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| | |-+  Let the great boundary rejig commence
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Author Topic: Let the great boundary rejig commence  (Read 65973 times)
Sibboleth
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« Reply #900 on: August 07, 2012, 06:09:11 am »
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Yes, technically this is just another review (even if it isn't) and won't just stop because those behind it just rolled two ones.
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« Reply #901 on: August 07, 2012, 11:37:07 am »
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What would be necessary, and indeed sort of logical, but is not going to happen because that is not the way laws work, is for the Commissions to be given new, nonpartisan procedures which to use in order to start from scratch with.
Since the Commissions will be forced to bumble on incompetently, I fully expect Clegg to climb down and meekly enact the gerrymander in the end. Tongue
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« Reply #902 on: August 07, 2012, 12:06:05 pm »
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House of Lords reform can wait. The boundary changes can't. Clegg's stance is disappointing.

Um, why?

Having the Lib Dems, with their general belief in constitutional reform, in government ought to have been an opportunity to get somewhere with reforming the House of Lords.  That's now been lost, and I wouldn't have much confidence in another opportunity appearing.

On the other hand, the current boundaries, while they're a bit out of date and maintain the over-representation of Wales, aren't as bad as some Tories like to make out they are, and at least they don't contain horrors like the Commission's proposed Mersey Banks or Leeds NW & Nidderdale (etc. etc.; personally my view is that, unless the consultation produces a substantial improvement, the proposals should be voted down on their own merits).  I presume a review of some sort will be implemented within the next few years anyway.
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« Reply #903 on: August 07, 2012, 12:24:06 pm »
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On the other hand, the current boundaries, while they're a bit out of date and maintain the over-representation of Wales, aren't as bad as some Tories like to make out they are

Good video by Michael Thrasher demonstrating that.

Well said in general, don't disagree with a word of that.
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Gary J
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« Reply #904 on: August 07, 2012, 01:12:38 pm »
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Under the present law there is to be a boundary review every five years, using the rules laid down by Parliament before the current review. The fixed term Parliaments law provides for a normal five year term. Therefore if the changes, currently being drawn up, are not adopted in the current Parliament they are unlikely ever to be implemented (even if the Conservatives have a majority in the next Parliament).

The whole boundary change exercise will have to be done anew in the next Parliament. A Labour majority, will presumably want to legislate to change the criteria the boundary commissions have to work to. A Tory majority would want to use the existing legislation.
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doktorb
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« Reply #905 on: August 08, 2012, 12:28:55 am »
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What would be necessary, and indeed sort of logical, but is not going to happen because that is not the way laws work, is for the Commissions to be given new, nonpartisan procedures which to use in order to start from scratch with.
Since the Commissions will be forced to bumble on incompetently, I fully expect Clegg to climb down and meekly enact the gerrymander in the end. Tongue

The proposals are not gerrymandering.
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« Reply #906 on: August 08, 2012, 02:27:04 am »
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What would be necessary, and indeed sort of logical, but is not going to happen because that is not the way laws work, is for the Commissions to be given new, nonpartisan procedures which to use in order to start from scratch with.
Since the Commissions will be forced to bumble on incompetently, I fully expect Clegg to climb down and meekly enact the gerrymander in the end. Tongue

The proposals are not gerrymandering.

Then, I suppose you can write a defense of Mersey Banks.
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« Reply #907 on: August 08, 2012, 04:13:05 am »
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What would be necessary, and indeed sort of logical, but is not going to happen because that is not the way laws work, is for the Commissions to be given new, nonpartisan procedures which to use in order to start from scratch with.
Since the Commissions will be forced to bumble on incompetently, I fully expect Clegg to climb down and meekly enact the gerrymander in the end. Tongue

The proposals are not gerrymandering.

Then, I suppose you can write a defense of Mersey Banks.

The fact that Mersey Banks is indefensible doesn't contradict dok's point.
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Sibboleth
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« Reply #908 on: August 08, 2012, 06:30:12 am »
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The legislation itself was politically motivated and so can be fairly accused of being an attempt at gerrymandering, even if the work of the map doodlers themselves was not; that would be more an incompetence thing.
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« Reply #909 on: August 08, 2012, 07:09:41 am »
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Really, governments should have no say in this kind of thing.
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« Reply #910 on: August 08, 2012, 09:26:08 am »
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What would be necessary, and indeed sort of logical, but is not going to happen because that is not the way laws work, is for the Commissions to be given new, nonpartisan procedures which to use in order to start from scratch with.
Since the Commissions will be forced to bumble on incompetently, I fully expect Clegg to climb down and meekly enact the gerrymander in the end. Tongue

The proposals are not gerrymandering.

Then, I suppose you can write a defense of Mersey Banks.

As a Wirralian, the effect Mersey Banks has on the rest on the peninsula as well is horrendous.
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« Reply #911 on: August 08, 2012, 11:48:25 am »
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Altering the boundary drawing rules, to make constituencies more equal in size of electorate, is not in itself a gerrymander (as the term is normally understood).

