Mad, bad and dangerous for democracy…the Boundary Review
Leaving aside the party politics of the boundary review, which is something that Labour should probably actually do, it is quite clear to me that the Boundary Review is bad for democracy. Therefore, we, as the opposition should be seeking to build a broad alliance of disaffected MP’s from all Parties. Failing that we should pledge to reverse it in our next term in government in any case.
We should nail some myths. These measures will not deliver ‘equal’ and therefore ‘fairer’ votes. As a political consultant Lewis Baston told Fact Check;
It’s a bit of a category mistake to talk about ‘balance’ in a single member district electoral system like ours. If you want to have an electoral system where the seats won reflect the votes cast, you have to have PR.
As the same article points out, there are also other causes of uneven numbers of electors in a constituency, some of which will not even be touched or made worse by these changes. If you look at the problem of voter registration for example, I don’t think the news that as far as the Boundary Commission are concerned they are non-people (whose representative needs therefore do not need to be considered) will exactly enthuse them to rush out and register. However if they did, spurred on by an entertainer political party, a mass programme of voter registration would easily throw these plans into chaos and cause a almost potentially permanent state of flux. Incidentally, this would also make the numbers uneven.
Constituency are linked to geographical entities for good reasons, civic pride, practicality of representing a tightly-defined geographical area etc, etc. The Boundary Review will all undermine this. If you don’t believe me then maybe you should ask the people of Salford who have been told rather curtly they no longer exist as an independent town or maybe you could talk to the people of Leeds and Bradford who are likely to be forced into a shotgun marriage named Leeds West and Pudsey. Undermining the constituency role of MP’s and complicating it further is, in my eyes, another blow for democracy and something that is likely to lead to more voter disengagement.
We need to move a bit beyond the party politics of this debate and look at the damaging wider implications. This way we will craft an alliance in Parliament and in the wider country that can defeat these profoundly undemocratic and muddle-headed proposals.