The geography of the political party: Lessons from the British Labour Party’s experiment with community organising, 2010 to 2015
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This paper highlights the geographical contributions made to academic debate about democracy, representation and the role of the political party. It argues that while geographers have made important arguments in relation to the structure and operation of representative democracy, there is scope for paying greater attention to the internal spatial dynamics of the political party. A successful political party requires a balance between the national party machine and its local membership base. This paper draws on research to explore the way in which the British Labour Party sought to renew its local membership base by adopting community organising techniques and establishing a new arms-length organisation, Movement for Change (M4C), between 2010 and 2015. It uses this research material to highlight the importance of the internal balance of power within any political party, and the need for a multi-scalar approach to understanding the successful operation of any political party.