24 May 2011

Boundary Changes Are Like A Rubik's Cube

Brighton Politics Blogger is having a debate about what will happen to Brighton and Hove's parliamentary boundaries in 2013.

It is really impossible to know because the changes nationally will have knock on effects on every boundary. By my calculations, at least one in six voters will have a change of MP by an administrators pen. Rather more change than any general election has ever managed.

Despite the no doubt best efforts of the boundary commission to minimise change, every small boundary shift has an even bigger knock on effect on the next constituency and so on, so Brighton and Hove could be radically redrawn despite Brighton Pavilion being within the margins of 73,000 to 80,000 electors that the new rules permit and Hove being only a few hundred outside, well they would be that close before the new individual voter registration starts which will disenfranchise millions of transient voters in poor urban areas. If you move house often as students and other renters do then expect to find yourselves removed from the electoral register and unable to vote.

This government has proposed some quite radical changes to our constitution. Only one - the proposed change to AV have we been consulted on.

The change to AV and electing the Lords by PR would both be a move towards more democracy. Sadly neither are going to happen. It was never going to be easy to persuade people that changing from the worst electoral system to the second worst was a worthwhile change. An inept Yes campaign made a NO vote a certainty and the Tories and Labour lords are determined to stop a democratic upper house.

Individual voter registration, fixing parliament terms at 5 years rather than 4, enlarging boundaries, scrapping administrative and geographic considerations and more frequent reviews are all anti-democratic moves. All of these are now likely to happen.

Shame we didn't get a referendum on any of these changes.

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