£12 million seems to be a special number for the thieving Tory bastards. That was the figure that convinced Thatcher to take the pound note out of circulation in England and Wales. Now it is the sum which David Cameron says the country will save as a result of the proposed boundary changes. In the grand scheme of our political life, these changes do make a certain amount of sense because they answer the West Lothian Question: why should constituencies in Scotland and Wales be smaller than ones in England after the devolution of power to regional assemblies there? Hitherto, they were set have less constituents per MP to give Scotland and Wales a proper voice at Westminster. Here’s the map for our part of the world:
You can read all about the proposals over at the Boundary Commission which is in charge of these matters. Essentially Brighton and Hove divides into two and a bit constituencies instead of the three we had before. The bit of a constituency in Brighton is joined up with the adjacent land which also covers Lewes. That’s probably sealed Norman Baker’s fate (the current MP for Lewes). No fond farewells there methinks.
Traditionally, boundary changes have revolved around two issues, neither of which are so straight forward in coastal areas: whether to donut or sandwich. These terms refer to whether to have one central constituency in a city and several more rural ones around the outside, each of which has a bit of surburb in it, or whether to slice an area in lateral rows so that each slice takes in part of an inner city and some of the countryside. Labour benefited from sandwiches because it could expect to have more of its core voters in more constituencies. The thieving Tory bastards benefitted from donuts because it left Labour with one MP from an inner city, with a whopping majority, and several Conservative MPs around the city with smaller but reasonably stable majorities. The Liberals/Liberal Democrats don’t have a clear demographic base. They have tended to be strong in certain regions.
These issues have meant that political representations made to the Boundary Commission have been dressed up in other garments poorly disguising the naked interests of the parties concerned. They have been what we lawyers call selfish arguments. There’s nothing wrong about that, of course. It’s in the very nature of democracy. A consultation period has now begun and everyone, not just the professional politicians is welcome to join in. I’ll be weighing in myself. Full details of how to participate are at the Boundary Commission.
The Green Party in Brighton & Hove stands to benefit from the proposed changes because it looks likely to hang on to its MP, which it fought so long to get. It may also win a second MP, also from Brighton. I make no secret of my party affiliations but this isn’t propaganda on my part. It’s a simple analysis of geographical voting patterns and the new boundaries. Presumably, Labour will complain about the donut approach. Our local thieving Tory bastards are apparently locked into an internecine conflict. One would expect them to prefer a donut. Sandwiches are hard to maintain with our local geography anyway. The Liberal Democrats are a spent force in Brighton and Hove, with no councillors left. It is hard to see what boundaries they might prefer in their own selfish interest.
Brighton Politics Blogger shamelessly talks the aim behind the changes as being motivated by political considerations. Thus he strongly implies that the Boundary Commission is corrupt. Where’s the evidence for this? Everyone working in the democratic process has a duty to protect it. These kind of slurs add to the disillusionment of politics. If he knows something we don’t, he should tell us. There’s no evidence that the changes have been motivated by political considerations. He makes some good points though about the strange demographic bedfellows that the new arrangements will make, with MPs representing some areas which have very little in common with one another. That has happened elsewhere in the country for decades. The fact is that our current electoral system is the worst form of democracy on the planet and these problems are part of the reason why.
Here’s the details in terms of wards:
Lewes and East Brighton:
- Moulsecoomb & Bevendean
- East Brighton
- Rottingdean Coastal
- (the rest from Lewes district)
- All Lewes town wards
- East Chiltington, Streat, and St John Without.
Brighton Pavilion and Hove:
- Brunswick & Adelaide
- Central Hove
- Hanover & Elm Grove
- Preston Park
- Queen’s Park
- St Peter’s & North Laine
Brighton & Hove North:
- Hangleton & Knoll
- Hollingdean & Stanmer
- Portslade (north and south)
- Hove Park