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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > October 2016 > Death by enthusiasm

Death by enthusiasm

Labour’s swelling ranks entrench divisions with a public that doesn’t much care

The one achievement that even Jeremy Corbyn’s enemies struggle to dismiss is his success in building the membership of the Labour Party. They may not like the results, but it is hard to deny that he has revitalised the party as a mass movement: the total membership is now more than half a million, nearly three times what it was after the 2015 general election. Corbyn flags up this fact as his primary political accomplishment: he took a moribund organisation and has injected it with genuine popular enthusiasm. The party, he says, is stronger than it has ever been and swathes of people who had given up on political participation have found a new reason to join in. Enthusiasm and popular participation are invariably seen as good for democracy. So how can it be so bad?

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s October issue: Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz tells our new Editor Tom Clark why globalisation has made him more radical. Rachel Holmes asks whether more women leaders really help women. Five hundred years on, what does Thomas More’s “Utopia” tells us about political idealism. And Tristram Hunt on why Labour needs another Clement Attlee. Also in this issue: David Runciman on why more members isn’t always a good thing for a political party. Will Self on why we’re all turning into robots. Your handy graphic guide to Brexit. Plus: David Willetts on what Theresa May’s industrial strategy should look like. And Kenneth S Rogoff argues we should abolish cash.