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  Let the great boundary rejig commence
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Author Topic: Let the great boundary rejig commence  (Read 158636 times)
Harry Hayfield
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« on: May 12, 2010, 05:01:41 pm »

Quote
The parties will bring forward a Referendum Bill on electoral reform, which includes provision for the introduction of the Alternative Vote in the event of a positive result in the referendum, as well as for the creation of fewer and more equal sized constituencies

And because that was the Conservative Party policy, that means all the constituencies have to be 77,658 (and not one elector bigger or smaller than that number). This means that the regions split as follows:

Northern Ireland: 15 (rounding down to the nearest whole seat 15.06)
Scotland: 49 (rounding down) 50 (rounding up) 49.8
Wales: 29 (29.12)
England: 491/492

Allow me to start the ball rolling with my own constituency of Ceredigion. Based on that average, Ceredigion is 18,615 electors too small and needs to be merged with somewhere. I suspect that they might say that the preserved counties must be adhered to so that rules out merging with Dwyfor, Montgomeryshire, Brecon and Radnorshire, so that leaves only Carmarthen East and Preseli Pembrokeshire. Without knowing the exact electorates of the wards of Carmarthen East (which I should point out are being rejigged at the moment) I think that a merger with Preseli Pembrokeshire seems the most likely (as there has been a historical link with that constituency between 1983 and 1997) but would hope that the constituency would be called Ceredigion and the Preselis, or Ceredigion and Preseli and not just Ceredigion and Pembroke North as it was between 1983 and 1997
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2010, 05:05:03 pm »

When does the boundary commision start... commisioning?
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2010, 05:26:29 pm »

Quote

And because that was the Conservative Party policy, that means all the constituencies have to be 77,658 (and not one elector bigger or smaller than that number). This means that the regions split as follows:


Steady on Smiley That's not quite true unles you want boundaries cutting through peoples front room. They are looking at constituencies of around 80,000 or so. They may not even push for that other than to reduce Welsh contituencies in line with increased devolution.
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2010, 06:11:59 pm »

Would Na-h-Eileanan-an-Iar, Orkney and Shetlands, Ynys Mon and the Isle of Wight be affected by these changes? They're far under Cammy's 77,658 requirement.
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2010, 06:55:26 pm »

I did some work on this last year on the Vote UK forum thread "Equal Voting Size".  http://www.vote-2007.co.uk/index.php?topic=3672.0.  We assumed a House of 585 seats.

Some observations:
(1) Getting each constituency to be exactly the same size is an impossible task.  Apart from anything else, it's very unlikely that the electorate will be an exact multiple of 500 or 585 or whatever.

(2) The only way to get each constituency the same size would be to divide at property level, which means that the number of possible counter-proposals becomes for all practical purposes unlimited.  For example, if we need to transfer two electors from Anytown East to Anytown West is there any reason for us to prefer transferring 1 Avenue Road instead of 2 Avenue Road?

(3) Legal precedent is not on the Conservatives' side here.  Back in 1983 Michael Foot (then Leader of the Opposition) took the Boundary Commission for England to judicial review arguing that the Commission had not taken enough weight of having an equal number of voters in each seat.  He lost.  (If you want to know more, google R v Boundary Commission for England ex parte Foot 1983.)

What we may see is the introduction of a tolerance level of something like +/-10% for all parliamentary constituencies except where there is a very good reason to depart from this (I'm thinking Orkney and Shetland, Na he Na h-Eili Western Isles and Wight here).  That's how the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (or whatever they're called this week) work.  However, even though a 10% tolerance sounds large it would create problems in the metropolitan areas and Scotland where ward sizes are very large - wards would almost certainly have to be split, presumably along polling district lines or some such.  The new Scottish Parliament constituencies coming in next year have taken this approach.
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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2010, 07:02:45 pm »

Would Na-h-Eileanan-an-Iar, Orkney and Shetlands, Ynys Mon and the Isle of Wight be affected by these changes? They're far under Cammy's 77,658 requirement.

