New polling also reveals that neither is so far ahead as to be unstoppable, however.
Posts by Tim Bale
Tim Bale is professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London and author of “The Conservatives since 1945: the Drivers of Party Change” (Oxford University Press)Follow @
A national membership system is a good start, but it must be accompanied by pro-active engagement from local associations.
Tim Bale: Why the real Conservative membership figure matters to the whole country – not just the party
Sooner or later, it will hold a leadership contest in which its members will actually get to decide the winner – and perhaps our next Prime Minister.
Tim Bale: A Conservative secret weapon at the last election – the non-members who worked for victory
Even if each of them who did anything at all did far less than paid up members, the sum of their individual efforts was at least as great and probably greater.
Yet even if their concerns don’t ultimately lead to them backing someone else, these shouldn’t simply be dismissed as having no consequences.
After decades of decline, the membership figures of the main political parties are on the rise. But will it make a difference?
The ideal is all the more necessary in a polity in which a plurality of just 30-something percent can win you virtually untrammelled power.
Whoever the next Prime Minister may be, they have an opportunity to unite their party, win a snap election and drive Farage back to the political fringe.
Tim Bale: The Corn Laws analogy is misplaced. There’s no good reason why the Tories should split over Europe.
One would be hard-pressed to think of a single mainstream centre-right party that has melted down even the most fundamental of internal disagreements.
The number of them wanting to leave come-what-may could be as high as 100 but it could also be under 40.
Can the Tory leader pull of an election victory? Only if he stops going through the motions, which seem to have been set by someone else.
Digital technology offers the chance to reform the state, as well as politics.
The party should embrace electoral reform – at least for local elections. Give Conservative voters a slither of hope by introducing, say, the Single Transferable Vote.
The essence of conservatism lies in coming to terms with reality, not trying to opt out of a changing world.
The Tories may win the war on welfare, but if they lose the war on poverty, it could well prove to be a hollow and very short-lived victory.