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News and Comment October 2012

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18 October (Part 2) - Thamesmead and Plumstead

Constituency mapI don’t suppose many people are interested in Parliamentary Constituency Boundaries and probably I wouldn’t be either if it wasn’t for the fact I live on what has become some sort of parliamentary fault line. I used to be in David Evennett’s constituency and now I am in Teresa Pearce’s. Last year the Boundary Commission suggested it was time to change everything around again which in principle must be an equitable thing as the electoral system is currently heavily weighted in Labour’s favour. The proposals put me outside Teresa’s patch by 50 yards or so. I saw only one benefit to that, the dilemma of whether or not I was going to have to vote Labour for the first time in my life was removed.

Bexley’s Conservatives saw bigger problems. The prospect of their traditional strongholds being weakened, so they approved an official Bexley council motion which was no more than a blatant piece of attempted gerrymandering. The basic idea was to shunt Conservative voters who were surplus to requirements in a Tory stronghold into a marginal area in the hope of turning it blue and conversely to drag voters in a Labour area into a strong Conservative area where their influence would be lost and create a new Tory area. A cunning if dishonest political plan given the authority of Bexley council’s official stamp. Cheating is their norm.

Fortunately the Boundary Commission found no more difficulty than I did in seeing straight through Bexley’s trickery and has come up with another revised plan. It may be fair but I’m not sure I like it. I will be lumped in with Plumstead and half of Woolwich, which I occasionally pass through but only when I really have to. On the other hand my dilemma is removed. I don’t have to vote Labour and Teresa Pearce will still get in. I call that having my cake and eat it.

You may see proposals for your own constituency at the Boundary Commission’s website. The Commission’s report is here.

I am now on standby for a telling off by my MP.


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