Battle over Labour's Bolshevik party structure
Party membership is surely not the real measure of Labour's success. What matters most is the ability to sustain continuity in government and to deliver policies that change society for the better.
Against this measure, Labour has succeeded: cool Britannia has consigned traditional Conservatism to irrelevance. And as these old ideological differences no longer figure in mainstream politics, it is not surprising that fewer individuals wish to join the party (particularly when - amazingly - Labour still operates a 100-year-old membership structure modelled on the Bolshevik delegate and politburo system).
When Mr Cruddas advocates "we get back to local pavement politics" he is looking back to the time of soap-box sectarian politics. But the recruiting days are over: our society is mature enough - and technologically advanced enough - not to need mass membership parties. Successful political parties need objective supporters who are truly representative of our society as a whole. Having permanent members is only a bonus.