Here is a graph showing Party member numbers over time:
|Source: House of Commons Library (pdf) - via Wikipedia|
Last year, only a third of those attending the Party Conference were members. It's getting like football: the fans no longer matter - they only supply images and sound effects for the edited, televised version. The real money is in sponsorship and deals.
Was the hall packed for Cameron's speech? Easily done: Birmingham Symphony Hall's seating capacity is 2,262 at most (less for rock and pop). For comparison, let's look at previous Party Conference venues. The Winter Gardens at Blackpool accommodates 3,500; Bournemouth International Centre's Windsor Hall seats 4,045; Brighton's Auditorium 1 takes 4,500.
I read where one of Elvis' concerts didn't sell out, so the organiser ripped out the front row of seats and replaced them with a bank of flowers; the Colonel was most pleased with this ingenious device. How far back would the bank of flowers have reached in Birmingham?
The seating capacity at Manchester Central Hall seems hard to discover, as does the number of Labour members attending this year's conference, but Labour boasts a mere 10,000 attendees (less than the 14,000 expected by the Tories at the ICC), so how many card-carrying members actually crowded in to hear Miliband himself I can't say.
It's not just the Liberals that are having their "Kodak moment".
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