Articles

Kafka in Chester

In Cheshire, North West, redistricting on October 12, 2011 by dadge

Boundary Review hearings are taking place in Chester tomorrow and Friday. I hope to attend, but someone who definitely will be there is Franz Kafka, in spirit at least. I say this because everyone concerned is engaged in a folly – not a monumental folly, but one of considerable size nonetheless. The boundary review of Cheshire’s constituencies is taking place on the basis of an out-of-date map – this map, to be precise:

Those are the 51 council wards of East and West Cheshire (plus the wards of Wirral which is being reviewed with Cheshire) as they stood at May 2010. These wards are very large and were only a temporary measure: when the new councils were formed a couple of years ago (a terrible thing in itself, in which the Conservative and Labour parties connived against the wishes of the people) emergency wards were required and they used, more or less, the old Cheshire county council wards rather than the 163 district wards (which were used at the last Review).

In the meantime the LGBCE has been hard at work, and the new, proper wards were introduced at the elections in May this year. Here they are*:

There are 98 of them, and just think how much easier it would be (and more sensible!) to form new constituencies in the county if we were allowed to use them. Instead, we have to watch the unedifying spectacle of the Commission, the political parties, and everyone else, trying to use the temporary boundaries. What’s the word? The word is kafkaesque.

* By the way, on these maps the thick black lines represent county boundaries and the red lines show current constituency boundaries.

There is a way around this kafkaesque situation. The law says that if you use boundaries you have to use the 2010 boundaries, but the law doesn’t say you have to use those boundaries. Damn, that doesn’t make sense either. Kafka’s ghost must be among the lawmakers.

What’s a guy to do? Well, while I was checking whether I’ve turned into a cockroach, I decided I better do two versions of the Cheshire map. One is based on the 2010 (temporary) boundaries that almost everyone is attempting to use, and involves splitting four wards. The other is based on the 2011 (permanent*) boundaries which doesn’t involve splitting any wards.

On both maps I’ve chosen Eastham, rather than the Heswall ward, to be the Wirral borough ward that becomes part of the Ellesmere Port seat. Heswall ward is really only the centre of Heswall town, which also includes Pensby and Irby, so I think it preserves local ties better to leave it be.

* “Permanent” here meaning until the next LGBCE review of Cheshire, which will be in 12-15 years’ time.

2010 map counter-proposal

Where I’ve split wards for the “2010” seats, the estimated electorates for the part-wards are taken from the last Review. That data is now 10 years old but it’s good enough to provide totals that won’t be out by more than a couple of hundred.

You’ll notice that, unlike the kafkaesque “Mersey Banks“, the Ellesmere Port seat proposed here is almost identical to the current seat. In fact all the seats are similar to current seats, except for the fact that Weaver Vale has disappeared, split between Tatton, Eddisbury and Halton. I’ve moved Haslington into the Congleton seat, where it used to be a few years ago.

MACCLESFIELD 78,204
Bollington and Disley 11,974
Broken Cross 8,846
Macclesfield Forest 10,161
Macclesfield Town 10,152
Macclesfield West 9,773
Prestbury and Tytherington 8,936
Poynton 11,805
Alderley 10,420
minus Fulshaw -3,863
   
TATTON 78,054
Bucklow 10,057
Knutsford 10,291
Marbury 10,550
Northwich East and Shakerley 10,275
Northwich West 12,595
Wilmslow North 10,647
Wilmslow South 9,776
plus Fulshaw 3,863
   
CONGLETON 78,384
Alsager 9,497
Congleton Rural 10,439
Congleton Town East 10,693
Congleton Town West 11,162
Middlewich 10,424
Sandbach 9,961
Sandbach East and Rode 11,644
plus Haslington 4,564
   
CREWE 78,710
Crewe East 11,744
Crewe North 10,724
Crewe South 10,954
Crewe West 9,432
Doddington 12,949
Nantwich 11,305
Rope 11,737
minus Haslington -4,564
plus Acton & Audlem 4,429
   
CHESTER 77,987
Blacon 9,419
City 10,188
Hoole and Newton 9,422
Overleigh 10,738
Upton 9,948
Mickle Trafford 11,066
Boughton Heath and Vicars Cross 10,829
Gowy 11,418
minus Elton & *Mickle Trafford -5,041
   
