This may be a drag for my readers who are not terribly interested in Labour Party matters, but my previous blog has led me to do a little digging round on t’internet to see why a relatively small number of Labour Party members become lapsed members. The Guardian can’t quite seem to make its mind up – is it because of Corbyn’s rampant anti-semitism (sic), is it because of his lack of 110% Europhilia, or is it because the Guardian wants to get Chukka (those boots are made for walking) Umunna to set up a new centrist party with his Tory pals?
First I wanted to know – if it is correct that 12,000 members left in the last couple of months, as asserted without verifiable evidence in the Guardian – how many of them, errr, simply died? That question wasn’t asked in the article (did they die because they didn’t agree with Comrade Corbyn?) but I reckon the attrition rate through death could have been between 1,000 and 2,000. It would be the lower end of that spectrum if the average age of party members was the same as that of the UK as a whole, and it would be higher if the average age of members was higher. The UK average age is around 40 years, the Labour Party’s average age is in the 50s. Some of the evidence for this can be found here:
Then there is the question of how many members have departed our shores. Maybe some are E.U. migrants returning home. Obviously, that could only be because they hate Jeremy Corbyn – what other possible explanation could there be? But there’s no way of knowing how many members lapsed because they moved away, so better not ask the question – or even imagine it possible.
Of course, we know we shouldn’t believe all that we read in the newspapers, but it would be nice to think you could believe some of it. As it happens, the Independent article linked above suggested that Conservative Party membership is around 70,000. The Guardian article I’m moaning about suggested it was 124,000. Who is right?
I sometimes wonder whether some journalists, and of course I am more familiar with those who write for the Guardian, ever wonder whether they could be fact checked. Do they not realise that we can cross-check stuff using this thing called the internet? I have to confess it is difficult sometimes to fact check articles which are based on unattributable sources - in other words, anonymous people with agendas.