Political legitimacy and party membership

There's a good suggestion made on the Power 2010 campaign. It argues that:

No political Party should be registered with the Electoral Commission unless it has a democratic constitution which can be changed by a majority of its members on the basis of one member one vote.

This suggests an interesting idea - that part of the blame for the undemocratic nature of parliament and people's feelings of a lack of accountability stems from the fact that the membership of these parties themselves is undemocratic, concentrating power with the few, rather than the many.

Last year, parliament published an investigation into the declining political party membership and suggested that it was more due to an internal lack of interest in membership from the party leadership than external factors. Perhaps this instrumentalist approach ("we can get things done more easily without these democratic structures in the way") to internal politics and governance is in part to blame for the malaise around Politics and government?

What role does membership in its civil society sense - of charities as well as political parties - have to play in building a strong civic society?

Further reading

If you're interested, I've written before on political party membership reform, here. If you agree with the proposal on Power2010 that 'Parties must be internally democratic', you can vote for it here.

Last updated at 11:14 Fri 19/Feb/10.
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