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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 06:42 AM
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It's always seemed reasonable to me that electorate sizes should be as consistent as possible, in order that each person's vote should carry a similar weight wherever they are in the country.

Controversy always arises though, since equalising electorate sizes invariably results in a net gain for the Tories (*) (leading to spurious claims of gerrymandering), and some senior politicians seeing their seats abolished from under them, or at least radically changed.

(*) Labour seats tend to shrink over time, necessitating additional voters be added, which tends to have a knock-on effect on other nearby Labour seats. e.g. 5 undersized seats of 60k each could become 4 of 75k. The only other alternative would be tacking on areas from the suburbs to make up the numbers, but they tend to be Tory-leaning, so again similar accusations of partisanship arise.

Demographic changes mean this is an issue that cannot be swept under the carpet forever, though.
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 08:24 AM
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Leaving aside arguments over the electoral system, the general principle of equalising constituency sizes (with some exceptions on Scotland) does have its merits. However, the way it is being enacted is terrible.

First, the decision to base it on the registered electorate is flawed. We know from the referendum and the election that many people only register when a vote is imminent. Until that issue is tackled the boundaries will be fixed on very unreliable data. Besides, people under 18 are still constituents even though they cannot vote yet.

Second, the 5% variation allowed is too low. A combination of that and the insistence on boundary changes every parliament means that boundaries will change too often. That gives the incumbent MP an advantage.

I have looked at the new proposals for Brighton & Hove. My constituency of Kemptown will extend to Newhaven and beyond. The Brighton Pavilion constituency doesn't include any coastline at all and most of Brighton City centre is in Hove. This is partly due to the misguided decision to cut the number of MPs and the fact that natural boundaries and communities have been made less important.

The boundary commission is, of course, meant to be be politically neutral. However, it is not hard to be a little cynical when the only seat with a Green Mp (Brighton Pavilion) has its boundaries completely redrawn in a way which will seriously damage hr chances of re-election.
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 08:25 AM
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QUOTE(vidcapper @ Oct 17 2017, 07:42 AM) *
It's always seemed reasonable to me that electorate sizes should be as consistent as possible, in order that each person's vote should carry a similar weight wherever they are in the country.

As you well know, that will only be true under a different electoral system.
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 08:50 AM
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Here are the proposals for England, Scotland and Wales. The proposals for Northern Ireland have not been published yet.
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 09:26 AM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2017, 09:25 AM) *
As you well know, that will only be true under a different electoral system.


I thought you were leaving aside arguments about the electoral system. tongue.gif
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 09:27 AM
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Those fine people at Electoral Calculus have calculated what the last election result would have been under the proposed boundaries. The Tories would have been just three seats short of a majority.

The big losers would have the Lib Dems (down from twelve seats to seven) and Plaid Cymru (from four seats to just one). Our parliament is already dominated by two parties to a greater extent than any other European country. Making that distortion even worse cannot be a good thing for democracy.
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 09:31 AM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2017, 09:24 AM) *
Leaving aside arguments over the electoral system, the general principle of equalising constituency sizes (with some exceptions on Scotland) does have its merits. However, the way it is being enacted is terrible.

First, the decision to base it on the registered electorate is flawed. We know from the referendum and the election that many people only register when a vote is imminent. Until that issue is tackled the boundaries will be fixed on very unreliable data. Besides, people under 18 are still constituents even though they cannot vote yet.


But if people fail to register, the boundary commission can't be held responsible for that. Automatic registration seems the only answer.

QUOTE
Second, the 5% variation allowed is too low. A combination of that and the insistence on boundary changes every parliament means that boundaries will change too often. That gives the incumbent MP an advantage.


I agree that 'every parliament' is too often. Also, I don't think there should be 'special cases', such as the Isle of Wight. It should be split into two, and have bits of the mainland added to make up the numbers.


This post has been edited by vidcapper: Oct 17 2017, 09:32 AM
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 09:41 AM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2017, 10:27 AM) *
Those fine people at Electoral Calculus have calculated what the last election result would have been under the proposed boundaries. The Tories would have been just three seats short of a majority.

The big losers would have the Lib Dems (down from twelve seats to seven) and Plaid Cymru (from four seats to just one). Our parliament is already dominated by two parties to a greater extent than any other European country. Making that distortion even worse cannot be a good thing for democracy.


But this is the root of the problem - it's impossible to equalize electorates without there being winners & losers - and the longer the problem is ignored, the worse it gets. sad.gif
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 09:46 AM
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Are you seriously suggesting that Orkney and Shetland should not be a special case?

On the issue of people not registering, it is not as simple as that. As I said, it is also a question of whether the constituencies should be decided on the overall population or the size of the electorate. You will also note that I said the whole issue of registration needs to be addressed. The general assumption is that it is predominantly Labour-leaning voters who are late in registering. Therefore, the Tories are deliberately changing to a system that favours their own side. Any attempt by a Labour government to do something similar would be described as gerrymandering.
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 09:49 AM
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QUOTE(vidcapper @ Oct 17 2017, 10:41 AM) *
But this is the root of the problem - it's impossible to equalize electorates without there being winners & losers - and the longer the problem is ignored, the worse it gets. sad.gif

The further move towards a distorted House of Commons is more to do with the reduction in the number of seats. Thankfully, it looks as if that might not happen. Of course, that would make these proposals the third set in five years that were not implemented.
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 10:46 AM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2017, 10:46 AM) *
Are you seriously suggesting that Orkney and Shetland should not be a special case?

