Fabian Fact for the Day
Fabian Society national membership is at an all-time high: 6,340.
This is 20% higher than when Labour came to office in May 1997.
It is double what it was when Clement Attlee left office in 1951.
But Labour membership is half what is was in 1997. Obviously most of that decline is caused by political factors. But I think the contrasting Fabian membership increase points to another factor: you actually get something from being a Fabian member - a steady flow of magazines and pamphlets, at least some of which are an interesting read. Whereas party membership gets you invited to do stuff - canvassing or attending meetings; some democratic rights to select candidates and vote in national ballots; but hardly any information or publications compared to almost any other membership-based organisation. You can't imagine a trade union, or the RSPB, or the National Trust, not sending at least a quarterly magazine to members, yet Labour now only publishes a national magazine for members when there is a major ballot being mailed out at the same time. No wonder we have trouble hanging on to members after their first year, when if they didn't become activists they would have received no benefit from their membership other than a feeling of altruism and a set of ward meeting agendas.