10 August 2012

Tories Should Be Very Careful When They Talk Of Fair Electoral Boundaries

For a party that in 2010 got 47% of the seats with just 36% of the vote, and stands to gain even more seats from the proposed new boundaries, the Tories should perhaps shut-up about fairness.

The idea that every seat should have identical size electorates sounds a very noble one and expect the Tories and the 90% of the press that supports them to push this line very hard in the next 14 months in the run up to the boundary change vote in parliament.

Equally, expect to hear very little about the uneven registration of voters that means poorer Labour supporting electors are effectively disenfranchised by the drawing of boundaries that ignores them.

Or the new individual voter registration that will make this problem worse.

Also, expect very little to be said about our electoral system where the power to decide where boundaries are drawn can overide the wishes of millions of voters by completely changing the results.

Or anything about the practical difficulties in limiting variation in constituency size to 5%, rather than  the 10% variation we now have for the vast majority of seats.

Or why Tory HQ gets to decide the size of constituency rather than the voters or boundary commissions.

Or why Tory HQ should draw up a law that effectively leads to the boundary commissions ignoring geographical, county and community boundaries in applying these new rules, leading to confusing absurd boundaries with no link to communities.

No, don't expect to hear anything about the sort of unfairness where the Tories currently win 82% of seats in the south of England with just 45% of the vote, and how the new 'fair' boundaries will give them even more.

No, don't expect to hear any of that.

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