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Land of disillusion: Another former Conservative burns his membership card. [Picture: Daily Mail!]

Land of disillusion: Another former Conservative burns his membership card. [Picture: Daily Mail!]

The Conservative Party has released details of its membership, after it was claimed that people were leaving the party in droves.

It had been suggested that membership had dropped below 100,000 and, while the figure quoted is in fact 134,000, it is still pathetically low for a party that claims to speak for a nation of 60 million.

Worse than that, it seems membership has halved under the leadership of David Cameron; in 2005, 253,600 members voted in the leadership contest between him and David Davis.

The party itself claims 174,000 members – but this includes ‘friends, non-member donors and others’ in the numbers. In other words, people who are not members of the Conservative Party – and that figure is another dumb Tory lie.

Let’s hope this puts to rest once and for all any argument against Vox Political‘s long-held position that the Conservative Party is an ever-more rightward-leaning minority interest organisation, upholding the interests of the very wealthy and working to undermine anybody from other sections of society.

Unless you are very wealthy, they cannot represent you. They do not even understand you or your concerns. They just want you to think they do.

This revelation further demonstrates the failure of the neo-liberal philosophy that has been spouted by conservatives (in all the major political parties) ever since Margaret Thatcher held up a copy of Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty and said “This is what we believe now”.

Neo-liberalism has divested the Conservative Party of its popular membership. How could it have done otherwise? Its other achievements were to change this country from one that was being held to ransom by the trade unions into one that was held to ransom by the bankers and financiers, and later the collapse of the British economy.

Strangely enough, at the time of Thatcher, neo-liberalism’s only foothold was in Chile – where the economy also crashed.

Neo-liberalism is over. As Michael Meacher put it in a recent blog article “That world is now broken beyond repair. Yet that hasn’t stopped the political and economic establishments of all parties from striving mightily to restore it. But that is not only impossible, it’s also irrational.

“The world economy was growing at about 3% a year per capita in the ‘bad old days’ of widespread regulation and ‘punitive’ taxation for the rich in the 1960-70s, but in the last 30 years when unfettered markets dominated it has grown at only half that rate. In Britain the average annual per capita income growth in the 1960-70s was 2.4% when the country was allegedly suffering from the ‘British disease’, but since 1990 after Thatcher had supposedly cured the country of the disease and fought heroic struggles in the 1980s, income growth even before the crash has fallen to just 1.7% a year. The decade and a half of uninterrupted growth, low and stable inflation, and falling unemployment after 1992 was not, we now know, a sign of the magic of neoliberal doctrines, but rather of their deeply flawed dependence on consumption-driven boom and bust. On every other key criterion too – competitiveness, inequalities of wealth, economic imbalances, and social and environmental standards – Britain fared much worse in the 30 years following the Thatcherite counter-insurgency after 1980 than in the 30 years of managed capitalism that preceded it.”

Now, you won’t see any of the mainstream media agreeing with this viewpoint – they’ll adhere to the outdated 1980s Gordon Gecko “Greed is good” mentality just as long as they can – but the longer any of us holds onto this mentality, the worse it will be for us all.

Let’s bear that in mind while the news is full of the major party conferences.