Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Mighty Resurgence

The Scottish Conservatives have been in the doldrum ever since Margaret Thatcher decided to grant us Scots the privilige of being allowed to be the first to try out the wonderful new Poll Tax. That was in 1989 and the party has shown no signs of recovering in the intervening years.

Until now. Diamond Dave's midas touch has apparently been working its magic in universities north of the border.
Scottish Conservatives have claimed the party has more student members than any other political party in the country.
Impressive. And there's more.
The secretary of Glasgow University Conservative Association said students had lined up to join during a freshers' fair at the start of term.
Why it's a veritable lazarus moment for the party. Let's look at those figures:
The party said it had about 400 paid-up members across seven of the main Scottish universities.
400? Four hundred? Seriously? Four hundred university students from the top seven Scottish universities are paid-up members of the Scottish Conservative Party? One, two three, four hundred? Huzzah!

If your looking for some perspective on that, Glasgow University currently has around 16,000 undergraduate students and 4,000 postgraduates. Someone should try to work out what percentage of university students in Scotland belong to the Conservative Party. I can't be bothered so I'll make a very rough estimate. It's certainly less than 1% and it's probably less than 0.5%. It's not a lot.

This isn't a party political point though. The Conservatives claim to have more student members than the other parties and this is quite plausible. It appears that the other parties are recruiting an even smaller percentage of university students.

Scottish university students have overwhelmingly disengaged from the current party political system. This should trouble anyone with an interest in maintaining a healthy democracy.

I don't think it's likely that these students are overwhelmingly disengaged from political issues though. It's the party system and the way politics is practised which discourages their participation in "traditional" politics. If the parties cannot address this problem, democracy in the UK is going to whither away like a neglected house plant.

A fair voting system for Westminster would probably help a bit. Let's face it, it can't get much worse.

Tags: , ,

No comments: