A silver lining from last week’s loss has been the explosion in party membership across all of the main independence supporting parties – the SNP, the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party.
All three have seen their numbers go through the roof, which is excellent news on several levels.
Firstly, it demonstrates to the wider public and the media that this is very much a movement, not just a one-time thing, and that while it is predominantly – although not exclusively – a left of centre movement, it has a broad base of support.
Secondly, it’s simply great to see so many new people deciding to become actively involved in politics. As a proportion of the total electorate, party numbers may still appear relatively small, but for these three parties at least, they’ve just leapt massively.
The SNP have just today announced that their membership has now passed 50,000 – that’s 6,000 more than the Liberal Democrats have UK-wide. That’s astonishing (that’s how you use that word, Johann).
For the sake of perspective, the Tories have 134,000 members across the UK, Labour have 190,000, the Lib Dem’s have 44,000 and UKIP have 35,000. If you were to scale the SNP membership up to a UK-sized population, they’d now have over 600,000 members – 200,000 more members than ALL of those parties combined.
The Scottish Greens too have had a stonker of a weekend with their membership numbers. As of yesterday, they had grown to over 5,000 members – 3,000 more than they had on Thursday. Again, for a UK comparison, that would equal over 60,000 members.
The good news for the Greens doesn’t stop there though. Recent opinion polls put them at 10% of the regional vote for the next Scottish Parliament election – that could see them become the third largest party at Holyrood, overtaking the Tories. Again, astonishing.
I can’t find numbers for SSP membership at the moment, but if anyone can provide me with these, please do.
Meanwhile, Scottish Labour have said “We don’t give out exact details on our membership figures…”. They did however add that their membership figures had gone up “by hundreds”. Chalk and cheese.
There is another reason that this surge in membership is great news though, and that is that these new members can now be part of their chosen party’s internal democracy, helping to shape party policy over the coming years. If these people get properly involved, attend meetings and annual conferences, exchange ideas, discuss and debate… they’ll be not only helping is get another shot at independence, but influencing policy and therefore society in the meantime too. That’s a massive plus.
If you haven’t done so already, please get yourself involved in the politics of the party you support. Become a member, make a difference.
If you support no particular party but support independence, keep campaigning with us and fight for those principles you hold dear.
The Yes campaign has brought about change, even if it’s not the main one we were hoping for… yet. We must use this opportunity to continue to build, connect and involve.
Become a member:
Scottish Green Party
Scottish Socialist Party