On the issue of people not registering, it is not as simple as that. As I said, it is also a question of whether the constituencies should be decided on the overall population or the size of the electorate. You will also note that I said the whole issue of registration needs to be addressed. The general assumption is that it is predominantly Labour-leaning voters who are late in registering. Therefore, the Tories are deliberately changing to a system that favours their own side. Any attempt by a Labour government to do something similar would be described as gerrymandering.


The problem is with special cases is that everyone will claim they are a 'special case'. wink.gif

It is young voters who are failing to register, who just *tend* to be more left-wing - but it's not like the Tories are discouraging them from registering.

QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2017, 10:49 AM) *
The further move towards a distorted House of Commons is more to do with the reduction in the number of seats. Thankfully, it looks as if that might not happen. Of course, that would make these proposals the third set in five years that were not implemented.


And with a coalition, even the next set may fail...
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 11:07 AM
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The case for constituencies such as Orkney and Shetland being treated differently is overwhelming.

While the Tories have done nothing actively to discourage younger voters from registering they have also done precisely nothing to encourage them to do so. Many young voters dropped off the register when individual registration was introduced and the government has made no effort to change that.
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 11:31 AM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2017, 12:07 PM) *
The case for constituencies such as Orkney and Shetland being treated differently is overwhelming.

While the Tories have done nothing actively to discourage younger voters from registering they have also done precisely nothing to encourage them to do so. Many young voters dropped off the register when individual registration was introduced and the government has made no effort to change that.


But how do you encourage them to register, without it looking like you are 'bribing' them?
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Buttered Muffin
post Oct 17 2017, 11:49 AM
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Let me guess - Vidcapper absolutely LUUURVS the new Tory changes even though the benefit the Tories, but don't forgt he HATES Tories and doesn't follow the right wing paper propaganda?
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2017, 12:34 PM
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QUOTE(vidcapper @ Oct 17 2017, 12:31 PM) *
But how do you encourage them to register, without it looking like you are 'bribing' them?

The government did very little even to make sure people knew that they needed to register. They could have got schools involved but they didn't. They could have made sure that there were forms available in student halls but they didn't. They could have arranged for stalls at freshers' fairs but they didn't. They could have done a whole host of other things but they did nothing.
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 17 2017, 12:41 PM
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I'm going to be optimistic, that any boundary changes won't matter because it's becoming blatantly obvious the UK is going down the toilet economically and socially, which will mean the Tories will get annihilated at the next election. One can already see their knee-jerk response to trying to bring it rather-too-late policies (that weren't part of their campaign) to woo the younger voters who already hate them.....
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 01:42 PM
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QUOTE(Poked Pumpkin🎃 @ Oct 17 2017, 12:49 PM) *
Let me guess - Vidcapper absolutely LUUURVS the new Tory changes even though the benefit the Tories, but don't forgt he HATES Tories and doesn't follow the right wing paper propaganda?


The only part of that you got right, is that I hate the Tories. Boundary changes do help the Tories, but by default, rather than intent, as the Boundary Commission is politically neutral by design.

QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2017, 01:34 PM) *
The government did very little even to make sure people knew that they needed to register. They could have got schools involved but they didn't. They could have made sure that there were forms available in student halls but they didn't. They could have arranged for stalls at freshers' fairs but they didn't. They could have done a whole host of other things but they did nothing.


You say that like it's a surprise - if signing up young voters would help the Tories, then Labour would be just as lackadaisical.


QUOTE(Chop-part-freak @ Oct 17 2017, 01:41 PM) *
I'm going to be optimistic, that any boundary changes won't matter because it's becoming blatantly obvious the UK is going down the toilet economically and socially, which will mean the Tories will get annihilated at the next election. One can already see their knee-jerk response to trying to bring it rather-too-late policies (that weren't part of their campaign) to woo the younger voters who already hate them.....


Nothing so dramatic, I suspect - the Tories will just remind their own supporters how hard Corbyn will hit them in the pocket.


This post has been edited by vidcapper: Oct 17 2017, 01:45 PM
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 01:51 PM
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This is an oldish article, but it is from your beloved Guardian, so I thought you might give it the benefit of the doubt...

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/realit...ourndary-reform
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Soy Adrián
post Oct 17 2017, 03:15 PM
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Can we please not derail the discussion by slinging personal insults - you know who you are, and there was actually quite an interesting discussion going on before you showed up.
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vidcapper
post Oct 17 2017, 04:27 PM
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QUOTE(Soy Adrián @ Oct 17 2017, 04:15 PM) *
Can we please not derail the discussion by slinging personal insults - you know who you are, and there was actually quite an interesting discussion going on before you showed up.


At least I'm off the hook this time.
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