Why don't Parties give out candy?

It is a question that has often bugged me.

Here we stand in the 21st Century. It's quite nice here. We have lots of food, a television, computer games and a car. This shows one thing - society is working. The problem here is that this means the people that try and make society work - our political parties, our trade unions - are getting less and less members every year. This is not, of course, a major problem for the two major parties. Labour are funded by the Trade Unions, and the Conservatives are funded by men who live in manors and have monacles. The problem lies in the trade unions - who this year will record the lowest number of members per capita in the entire of recorded history of the movement, and the smaller political parties. Of course, I'm going to raise that the Lib Dems are not having trouble at the moment, but if membership rates carry on falling, it is irrelevent how popular your movement is, as you can't afford to run campaigns.

The problem isn't there for really little parties. The Greens, the Respect Party, and there are always enough homophobic rasicts for the BNP to squeeze for some cash. This is because they're single issue parties. The Lib Dems are not. Neither are the Unions.

The problem with lack of members is that it makes politics increasingly irrelevent for the general public. Why should they bother to have lengthy debates with other individuals when they're happy as they are? If they really need anything they can simply take out another loan, or use the internet. The irony of politics is that the more you succeed, the less people need the people that work the system. So we're now in a state that nobody wants to protest in.

But what is the solution? I raise this entire issue because the Liberal Democrats have released their reform ideas to the public. They're pretty clever - making the higher tiers of the party more transparent and democratic, increasing the power of local parties to base their campaigns on Community Politics, and giving out candy to people who would like to join.

Well, not really for the last one. I only read the consice document, and that was 20 pages long. It said you had to refer to the 90 page booklet (I feel sorry for the folk at the Lib Dem conference. They're going to have to drag all that paperwork back home!). I don't deny that when I signed up to the Lib Dems, it was slightly underwhelming to only recieve a membership card and details on how to get involved in local communities. So whatever Clegg's team have drempt up, one would hope that I get something nice at the end of it. :) I heard that the Lib Dem meeting in Sheffield in March has free food. I should really go.

You see my point? Incentives get people involved and get them helping. If it was all purely internet based, I wouldn't really mind - especially if I moved my blog to a new "lib dem blogging service" or something or other. Might get more hits than the 0 I have now!

In other news: TUC want to tax rich people more.

- Huw