Political party membership appears to be in terminal decline in the UK - so can anything be done to reverse the trend? And does it matter?
It was once a source of cultural identity and pride for millions of British people.
But at just over 1% of the population - low by European standards - party membership is fast becoming a minority pursuit.
There are more members of the Caravan Club, or the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, than of all Britain's political parties put together.
...a modern, outward-looking organisation
A leaked report shows that the Opposition leader plans to force more than 5,000 Labour councillors to hand over seven per cent of their town hall ‘wages’ to stop party coffers running dry.
And Labour’s frontbench team has called for increases in wages paid to councillors, which would benefit the party by resulting in an increase in the value of the new levy.
In a complex formula to give state aid to parties, which would give a major boost to smaller parties from the Greens to the BNP, the report suggests that funding should be linked to general election votes in order to establish that fringe or new parties have a "base of support in the community".
It recommends that eligible parties should receive 50p each year for every vote cast for them in the most recent general election and 25p for every vote in the most recent ballots for the Scottish parliament, Welsh assembly and European parliament.
In addition, Sir Hayden suggests an internet-based system for parties to attract subscribing "supporters", who would pay £5 which would be matched by the same amount from public funds - up to a cap of £5m.
In return for such public funding - which would replace the small policy grants currently available to parties - political parties would have to produce an annual report showing how the money had been spent.
- A strong, consistent brand and public offer focused on consumer benefits as well as the wider mission of the organisation.
- A well-resourced, professional and dedicated marketing operation – not one using the gimmicks of PR but one founded in fundraising, direct marketing and sales
- Regular and high quality communication with the member, prospective member and supporter – containing offers, incentives and rewards as well as information about the mission and achievements of the organisation