Wight is actually a lot bigger than that - it already has more than 100,000 electors.

I suspect Anglesey might well be subject to this.  Anglesey is connected to the mainland by two bridges, which is more than can be said for the rest of the island seats named.  You could combine it with Arfon.  [waits for Al to explain why this is a bad idea]

Trivia time here - there are actually five constituencies which contain no part of the British or Irish mainland.  What's the other one?
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Verily
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2010, 07:46:55 pm »
« Edited: May 12, 2010, 07:56:07 pm by Verily »

Would Na-h-Eileanan-an-Iar, Orkney and Shetlands, Ynys Mon and the Isle of Wight be affected by these changes? They're far under Cammy's 77,658 requirement.

Wight is actually a lot bigger than that - it already has more than 100,000 electors.

I suspect Anglesey might well be subject to this.  Anglesey is connected to the mainland by two bridges, which is more than can be said for the rest of the island seats named.  You could combine it with Arfon.  [waits for Al to explain why this is a bad idea]

Trivia time here - there are actually five constituencies which contain no part of the British or Irish mainland.  What's the other one?

One of the Thanet seats? If you consider the Isle of Thanet to be not a part of the British mainland.

Or perhaps Portsmouth South? There's a canal separating Portsmouth from the mainland, but it used to be a part of the mainland.

Edit: You must mean Portsmouth South, as the Thanet seats both contains parts of the original mainland as well (a bit of pro-Tory gerrymandering, that).


Also, Isle of Wight would be affected by it, but by means of having to be split and partially merged with the mainland (or Portsmouth South, since my guess is that they'd connect Ryde to Portsmouth and then leave the rest of Wight intact).
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 03:51:43 am »

Also, Isle of Wight would be affected by it, but by means of having to be split and partially merged with the mainland .
And if this were implemented by the Tories alone rather than the current coalition, LD Gain Wight & Hold Forever.
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2010, 06:33:51 pm »

Also, Isle of Wight would be affected by it, but by means of having to be split and partially merged with the mainland .
And if this were implemented by the Tories alone rather than the current coalition, LD Gain Wight & Hold Forever.

Wouldn't the voters there appreciate their increased share of representation vis-a-vis the rest of the country, or at least recognize the value in that enough to forgive the Tories for spitting their blessed island?
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Harry Hayfield
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2010, 02:55:47 am »

The Welsh version of the Electoral Reform Society has been having a go at this and will be publishing their report on Wednesday in Cardiff. I have asked for the report to be e-mailed to me following publication (and will post once I get it) but they have raised an interesting statement, namely that according to the Government of Wales Act, the number of constituency AM's in the Assembly MUST equal the number of MP's elected. This means that if these plans do indeed go ahead (as expected), then the Assembly will shrink from it's current 60 to as few as 44 (when the Richards Commission called for a long term goal of an Assembly with 80 members).
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2010, 04:34:20 am »

Also, Isle of Wight would be affected by it, but by means of having to be split and partially merged with the mainland .
And if this were implemented by the Tories alone rather than the current coalition, LD Gain Wight & Hold Forever.

Wouldn't the voters there appreciate their increased share of representation vis-a-vis the rest of the country, or at least recognize the value in that enough to forgive the Tories for spitting their blessed island?
No. People don't think that way. Even splitting the island into two undersized constituencies (which the commission never planned to - as yet) wasn't a popular suggestion; mostly because there's no readily apparent 50-50 split (I've tried).
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2010, 04:43:36 am »

I still have some hope that the Tories will see sense on this (or that the Lib Dems will persuade them to) and go for something like a 10% tolerance retaining the rule which allows it to be ignored in exceptional cases (e.g. Wight, Orkney and Shetland, Na h-Eileanan an Iar).  If not there are going to be a lot of controversial recommendations, and see the response to the Boundary Commission's absurd proposal of a cross-Mersey seat in the last review to see the sort of reaction they're likely to get.
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2010, 12:00:28 pm »

Would Na-h-Eileanan-an-Iar, Orkney and Shetlands, Ynys Mon and the Isle of Wight be affected by these changes? They're far under Cammy's 77,658 requirement.

