Double the number, half the age: Lib Dem membership patterns

Talking to people around the country in the last few days, there is a common pattern with Liberal Democrat party membership. Around double the number of people have been joining the party as were leaving the party, and the typical age of those joining is (close to) half that of those leaving.

There are probably two factors behind this striking age difference. First, Nick Clegg and the party more generally did particularly well at appealing to younger voters during the election. Second, amongst those leaving perhaps the most common explanation is that, regardless of circumstance or detail of the deal, simply doing a deal with the Conservatives is unthinkable. That is based on memories of Mrs Thatcher – and it is now twenty years since she left office.

The challenge for the party – and it’s far more one for local parties than one for someone from Cowley Street – is to turn that youthful energy and enthusiasm into long-term commitment and activity.

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