The reason why Labour MPs call it a gerrymander, is because it will cancel out part of the systematic bias in favour of Labour which has existed in recent decades (as Labour seats, on average had smaller electorates than Tory ones). The rest of the bias (because Labour voters are more advantageously clustered in particular geographical areas) will remain, as the Conservatives are not prepared to abandon single member constituencies and first past the post voting.

On this issue politicians speak in terms of principle, but what they are really doing is making marginal adjustments for the advantage of their own side. The detailed rules have been changed several times since the Second World War. Labour has preferred longer periods between reviews, the Conservatives shorter, because the general movement of population has been for people to move out of Labour inclined urban areas and into more Conservative suburban and rural districts.

As to political involvement in boundary changes, you have to consider the history. Before the 1950s boundary changes were infrequent and made by primary legislation, which could be and sometimes was amended by Parliament. Changes were implemented in this way before the elections of 1832, 1868, 1885, 1918, 1945 (to split some seats with more than 100,000 electors as an interim measure) and 1950.

The reviews since 1950 have been implemented by statutory instrument, not subject to amendment by Parliament. All have been approved apart from one instance, when the Labour government invited its Commons majority to reject the Orders in Council, so the 1970 election was held using the boundaries introduced in 1955. The Conservative government finally introduced the changes, before the February 1974 election.

Since 1974 general reviews of Parliamentary boundaries have become a bit more frequent, with changes effected in 1983, 1997, 2005 (Scotland only) and 2010 (UK except for Scotland). It is remarkable that there have only been ten rounds of general changes since 1832 (excluding 1945 as a partial change only and treating the 2005 and 2010 redistributions as one). The United States has reapportioned Congressional seats eighteen times over the same period (every ten years, except in the 1920s) and is about to implement the nineteenth apportionment in the period.



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Sibboleth
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« Reply #912 on: August 08, 2012, 12:41:09 pm »
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The reason why Labour MPs call it a gerrymander, is because it will cancel out part of the systematic bias in favour of Labour which has existed in recent decades (as Labour seats, on average had smaller electorates than Tory ones). The rest of the bias (because Labour voters are more advantageously clustered in particular geographical areas) will remain, as the Conservatives are not prepared to abandon single member constituencies and first past the post voting.

Actually there is no systematic bias in favour of Labour; or at least, not in favour of Labour alone (fptp is good for the Tories as well, which is why they don't want rid of it). A quick look at summary figures from the last General Election will confirm this. The issue is that Labour can run up much higher totals when they do well than the Tories can when they do. I'm half tempted to argue that this has less to do with the usual reasons given (differential turnout, etc) than two other factors; the fact that the Tories are strikingly less competitive in and around the industrial conurbations that was once the case (eleven seats in Greater Manchester in 1983, just two in 2010, five seats in Birmingham proper in 1983, none in 2010...), and the fact that a small but critically significant proportion of Tory 'base' constituencies now have LibDem MPs...
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« Reply #913 on: August 08, 2012, 02:07:56 pm »
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The boundaries gained Labour a mere net 6 seats; making up less than a 10th of the bias to Labour witnessed in 2010. As Sibboleth says, the Tories themselves received a bias worth double that amount in that same election. Already linked to it, but see this video for analysis of the bias.

The Tories' pained attempts to remove Labour bias, whilst retaining their own, is amusing to watch.
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« Reply #914 on: August 08, 2012, 05:27:26 pm »
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Some bias is an inevitable feature of the electoral system the UK uses. There have been times, in the past, when the net bias favoured the Conservative Party.

As I mentioned before politicians argue in terms of principle, to try to gain advantage for their own side.
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« Reply #915 on: August 08, 2012, 07:36:51 pm »
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Some bias is an inevitable feature of the electoral system the UK uses.

^ THIS.

Just look at the advantage the Canadian Tories have...
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« Reply #916 on: August 08, 2012, 07:59:17 pm »
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Some bias is an inevitable feature of the electoral system the UK uses.

^ THIS.

Just look at the advantage the Canadian Tories have...

Well, the problem is more being a three-party system, than the map, which isn't much a problem (except in Saskatchewan, but that problem is currently being solved by the new commission).
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #917 on: August 10, 2012, 12:38:21 pm »
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Altering the boundary drawing rules, to make constituencies more equal in size of electorate, is not in itself a gerrymander (as the term is normally understood).
Quite so.
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The reason why Labour MPs call it a gerrymander, is because it will cancel out part of the systematic bias in favour of Labour which has existed in recent decades (as Labour seats, on average had smaller electorates than Tory ones). The rest of the bias (because Labour voters are more advantageously clustered in particular geographical areas) will remain, as the Conservatives are not prepared to abandon single member constituencies and first past the post voting.
There are... other reasons beyond that. But apart from that, sure.
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The detailed rules have been changed several times since the Second World War. Labour has preferred longer periods between reviews, the Conservatives shorter
Actually, no, sense as it would make. As it happens the period between reviews has been changed only once since periodical automatic reviews were introduced by the war coalition, to the much longer, by the 50s Tory government, and had not been touched since.
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The reviews since 1950 have been implemented by statutory instrument, not subject to amendment by Parliament. All have been approved apart from one instance, when the Labour government invited its Commons majority to reject the Orders in Council, so the 1970 election was held using the boundaries introduced in 1955. The Conservative government finally introduced the changes, before the February 1974 election.
Heh, I'd actually idly wondered why that one took so long. Learn something new every day.
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The United States has reapportioned Congressional seats eighteen times over the same period (every ten years, except in the 1920s) and is about to implement the nineteenth apportionment in the period.
The United States has far faster population distribution changes and is also not in any way or form a model to look up to in these issues.