Wight is actually a lot bigger than that - it already has more than 100,000 electors.

I suspect Anglesey might well be subject to this.  Anglesey is connected to the mainland by two bridges, which is more than can be said for the rest of the island seats named.  You could combine it with Arfon.  [waits for Al to explain why this is a bad idea]

Trivia time here - there are actually five constituencies which contain no part of the British or Irish mainland.  What's the other one?

Does the Ilse of Man send a representative to Westminster?  If so, is there a constituency there that contains no part of the British mainland?
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2010, 12:06:18 pm »

Would Na-h-Eileanan-an-Iar, Orkney and Shetlands, Ynys Mon and the Isle of Wight be affected by these changes? They're far under Cammy's 77,658 requirement.

Wight is actually a lot bigger than that - it already has more than 100,000 electors.

I suspect Anglesey might well be subject to this.  Anglesey is connected to the mainland by two bridges, which is more than can be said for the rest of the island seats named.  You could combine it with Arfon.  [waits for Al to explain why this is a bad idea]

Trivia time here - there are actually five constituencies which contain no part of the British or Irish mainland.  What's the other one?

Does the Ilse of Man send a representative to Westminster?  If so, is there a constituency there that contains no part of the British mainland?

No, the Isle of Man isn't part of the UK, it's just... there. It has its own government.
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2010, 03:10:21 am »

Portsmouth South?
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2010, 05:55:36 am »

Would Na-h-Eileanan-an-Iar, Orkney and Shetlands, Ynys Mon and the Isle of Wight be affected by these changes? They're far under Cammy's 77,658 requirement.

Wight is actually a lot bigger than that - it already has more than 100,000 electors.

I suspect Anglesey might well be subject to this.  Anglesey is connected to the mainland by two bridges, which is more than can be said for the rest of the island seats named.  You could combine it with Arfon.  [waits for Al to explain why this is a bad idea]

Trivia time here - there are actually five constituencies which contain no part of the British or Irish mainland.  What's the other one?

One of the Thanet seats? If you consider the Isle of Thanet to be not a part of the British mainland.

Or perhaps Portsmouth South? There's a canal separating Portsmouth from the mainland, but it used to be a part of the mainland.

Edit: You must mean Portsmouth South, as the Thanet seats both contains parts of the original mainland as well (a bit of pro-Tory gerrymandering, that).


Also, Isle of Wight would be affected by it, but by means of having to be split and partially merged with the mainland (or Portsmouth South, since my guess is that they'd connect Ryde to Portsmouth and then leave the rest of Wight intact).

Portsmouth South?

Yes, it's Portsmouth South.
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2010, 01:24:17 pm »
« Edited: June 06, 2010, 02:25:33 pm by Kevinstat »

Also, Isle of Wight would be affected by it, but by means of having to be split and partially merged with the mainland .
And if this were implemented by the Tories alone rather than the current coalition, LD Gain Wight & Hold Forever.

Wouldn't the voters there appreciate their increased share of representation vis-a-vis the rest of the country, or at least recognize the value in that enough to forgive the Tories for spitting their blessed island?
No. People don't think that way.
Yeah, I suppose you're right.  There's a woman from Kennebunk, Maine, on a Maine political web forum I frequent who hates that her town is split between (state) House districts even though Kennebunk had enough population for 1.24 House districts as of and according to the 2000 census and has grown by a larger percentage than the state since then according to 2008 estimates.  Of course Maine had 8,443 people per State Representative as of an according to the 2000 census and 8,730 people per representative according to 2009 estimates, and has exclusively single member districts unlike New Hampshire, so you end up having to split municipalities that would be a small portion of a Representative or Assembly district in most states.
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Harry Hayfield
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« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2010, 12:13:33 pm »

