Archive for the ‘Birmingham’ Category

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Ask Locus: Can Birmingham be reviewed on its own?

In Birmingham,electoral register,redistricting on October 4, 2011 by dadge

Over on the Re-Stirred forum, bunnyson asks:

Is it possible for Birmingham to be redrawn, using current wards, without grabbing Solihull or other authorities’ wards?

Just by using current wards, no.

Birmingham, with an electorate of 731,731, is entitled to just over 9 and a half seats. If the Commission gives it 10 seats, the average size would be 73,173. The legal minimum size is 72,810 so it is possible to review the city on its own, just very messy.

It’d be nice if all the 40 wards were the same size, but they vary from 16,461 (Erdington) to 20,011 (Springfield). The current Erdington constituency has an electorate of 67,598, i.e. more than 5,000 short of the required number, and I guarantee that there is no combination of whole wards in north Birmingham that could create a seat of the required size.

So, the only way is ward-splitting. A better mathematician than me could work out how many of the city’s wards would have to be sliced up, but it would be a lot.

And if we went down that route, the main people to suffer would be the voters of Solihull and Warwickshire. Together they’re entitled to just under 7 and a half seats, so if Birmingham gets 10, they’d get 7. Except that wouldn’t be possible, since that’d mean an average seat size of 81,243, well above the legal limit. So just to keep their seats down to around 80,000 they’d have to give 9,000 voters to Coventry, and to accommodate them you’d have to split a couple of wards in Coventry.

Anyway, we’d end up with 10 seats in Birmingham with 73,000 voters in each, 7 in Warwickshire and Solihull with 80,000 voters in each and 3 in Coventry with 75,000 in one and 80,000 in the other two. It doesn’t sound too bad, I suppose, but it is a bit unfair and (more importantly) it tears up the electoral map.

Postscript 1: There is a point of view that says that if a city is entitled to X number of seats, then just give it those seats, and leave it up to the cityfolk to apportion them. Unfortunately (?) the powers that be decided that 5% law doesn’t apply to local authorities, it applies to individual seats.

Postscript 2: It’s widely regarded to be true (and having done some canvassing myself, I agree) that there’s thousands of people missing off the electoral roll in Birmingham. If we can somehow get those people onto the roll, maybe we could get our extra half an MP back.

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Map fun

In Birmingham,maps,redistricting,West Midlands county on October 3, 2011 by dadge

Enjoying playing with my new toy. I’ve finally got my hands on the map files of the Commission’s proposals, so I can do maps like these, contrasting the current seats (orange) with the new ones (blue). If you want the files, or have a suggestion for a map, email me at dadge1@gmail.com

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Birmingham redux

In Birmingham,redistricting,West Midlands on October 3, 2011 by dadge

Here’s probably the best solution for Birmingham, as proposed by Phil Davies on the Vote UK forum. The seats are virtually unchanged from the current constituencies, so they win the “maintaining local ties” argument hands down.

Two wards are split, as is allowed under law, and they are Oscott and Bartley Green. Using the polling district information available online, I’ve put polling districts CVE, CVG, CVH and CVI (approx 5733 voters) in Handsworth and polling districts CCC, CCD, CCE, CCI, CCJ, CCYY and CCZZ (approx 7881 voters) in Northfield.

 

SUTTON COLDFIELD 75,031
Sutton Four Oaks 19,103
Sutton New Hall 17,582
Sutton Trinity 19,777
Sutton Vesey 18,569

BIRMINGHAM ERDINGTON 79,972
Erdington 16,461
Kingstanding 17,227
Stockland Green 16,670
Tyburn 17,240
Oscott (part) 12,374

BIRMINGHAM HANDSWORTH 76,338
Oscott (part) 5,733
Perry Barr 16,746
Handsworth Wood 18,448
Lozells and East Handsworth 18,493
Soho 16,918

BIRMINGHAM HEARTLANDS 78,697
Bordesley Green 19,861
Washwood Heath 19,767
Nechells 19,716
Aston 19,353

BIRMINGHAM EDGBASTON 79,179
Edgbaston 17,490
Harborne 16,473
Ladywood 18,021
Quinton 17,385
Bartley Green (part) 9810

BIRMINGHAM NORTHFIELD 80,071
Weoley 17,664
Longbridge 18,397
Bartley Green (part) 7,881
Northfield 19,194
Kings Norton 16,935

BIRMINGHAM SELLY OAK 75,668
Bournville 19,298
Brandwood 18,567
Selly Oak 18,605
Billesley 19,198

BIRMINGHAM HALL GREEN* 77,157
Moseley and Kings Heath 18,617
Sparkbrook 19,407
Springfield 20,011
Hall Green 19,122

BIRMINGHAM YARDLEY 73,261
Acocks Green 19,365
South Yardley 19,784
Stechford and Yardley North 18,037
Sheldon 16,075

CASTLE BROMWICH 79,812
Castle Bromwich 9,271
Chelmsley Wood 9,236
Kingshurst and Fordbridge 9,455
Smith’s Wood 8,966
Shard End 18,579
Hodge Hill 17,778
Bickenhill (part) 6,527

(*If it was my choice, I’d call this seat Sparkhill.)

