election on England’s votes.
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Sir Keir Starker.
Sorry Starmer….damned predictive keyboard.
More on the topic of electoral reform:
The House of Lords Library published this briefing paper on 18 April 2023: ‘Parliamentary democracy in the UK’ .
It included this section on electoral reform based on evidence from the British Social Attitudes Survey (with my emphasis):
‘In September 2022, the National Centre for Social Research’s annual British social attitudes survey of 3,000 adults found that the constitution had become an “increased source of political division”. In a section entitled ‘Constitutional reform’, the survey report observed:
‘Conservative and Labour supporters have drawn apart from each other in their attitudes towards how the UK should be governed […] While 74% of Conservative identifiers think that the laws for England should continue to be made by Westminster as now, that view is shared by only 52% of Labour identifiers.
‘In addition to noting increased support in Scotland for Scottish independence and in Northern Ireland for Irish reunification, the survey report added that A MAJORITY OF OPPOSITION PARTY SUPPORTERS NOW FAVOURED CHANGING THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM USED FOR UK PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. It said:
‘Support for introducing proportional representation in elections to the House of Commons is at ITS HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE THE SURVEY BEGAN, primarily as a RESULT OF AN INCREASE IN SUPPORT AMONG LABOUR PARTY IDENTIFIERS.
‘Around half of the public (51%) are now in favour of introducing proportional representation for Westminster elections, up from 27% in 2011 immediately following the alternative vote referendum.
‘For the first time A MAJORITY OF LABOUR SUPPORTERS (61%) ARE IN FAVOUR OF ELECTING MPS USING PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION (PR). At the time of the alternative vote referendum in 2011 only 27% held that view.
‘Now 69% of Liberal Democrat supporters are in favour of a switch to PR, up from 46% in 2011.
‘CONSERVATIVE PARTY SUPPORTERS REMAIN IN FAVOUR OF THE STATUS QUO—only 29% support changing the system.’
We know that the leader of the Labour Party holds the same position on electoral reform as Tory Party supporters and NOT the view of a majority of Labour supporters!
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The leaders of the Scottish Branches of the Tory, Labour and Lib Dem Parties probably don’t know the actual figures and can’t release the numbers of branch members without the permission of their headquarters.
However the Electoral Commission’s accounts show an enormous difference between the declared income from memberships and subscriptions for 2021 in Scotland.
These are : –
Lib Dem £157,894
The Labour figure appears in the published accounts for the Labour Party’s Accounting Unit named the “Scottish Labour Party”.
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Had Labour, Tories and the media not created such a furore over true SNP membership numbers, I doubt many would have shown the slightest interest where other parties stood, they were always going to get their come-uppance.
What I did find interesting was Labour members in Scotland remain ca 4.5% of the UK total, even as Labour membership in England tumbles.
I suspect Labour’s fall in England is related to public disenchantment with established politics, the stance of both principal parties over Brexit and IR2 is the diametric opposite to public opinion.
Bob, when you say, ‘I suspect Labour’s fall in England is related to public disenchantment with established politics…’, I would be more specific. In excess of 100,000 Leftists left when it became clear that as a vehicle to achieve socialism, Labour is a dead duck. Quite an impressive number to kickstart a genuine mass socialist organisation I think.
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There’s an excellent video on this very subject on Youtube’s DDN channel which pulls no punches from an England perspective
I made this point many times, the principles Labour in Scotland once stood for were sold down the Thames years well over 20 years ago.
The only hope for Labour in the medium term is in an Independent Scotland, previous incumbents bar a few need not apply.
I believe that long term Labour is doomed both sides of the border. It has nothing to offer except warmed over unionism in Scotland to an ever shrinking audience.
It’s immediate future in England is Tory Team B. I think the ruling class has made a strategic error in ditching Labour as a useful tool to control the working class and dampen down/undermine any possible radicalism.
The Corbyn years have been an eye opener for many people about the ruthlessness of the rich and powerful, the role of state institutions and the media and the shallowness of the commitment to any real democracy. Our rulers couldn’t even tolerate some mild social democracy, so the gloves are off now. The Labour Party is now unequivocally the enemy of socialists and must be treated accordingly.
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By Labour surviving in Scotland I wasn’t referring to the present party but the political principles in a new party.
Labour has to survive in England to present the illusion of ‘choice’, but even the electorate there are beginning to twig that both ‘teams’ are in reality “owned” by the same people.
Even old Tories are realising their party is not just going through a phase, they’ve been taken over.
UK politics has become the plaything of oligarchs.
You only need to be involved in canvassing for either Yes, or the S.N.P, as I have been for many years, to realise the poverty of the unionist parties people power.
While occasionally you saw a few souls for Labour, I can honestly say I have never seen anyone canvassing for the other parties.