Welsh Electoral Reform Society Recommendations for Wales
(published June 9th 2010)

Name of constituency   Con   Lab   Lib Dem   Plaid   UKIP   Green   BNP   Ind   Others   Totals   Electorate   Turnout   Winner
Barry and Penarth   18,106   16,387   8,112   2,433   1,419   485   0   186   306   47,434   73,652   64.40%   Con
Blaenau Gwent and Tredegar   2,781   16,612   4,198   1,981   623   0   1,227   696   4,675   32,795   78,027   42.03%   Lab
Breconshire and Montgomeryshire   14,085   3,304   15,520   1,839   994   181   0   152   409   36,485   73,630   49.55%   Lib Dem
Bridgend   10,213   15,024   7,870   2,514   796   0   1,072   0   0   37,489   75,991   49.33%   Lab
Caerphilly   6,038   16,700   5,587   4,996   893   0   1,450   985   14   36,662   78,773   46.54%   Lab
Cardiff Central   10,637   13,184   12,753   1,437   912   532   0   191   341   39,988   74,574   53.62%   Lab
Cardiff North East   13,568   15,702   10,680   1,589   1,043   479   0   236   361   43,658   75,345   57.94%   Lab
Cardiff West   13,851   17,175   8,066   2,335   1,125   607   0   106   165   43,428   74,061   58.64%   Lab
Carmarthen   11,546   11,885   5,156   9,011   1,173   13   0   134   16   38,934   75,798   51.37%   Lab
Ceredigion and Rhaeadr   7,325   3,406   16,990   8,634   980   528   0   34   66   37,963   74,042   51.27%   Lib Dem
Conwy and Abergele   13,623   8,667   5,765   5,561   759   0   18   54   194   34,642   74,374   46.58%   Con
Denbigh, Llangollen and the Vale of Conwy   12,256   12,428   5,762   3,543   764   0   711   21   80   35,564   74,357   47.83%   Lab
Flint and Rhyl   12,629   15,043   4,982   1,978   571   0   834   0   76   36,114   73,720   48.99%   Lab
Gwynedd and Machynlleth   6,367   5,220   4,325   10,863   774   0   0   788   31   28,369   75,318   37.67%   Plaid
Llanelli   7,203   14,349   4,590   10,804   1,063   0   118   0   0   38,127   75,776   50.32%   Lab
Merthyr Tydifl and Ystrad Mynach   4,034   15,421   8,002   3,495   891   0   1,338   1,303   111   34,596   78,860   43.87%   Lab
Mold and Shotton   12,868   15,638   6,949   1,617   928   0   1,247   0   0   39,247   75,949   51.68%   Lab
Monmouth   18,945   12,211   9,526   1,140   1,017   445   283   0   30   43,598   78,292   55.69%   Con
Neath and Aberavon   4,681   16,768   5,183   3,531   615   0   1,284   556   338   32,955   74,811   44.05%   Lab
Newport   10,524   14,672   8,710   935   924   238   1,176   0   58   37,237   75,491   49.33%   Lab
Pembroke   16,827   12,691   5,414   3,883   1,001   0   0   145   0   39,961   75,339   53.04%   Con
Pontypridd and Aberdare   3,845   15,315   6,302   5,011   1,037   110   0   135   250   32,004   76,594   41.78%   Lab
Rhondda and Ogmore   3,300   17,213   4,727   4,712   564   41   313   1,648   94   32,612   75,838   43.00%   Lab
Swansea East and the Vale of Neath   5,861   15,564   6,960   4,863   806   120   1,286   81   96   35,637   77,901   45.75%   Lab
Swansea North and Loughdor   8,123   15,936   7,478   2,280   758   221   1,345   52   25   36,217   74,988   48.30%   Lab
Swansea West and Gower   9,345   13,539   10,561   1,870   695   272   927   252   120   37,581   77,775   48.32%   Lab
Torfaen   9,213   16,527   6,474   1,826   922   449   1,492   1,594   0   38,497   78,434   49.08%   Lab
Vale of Ely   11,178   15,772   8,758   2,776   1,234   479   84   0   374   40,657   73,196   55.55%   Lab
Wrexham   9,003   12,505   7,744   2,322   787   0   1,124   0   0   33,486   74,020   45.24%   Lab
Ynys Môn and Bangor   7,223   10,322   3,105   8,805   1,035   0   0   1,526   123   32,140   74,167   43.33%   Lab

