Leaving aside the issue of defence, what was striking about the vote on the amendment to today’s defence motion at the Liberal Democrat conference was the numbers.
228 voted for the amendment and 322 voted against, a total of 550 voting representatives. Given the importance of this vote, it is a fair bet that most voting reps present in Glasgow took part. This suggests that it is unlikely the total number of voting reps present in Glasgow exceeds 600.
Yes, holding the conference in Glasgow when most party members live in southern England deters attendance. Yes, many members attending are observers rather than voting reps. Even allowing for these factors, the low total is a sign of serious problems with membership numbers.
Party membership fell from about 65,000 at the time of the 2010 general election to only about 42,500 by the end of 2012. How much worse are things now?