Within the Party’s ongoing focus on how to grow its membership further, there’s long been a particular question about how best to attract more younger members.
The agedness of the Party’s membership is often exaggerated (according to what limited research is available, the average isn’t much higher than that for Labour members), but it would be unwise not to have a default position of believing that increasing recruitment is generally good, among the young as well as other age groups.
The Corbynite surge among younger voters has been huge, but there are still a lot more Tory-voting younger people out there than Conservative Party members from the same age group.
We’ve urged many times on this site for measures to make membership more accessible, and more rewarding. It’s good news, therefore, that the Youth Membership category – a discounted rate of £5, compared to the usual £25 – has been expanded up to the age of 25.
That in itself is a positive step. I understand that it was a change put in train while James Cleverly and Ben Elliot were Party Co-Chairmen.
But many of the big questions ConservativeHome has raised in the past still stand: what do members get for their membership subs and their campaigning efforts, beyond the opportunity to buy £25 tea-towels? Where are the next 200,000 members of the Party to be found? What is being done to train the existing membership up, and equip them with all the necessary kit, data and experience to fight the next election? When will there be greater accountability for the Board, and more open debate at Party Conference?
Over to Amanda Milling, the new Chairman…