Could I ask someone more skilled than me to table that please and could I also ask for a named current ward map of Wales so I can show which wards go into which seats? (please e-mail me direct with map)
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2010, 05:19:09 pm »

I haven't drawn many Welsh ward maps but tend to be fairly useless in my experience - some Welsh wards are absolutely tiny.

Also I can't see this on the ERS website - do you have any further details?

One more thing:

Quote
Ceredigion a Rhaeadr

WTF??!?!?!??  If you're going to combine Cardiganshire with anywhere presumably the Preseli or Machynlleth would be a better idea - at least there aren't a load of mountains in the way.
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Harry Hayfield
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« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2010, 05:27:57 pm »

I haven't drawn many Welsh ward maps but tend to be fairly useless in my experience - some Welsh wards are absolutely tiny.

Also I can't see this on the ERS website - do you have any further details?

One more thing:

Quote
Ceredigion a Rhaeadr

WTF??!?!?!??  If you're going to combine Cardiganshire with anywhere presumably the Preseli or Machynlleth would be a better idea - at least there aren't a load of mountains in the way.

The Welsh part of the ERS e-mailed me the designs of the new constituencies and they were embaroged until a meeting today in Cardiff. If they have not yet appeared on the website, then pass. As to the idea of Ceredigion and Rhaedr, the wards in question are:

Ceredigion
All wards
Powys
Blaen Hafren, Llandinam, Llanfair Caereinion, Llanidloes, Rhiwcynon, Llanyre, Nantmel, Rhaeadr Gwy and the northern half of the electoral division of Llanafanfawr
Pembrokeshire
Cilgerran, Clydau, Crymych, Dinas Cross, Newport, Scleddau
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« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2010, 05:41:36 pm »

OK, so it looks like it already has the Mynydd Preseli in it.  Still, communication links between Aberystwyth and Rhayader consist of the A44 road via Llangurig.  And, er, that's it.

Surely the ERS Cymru can't be trying for the most insane constituencies they can think of in order to discredit FPTP?  Nah, that can't be right.
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« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2010, 01:03:57 am »

What's all this hogwash about you cant redo the boundaries cause the list of electors is out of date.
Do you use registered electors to determine boundaries? I can't think of anything less democratic. Canada uses citizens, all citizens (old, young). You could also use citizens over 18 (IE can vote).
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« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2010, 03:15:34 am »

Oh, just brilliant Roll Eyes
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Harry Hayfield
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« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2010, 06:03:25 am »

What's all this hogwash about you cant redo the boundaries cause the list of electors is out of date.
Do you use registered electors to determine boundaries? I can't think of anything less democratic. Canada uses citizens, all citizens (old, young). You could also use citizens over 18 (IE can vote).

The agrument that Harriet Harman used in the Commons yesterday is that what is the point of rejigging the boundaries if not everyone who can vote is allowed to vote (and cited all the data listed). My response would be "that did not stop you rejigging the boundaries of Scotland for the 2005 elections, and the rest of the UK for the 2010 elections"
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2010, 05:50:01 am »

What's all this hogwash about you cant redo the boundaries cause the list of electors is out of date.
Do you use registered electors to determine boundaries? I can't think of anything less democratic. Canada uses citizens, all citizens (old, young). You could also use citizens over 18 (IE can vote).
The UK lets noncitizens vote (on certain conditions), so they've still got you beat.
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