Bournemouth Conference – final amendments deadline looming (9 September)

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Just been skimming through the Bournemouth Conference agenda. A few thoughts:

a) I’m thinking of writing an amendment for the Europe policy paper, but I’ll blog about that seperately.

b) No-one has requested a seperate vote on Road User Charging in the transport debate. Not being a conference rep, I don’t have that option. Anyone?

c) Regarding membership fees: the Bones Commission recommends making the “recommended” rate the “minimum” membership fee (but keeping the concessionary rate). I agree. Would anyone support an amendment to this effect? Or, if you think that is too big a step in one go, upping the minimum rate to, say, £20?

UPDATE: I’ve left it a bit late to be organising any amendments. Soz. None of them were crucial.

13 thoughts on “Bournemouth Conference – final amendments deadline looming (9 September)

  1. I think at £10 the minimum is too high. The Party claim on multiple times that the cost per member is about £12, but doesn’t seem to consider the marginal cost per new member.
    And what do we get for our £10? 4 copies of LibDem News, which as I live with my wife who already gets LDN, we end up with 3 copies of the same issue and a series of begging letters.
    At least CAMRA (£25 joint) send us a newspaper and magazine each month and give me free or discounted entry to beer festivals, which feels like I’m getting something.

  2. The economics of party membership is very different from NGO membership. Demand is very inelastic, which means the party can only lose money by keeping the minimum fee at a low rate. We don’t gain members by keeping membership low (although we do increase the scope for entryism), we only reduce our capacity to invest in recruitment. The party should be going for whichever rate maximises revenue – I’m sure CAMRA do the same.

    With that said, I certainly agree that the current practice of limiting fulfillment to a Lib Dem News is pretty shoddy (why do you both subscribe to LDN though?). But again, what do you expect?

  3. Well, I’m going to write in detail about it tomorrow, but in a nutshell it was going to call for the UK to negotiate and ratify future European treaties on the basis of a broad political consensus, rather than ramming them through Parliament as if they were ordinary legislation. We ought to be good Europeans like France, Germany and the Baltic states and at the very least require a supermajority of both Houses before ratification. Not sure anyone could seriously object to that and I would have thought FPC would have no difficulty in accepting it, but I’m always ready to be surprised!

  4. It is based on the fact that membership has plunged by 40000 over a decade, despite the minimum subscription rate rising below inflation throughout the bulk of that period. This is of course in line with other parties (compared to Labour we’ve done relatively well but from a lower starting position). Fundamentally, people don’t treat membership of political parties like they do soap powder. They aren’t looking for the best ‘deal’. Fewer and fewer people WANT to join – lowest on their priorities is how much it costs and most people can afford a fiver a month.

    Frankly I’d be surprised if membership of all types of political organisation aren’t inelastic. A low membership rate hasn’t helped ERS for example. People join these things to make a contribution.

  5. I’m not sure that’s good evidence for inelasticity in itself, given all the other factors affecting Party membership over the last 10 years.

    However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re wrong, either.

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