EDDISBURY 78,198
Cholmondeley 11,441
Broxton 9,640
Eddisbury 9,539
Winsford North and East 10,813
Winsford South and West 10,384
Frodsham and Helsby 11,030
Weaver 9,965
Abbey 9,815
minus Acton & Audlem -4,429
   
ELLESMERE PORT 77,913
Central and Westminster 10,161
Grange and Rossmere 10,454
Sutton and Manor 10,063
Neston and Parkgate 11,659
Eastham 11,003
Groves and Whitby 10,373
Ledsham and Willaston 9,159
plus Elton & *Mickle Trafford 5,041
   
BIRKENHEAD 74,605
Birkenhead and Tranmere 9,743
Claughton 11,294
Oxton 11,092
Prenton 10,877
Rock Ferry 9,639
Upton 12,173
Bidston and St James 9,787
   
MID WIRRAL 77,700
Clatterbridge 11,705
Greasby, Frankby and Irby 11,546
Pensby and Thingwall 10,554
West Kirby and Thurstaston 10,365
Bromborough 10,730
Bebington 11,832
Heswall 10,968
   
WALLASEY 76,171
Leasowe and Moreton East 10,653
Liscard 11,096
Moreton West and Saughall Massie 10,794
New Brighton 10,807
Seacombe 10,425
Wallasey 11,957
Hoylake and Meols 10,439

*The former Mickle Trafford ward of the former Chester district council

2011 map counter-proposal

The electorates given for the “2011” seats are calculated on the basis of the figures given in the LGBCE reports, which are from 2008, which are therefore slightly out of date, but not by a significant amount.

MACCLESFIELD 78,424
Macclesfield Central 6728
Macclesfield East 3535
Macclesfield Hurdsfield 3539
Macclesfield South 6540
Macclesfield Tytherington 7176
Macclesfield West 6319
Bollington  6723
Broken Cross 6554
Disley 3604
Gawsworth 3212
Poynton East 6485
Poynton West 7105
Sutton 3614
Prestbury 3610
Alderley Edge 3680
   
TATTON 79,015
Chelford 3307
High Legh 3528
Knutsford 10261
Mobberley 3604
Handforth 6785
Wilmslow Dean Row 3357
Wilmslow East 3306
Wilmslow Lacey Green 3717
Wilmslow West 7634
Witton 6503
Winnington 6880
Marbury 9746
Davenham 10387
   
CONGLETON 77,869
Congleton East 10656
Congleton West 10797
Brereton 3869
Alsager 9588
Dane Valley 7562
Odd Rode 6944
Sandbach Elworth 3652
Sandbach Ettiley Heath 3486
Sandbach Heath 3579
Sandbach Town 3896
Shakerley 3290
Middlewich 10550
   
CREWE 77,589
Crewe Central 3437
Crewe East 10428
Crewe North 3613
Crewe South 6985
Crewe St Barnabas 3297
Crewe West 7536
Nantwich North 6912
Nantwich South 6408
Leighton 3926
Shavington 3249
Willaston 3883
Wistaston 7537
Wybunbury 3765
Haslington 6613
   
EDDISBURY 79,363
Bunbury 3511
Wrenbury 3654
Audlem 3686
Winsford Over 9784
Winsford Wharton 7008
Winsford Swanlow 6989
Tarporley 3621
Tarvin 6564
Gowy 3064
Helsby 3832
Frodsham 7290
Kingsley 3499
Weaver 10267
Hartford 6594
   
CHESTER 79,447
Saughall 3561
Dodleston 2924
Lache 3752
Handbridge Park 7055
Blacon 9494
Garden Quarter 2603
Chester City 2481
Great Boughton 7145
Boughton 3541
Hoole 6705
Newton 7140
Upton 6333
Chester Villages 6721
Farndon 3141
Malpas 3248
Tattenhall 3603
   
ELLESMERE PORT 77,508
Little Neston 7157
Neston 3248
Parkgate 3128
Willaston 3236
Netherpool 2451
Rossmore 2426
St Paul’s 6982
Ledsham 6597
Grange 3563
Sutton 7354
Whitby 6729
Strawberry 3714
Ellesmere Port Town 6538
Elton 3382
Eastham 11003

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