Boundary Changes

boundaryThe following was published in the Brighton Argus on Tuesday, it has a parochial element to it, focusing as it does on the boundary changes being consulted upon for our city. However it does have a resonance for other places. My greatest frustration with this form of gerrymandering is that the Government gets to set the criteria around which the boundaries are changed, and then ‘consult’ on the detail. This is at odds with the way in which Brexit worked in that we were ‘consulted’ on the big question, and then the Prime Minister believes it is her role to deal with the detail. My own view is that as the people who pay for our MPs and indeed the rest of Parliament, that we should be consulted on much more than where we would like a political boundary to be drawn in the case of the boundary commission, and as for Brexit, well ……

I suspect all of us have been asked a question in such a manner that does not really get to the heart of the matter of concern. Equally most of us will be familiar with questions that are answered in such a way that leaves the questioner feeling frustrated because the answer seems to miss their point altogether. In recent days the debate over the boundaries of the constituencies for our 3 MPs in Brighton & Hove seems to fit into that category for me. The idea that we should worry which street or hedge fits into which constituency seems to be of far more of concern to the political parties than it is to many residents. However once the boundaries are determined, we will then go back to business as usual, a state of play that we know is far from what works well. My suggestion is that we tell the boundary commission to rephrase the question. The Government has determined that each constituency has 70,000 residents. There is no doubt that our city has sufficient population to elect at least 3 MPs. Rather than worry about the boundaries, how about demanding a different way of electing our MPs. Let us have a mini revolution and choose our MPs by proportional ballot, so that we each get a vote and the three MPs with the three largest totals get elected and we then get the opportunity to speak to whichever MP we need to deal with depending on who is in power and what our concern is. I realise this is not the question being asked, but it’s the answer I want to give!


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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