When I was campaigning to be selected as Lib Dem candidate for St Albans, I tried to call personally on all the local party members. It was very instructive. Rather too many I knew already from when I had been previously candidate for St Albans in 1983 and 1987. By definition that meant there were more older members than younger ones - though it is amazing how a little light leaflet delivery keeps people fit and looking much younger than their years.
One of the older members was the widow of a senior Shell manager. They had been based overseas, he moved back to a job at Shell HQ, they came home to the UK and - as she described it - knew they should join a political party because that is what you do in a democracy. Since oil always seems to come from dodgy parts of the world, I expect they had been stationed somewhere which might not have been at the pinnacle of democratic achievement. They knew they were not Conservative, the choice was therefore Liberal versus Labour and they chose the Liberal Party. Had they ever been active? Not particularly. But they knew that just by joining, they were strengthening the democratic process.
Those days are long gone. All political parties have experienced big declines in the numbers willing to sign on the dotted line and become members. That's why I am so pleased at the sudden influx of new members into the St Albans Liberal Democrats. I joined up a new member today, as I did yesterday and the day before, and several more in the preceding couple of weeks. Almost all of them have been young - ie in their twenties. We must be saying and doing something right. For those reading this who are not yet members of St Albans Liberal Democrats and would like to join or learn more about what it might involve apart from the modest annual subscription (as much or as little as you want to do), do contact me via this website or you can easily join online. With the General Election campaign as a certainty, 2010 will not be dull politically - and as well as campaigning, we will continue to offer a range of entertaining social events and stimulating political discussions to suit all tastes. So come on in!