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from the Observer…

In Birmingham,redistricting on September 26, 2011 by dadge

…the Great Barr Observer

Last week’s front page, this week’s page 5, and a sensible comment piece from our MP, Khalid Mahmood.

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West Midlands (county) counter-proposal

In Birmingham,Coventry,Dudley,redistricting,Sandwell,Solihull,Walsall,West Midlands,West Midlands county,Wolverhampton on September 23, 2011 by dadge

Here goes… My review areas are as follows: Birmingham-Solihull-Warwickshire 17 seats; Walsall-Wolverhampton-Dudley 8 seats; Sandwell 3 seats; Coventry 3 seats. Coventry is unchanged.

Where I’ve split wards (shown in grey on the map), the electorates are estimated.

part of Oscott 5,705
Aston 19,353
Perry Barr 16,746
Handsworth Wood 18,448
Lozells and East Handsworth 18,493
BIRMINGHAM PERRY BARR 78,745

Erdington 16,461
Kingstanding 17,227
Stockland Green 16,670
Tyburn 17,240
most of Oscott 12,402
BIRMINGHAM ERDINGTON 80,000

Bournville 19,298
Brandwood 18,567
Kings Norton 16,935
Selly Oak 18,605
BIRMINGHAM KINGS NORTON 73,405

Edgbaston 17,490
Harborne 16,473
Ladywood 18,021
Soho 16,918
most of Quinton 11,098
BIRMINGHAM FIVE WAYS 80,000

part of Quinton 6,287
Weoley 17,664
Longbridge 18,397
Bartley Green 17,691
Northfield 19,194
BIRMINGHAM NORTHFIELD 79,233

Hall Green 19,122
Acocks Green 19,365
South Yardley 19,784
Stechford and Yardley North 18,037
BIRMINGHAM ACOCKS GREEN 76,308

Hodge Hill 17,778
Bordesley Green 19,861
Washwood Heath 19,767
Nechells 19,716
BIRMINGHAM HEARTLANDS 77,122

Moseley and Kings Heath 18,617
Sparkbrook 19,407
Springfield 20,011
Billesley 19,198
BIRMINGHAM MOSELEY 77,233

Sutton Four Oaks 19,103
Sutton New Hall 17,582
Sutton Trinity 19,777
Sutton Vesey 18,569
SUTTON COLDFIELD 75,031

Cradley and Foxcote 9,953
Halesowen North 9,573
Halesowen South 10,008
Hayley Green and Cradley South 9,419
Norton 9,743
Pedmore and Stourbridge East 10,008
Wollaston and Stourbridge Town 10,148
Belle Vale 10,227
HALESOWEN AND STOURBRIDGE 79,079

Brockmoor from B&P 3,500
Kingswinford North and Wall Heath 10,259
Kingswinford South 10,423
Lye and Wollescote 9,597
Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood 10,311
Amblecote 10,465
Brierley Hill 10,105
Wordsley 10,114
BRIERLEY HILL 74,774

St James’s 10,019
St Thomas’s 10,163
Sedgley 9,850
Upper Gornal and Woodsetton 10,410
Netherton, Woodside and St Andrews 10,636
Castle and Priory 10,692
Gornal 10,580
(Brockmoor and) Pensnett 6,271
DUDLEY CASTLE 78,621

Abbey 8,431
Blackheath 9,276
Bristnall 9,123
Cradley Heath and Old Hill 9,989
Langley 9,137
Old Warley 9,141
Tividale 9,226
Rowley 9,164
ROWLEY REGIS 73,487

Charlemont with Grove Vale 9,309
Great Barr with Yew Tree 9,708
Hateley Heath 9,476
Newton 8,813
St Pauls 9,163
Smethwick 9,409
Soho and Victoria 8,620
West Bromwich Central 8,915
WEST BROMWICH 73,413

Princes End 9,109
Great Bridge 9,517
Friar Park 9,085
Tipton Green 9,738
Wednesbury North 9,176
Wednesbury South 9,265
Oldbury 9,218
Greets Green and Lyng 7,702
SANDWELL NORTH WEST 72,810

