Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Those Political Boundary Lines

The latest threat to jeopardise the proposed constituency boundary changes – reducing the number of MPs from 650 to 600 – by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, throws the problem for this area once again into sharp focus.

The proposed new boundary changes would see Houghton Regis and Dunstable being separated into two different constituencies. Dunstable would no longer be a part of South West Bedfordshire. Caddington, Chaul End, Kensworth and East Hyde would become part of a redrawn Hemel Hempstead constituency. Nadine Dorries present seat would be abolished.

But the South West Beds constituency has exactly the right number of constituents at the moment. So, why does it need to change?

It's already fairly confusing for local people as the current area newspapers regularly report the activites of five Members of Parliament. The re-jig would reduce that count to four. But will people, especially those in Dunstable, remember the changes if they do go through, and remember to contact the correct MP? Implementing the proposals would be a recipe for chaos at a time the country needs stability.

Political parties organised by Constituency boundaries face the upheaval of changing their structures and bank accounts to cope with the changes. Spending time on that instead of the real issues of the day is a detraction that we can certainly do without.

There is an overwhelming sense of being mere mortals in the face of these god-like proposals from the Boundary Commission for England.

Dunstable Town Council organised a petition protesting at Dunstable being shifted to a new constituency comprising eight Luton wards and the four Dunstable wards. The petition was supported by local Tory MP, Andrew Selous. The new threat from Nick Clegg may be a blessing for those protestors. Perhaps Andrew will support Mr Clegg?

The new boundaries are designed to even out the number of MPs in each seat, but given that population growth is likely to be strongest from current centres of population, it won't be long before they'll have to look at these boundaries again.

A new poll by Lib Dem Voice, which represents grassroot activists, found that 48 per cent would prefer to be in alliance with the Labour party in 2015 compared to just 19 per cent who want to carry on with the Tories.

Meanwhile, the reform of the House of Lords has effectively been dumped by the Tories. Perhaps now is not the time to be looking at this with the Eurozone in meltdown, but let's not forget that it does need addressing in the future. Inherited priviledges to attend a major place in the UK to decide the laws on how we live our lives is just not democracy.

There’s zero chance of Clegg cutting any boundary deal with Tories over party funding

Estimates by Boundary Commission for England.for the new boundaries:
18 Hemel Hempstead CC 76,457
26 Luton North and Dunstable BC 78,957
27 Luton South BC 75,106
43 South West Bedfordshire CC 77,807
44 South West Hertfordshire CC 79,167
46 St Albans CC 78,920

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