A relative of mine has a blunt but true saying, a turd that is dressed up is still a turd. That is how I feel about this parliamentary review result. Richard Graham is overjoyed that his proposal has been put forward as the final proposal to cut the number of residents in the Gloucester constituency. Eagerly telling the press how overjoyed he is, having retained the “crown jewels” of the City, but neglecting to empathise with those residents in Hempsted who, he has literally just sold down the river. The Lib Dem’s are saying it doesn’t matter because as they lost the Lords reform then they will scupper the boundary review, but I think residents of Hempsted will remember with just how much glee, the MP was willing to cast them out.
I particularly loved the part where he now enlightens us that if it had not worked, he would have resigned from Government. Such an easy thing to publicise widely once the decision has been made. Pity he didn’t make a bit deal of that before the announcement, more people might have had some more motivation to submit opinions.
This was always a “dirty” problem, was no good solution that would fit exactly with the boundary commission guidance, but I do think that the currently accepted proposal is storing up problems for the future if it does go ahead, the numbers a so tight and the envisaged growth (as defined in the City Plan and JCS) will mean a review in 5 years time anyway because the 5% margin will be breached, therefore incurring more cost then. That is why my preferred solution was a No-Change situation as we are not losing any MP’s in Gloucestershire therefore for all this cost, all we have got are disenfranchised residents.
What strikes me though is the focus on numbers in all this. The Government is determined to make all constituencies equal number because of national party politics but to my mind (and yes I know I have said this before) this is wrong. The whole idea of grouping together under an MP is that they should represent similar grouping of people, IE the Gloucester MP should represent the City residents and if there is too many, then split it into two, not hive off suburbs to rural areas. It is completely missing the point of community representation.
So when you hear the Tory machine crowing about how they have saved Gloucester, especially if the Lib Dem’s break another promise and do let this through in Parliament, ask yourself who did this actually serve, the residents of Hempsted or a statistical figure pulled out of the air? IF you think this is wrong, you can still comment (http://consultation.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/) upto the 10th December.