Castle Bromwich 9,271
Chelmsley Wood 9,236
Kingshurst and Fordbridge 9,455
Smith’s Wood 8,966
Shard End 18,579
Sheldon 16,075
Bickenhill (north) 6,527
CASTLE BROMWICH 78,109

Knowle 8,412
Dorridge and Hockley Heath 8,823
Meriden 9,499
Blythe 10,239
Bickenhill (south) 3,000
to Warwickshire 39,973

Elmdon 9,424
Lyndon 10,097
Olton 9,809
St Alphege 10,510
Shirley East 8,906
Shirley South 10,015
Shirley West 9,315
Silhill 9,278
SOLIHULL 77,354

Aldridge Central and South 10,907
Aldridge North and Walsall Wood 10,134
Brownhills 9,537
Pheasey Park Farm 8,728
Pelsall 9,061
Streetly 10,901
Rushall-Shelfield 8,966
Paddock 9,563
ALDRIDGE-BROWNHILLS 77,797

Bentley and Darlaston North 9,099
Birchills Leamore 9,361
Blakenall 8,402
Bloxwich East 8,563
Bloxwich West 9,709
Palfrey 10,272
Pleck 9,376
St Matthew’s 9,706
WALSALL TOWN 74,488

Darlaston South 9,338
Short Heath 9,086
Willenhall North 9,578
Willenhall South 10,769
Wednesfield North 8,839
Wednesfield South 8,413
Bilston East 9,038
Bilston North 8,790
BILSTON AND WILLENHALL 73,851

Tettenhall Regis 9,257
Tettenhall Wightwick 9,123
Heath Town 7,386
Fallings Park 8,979
Bushbury North 9,071
Bushbury South and Low Hill 8,864
St Peter’s 6,407
Oxley 8,802
Park less Merridale 5,725
WOLVERHAMPTON NORTH 73,614

Merridale from Park 2,000
Blakenhall 8,160
East Park 8,677
Ettingshall 8,694
Graiseley 7,994
Merry Hill 9,361
Penn 9,979
Spring Vale 8,735
Coseley East 9,657
WOLVERHAMPTON SOUTH 73,257

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Birmingham’s orphans

In Birmingham,redistricting on September 20, 2011 by dadge

In past reviews, local authority areas were reviewed individually, and combined into larger review areas only in extremis. This time, although the Commission was encouraged to adopt the same policy, it hasn’t been practical because of the 5% rule and the presumption against splitting wards. The effect has been to create many orphans, and I’m going to take Birmingham as an example.

In electoral geography, an orphan is an area which is “removed” from its county, borough or district and given to a different area.

In the proposals (pdf), Birmingham loses four wards:
Shard End, to Meriden (Solihull borough)
Oscott, to Walsall South
Sheldon, to Solihull
and Soho, to Smethwick (Sandwell borough)

and gains two wards:
Old Warley, from Sandwell
and Castle Bromwich, from Solihull.

Why do I say this has happened because of the 5% rule? Well, Birmingham has an electorate of 731,731. This appears to entitle the city to 10 seats with an average electorate of 73,173. In the past that wouldn’t’ve been a problem. You could, for example, have a Harborne seat made up of 4 Birmingham wards with an electorate of 69,213. But now that’s not allowed – we’re faced with the task of dividing the city up without any of the seats having an electorate below 72,810. So the Commission has tacked* Old Warley onto Harborne to make the numbers up.

I asked Lewis Baston if this process of creating orphans has a name and he mentioned “tacking”, so tacking it is. 🙂 (Maybe it should be “tacking-on” but tacking is neater.)

Unless the law is changed, the only alternative to tacking would be to split wards. The Commission has scrupulously avoided this in its proposals, but during the review process we’re going to see lots of counter-proposals with split wards in them, and I’m sure the revised proposals, when they come out next year, will include quite a few. I’m not sure in Birmingham’s case. It would get very messy. I think the best we can hope for is to try and tidy up the eastern edge of the city, where every ward is an orphan.

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The New Review

In Birmingham on September 12, 2011 by dadge

Well, the embargo didn’t survive for long. The one on the English Parliamentary Boundary Review, I mean. Just a few hours after MPs got their copies and the rumours began to swirl, blogger Guido got his hands on the PDFs and posted them on his site.

I went immediately to the West Midlands report, and it’s clear straight away from a quick look at North Birmingham that the rules have changed:

Until today, there is no way the Commission would have recommended such weird constituencies. But David Cameron has told them that equality of electors should trump other factors and so it appears they’ve allowed their computer programs free rein… Should make for fun public meetings! (The Birmingham meetings will be held at the Copthorne Hotel on 3/4 November and you will need to register if you want to take part – I think two days might not quite be enough…)