The devil with the Cameron law is in the detail; the attempt to preserve those current constituencies so oversized as to be still legal after the seat reduction whether they still make sense on the ground or not was written in at a late stage (on backbench pressure maybe?) and is responsible for a fair bit of havoc in places (some of the extra awfulness of Mersey Banks for instance.) The whole semi-abolution-of-consultation thing serves to give the Commissions more power (and could have been used to speed up the process of redistricting itself, but wasn't) - and the Commission for England happen to have not a clue of the geography of working class England. This is clearly at least partially deliberate. It is also well described as
pained attempts to remove Labour bias, whilst retaining their own

As to the decision not to split wards, without stopping to wonder for one second whether wards of 15,000 people and wards of 1500 (that are usually grouped into County Electoral Divisions for more important elections) can be seriously considered as equivalent... ugh. Yeah. That was at least technically not the lawmakers' doing. Though they warmly encouraged it, of course.



None of which changes the fact that I used the term "gerrymander" in a less-than-serious fashion. It's hyperbole. Obviously.
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« Reply #918 on: August 11, 2012, 02:47:12 pm »
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despite what you said above about faster population changes in the states, I do think we should do the reviews every ten years based on census data rather than the electoral roll,
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« Reply #919 on: August 11, 2012, 02:50:55 pm »
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despite what you said above about faster population changes in the states, I do think we should do the reviews every ten years based on census data rather than the electoral roll,
You could do 'em once a year, strictly speaking, revising only those areas now violating some tolerance threshold (though this makes little sense if you want to keep the size of parliament fixed.) In the US - unlike the UK, might I add - every ten years is really far too late.
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« Reply #920 on: August 12, 2012, 07:44:24 am »
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despite what you said above about faster population changes in the states, I do think we should do the reviews every ten years based on census data rather than the electoral roll,
You could do 'em once a year, strictly speaking, revising only those areas now violating some tolerance threshold (though this makes little sense if you want to keep the size of parliament fixed.) In the US - unlike the UK, might I add - every ten years is really far too late.

Australia does this without any problem, and they even have an elected upper house of Parliament.
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Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #921 on: August 12, 2012, 09:56:18 am »
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despite what you said above about faster population changes in the states, I do think we should do the reviews every ten years based on census data rather than the electoral roll,
You could do 'em once a year, strictly speaking, revising only those areas now violating some tolerance threshold (though this makes little sense if you want to keep the size of parliament fixed.) In the US - unlike the UK, might I add - every ten years is really far too late.

Australia does this without any problem.
Australia has no intermediate units of the approximate relative size, traditional importance, or even (even though it's nothing to write home about in Britain either) political power of British Counties. Redistribute seats constantly to fairly even populations, with a fixed number of seats, and you'll be breaching these boundaries a lot.
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« Reply #922 on: August 18, 2012, 10:06:00 pm »
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Australia does this without any problem.
Australia has no intermediate units of the approximate relative size, traditional importance, or even (even though it's nothing to write home about in Britain either) political power of British Counties. Redistribute seats constantly to fairly even populations, with a fixed number of seats, and you'll be breaching these boundaries a lot.
The British Parliament has delegated its local authority for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland for the most part, and that for England is practiced at a general level.  There is unlikely to be such a distinct local interest for most matters that is considered by Parliament.
England does have local government entities for local matters.

You could apportion seats among the 9 English regions, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland on a continuing basis as is done in Australia, which would trigger a regional redistribution, and also trigger whenever a certain share of the constituencies within a region were outside perhaps 10% bounds.   Alternatively, you could simply weight an MPs votes by his electorate.
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« Reply #923 on: September 13, 2012, 04:52:44 am »
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Revised Scottish boundaries released (for all that it matters)

http://www.bcomm-scotland.independent.gov.uk/6th_westminster/revised_proposals/constituency_maps/index.asp
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« Reply #924 on: September 14, 2012, 02:48:02 pm »
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Some minor tweaks plus redid the rediculous Dundee map - now with one constituency holding the bulk of the city (named "Dundee West") and a donut ("Angus West & East Perthshire" despite including parts of Dundee). No good write-up of why the changes.
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