Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Boundary of Acceptability

It is always an unpleasant situation when a political party puts its own agenda full-square above the interests of the people; and with the boundary review issue the Liberal Democrats in Parliament have done precisely that.

This is one of those (thankfully not all that common) issues that are purely about serving the people fairly, by trying to make parliamentary constituencies a lot more consistent in population/electorate than they are currently. The aim is to give each elector roughly the same voting significance as any other.

That's it: there is no hidden agenda or party political manipulation involved. Indeed, it is only a part-correction of the present aberration anyway. Despite a re-working of the proposals to produce a Mark Two version of them, the Lib Dems still will not support them, as their leader Nick Clegg has now confirmed (it was not exactly unexpected, but one lives in hope).

This is very sad because the public aren't daft (well, not all that many of them are!) and they will inevitably interpret this in exactly the way I have stated it: putting party (and former horse-trading) ahead of anything like principles – so that party will now be perceived as unprincipled by many more people than already believe that to be the case. In other words, all they are doing is harming themselves – and after a largely promising two years or so in coalition.

It is at times like this that I despair. After all the work of encouragement and helping to rehabilitate The Lib Dems, I find that it is all about to unravel and that party is on the brink of setting itself back again, perhaps never to recover this time. Just as their popular support in the country looked like it couldn't drop any lower...

(Finally, the boring bit: I see that local Labour are trying to paint the proposed boundary changes as something to favour our Conservative MPs. This is, of course, nonsense as they all have commanding leads and hardly need extra votes – which is what Medway Labour claim would result for the two seats affected by the changes: the third isn't up for change. Indeed, with a fixed electorate in the equation, it'd be more beneficial to shift the boundaries another way, so that some of the 'excess' votes might swing it in a marginal seat elsewhere. As an analysis at Political Betting [I think] put it some months ago: anything more than a one-vote win is in effect a waste of votes that could be better utilised elsewhere.)

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