Archive for the ‘North West’ Category

Articles

Saving Chester

In boundary changes,Cheshire,North West on December 17, 2012 by dadge

As far as I can see, if the Commission insist on using the temporary 2010 wards for redistricting Cheshire, there’s only one way of forming a seat that doesn’t split Chester and Ellesmere Port.

That’s to have the Broxton and Eddisbury wards with the Chester city wards. This is not ideal, since the Gowy (Tarvin) ward is between Chester and the Eddisbury (Tarporley) ward, but it’s a workable solution. The Gowy and Mickle Trafford wards then go into a Runcorn seat. Dividing Halton between its two towns of Runcorn and Widnes is as least as good an arrangement as the dividing of Halton between 4 seats under the Commission’s proposals. Weaver ward goes into a Northwich & Winsford seat.

Note that in order to create a seat of the required size, Ellesmere Port is paired with Neston and Heswall rather than with Bromborough and Eastham.

The Congleton and Crewe & Nantwich seats could stay as they are, with the Cholmondley ward in the Northwich & Winsford seat, but in order to make that seat more compact I suggest putting Middlewich into it, Cholmondley going into Crewe & Nantwich and Doddington being transferred from Crewe & Nantwich to the Congleton seat.

Finally, Warrington would now be divided between 3 seats, with the Great Sankey area in with Widnes and most of the town south of the Mersey in with Knutsford.

cheshire

Revised electorates

Wirral 76,342

Ellesmere Port & Heswall 72,837

City of Chester 79,723

Runcorn 79,737

Widnes 80,283

Warrington North 80,168

Warrington South & Knutsford 80,242

Northwich 74,271

Macclesfield 80,265

Congleton 76,345

Crewe & Nantwich 77,337

Update: if the Commission were willing to do a Gloucestershire, the above pattern could be tweaked by moving wards between the Runcorn, Northwich (Eddisbury) and Chester seats to produce version 2, which would also remove the need to change the Crewe and Congleton seats, or even version 3, which is the most similar to the current constituencies, although it’d be a shame not to use such an opportunity to unite Northwich in one seat.

Both these version require the inclusion of the Kelsall and Ashton Hayes parishes – electorate (2008) 2,893 – in the Northwich (Eddisbury) seat. These parishes are in the north east corner of the Gowy ward (See star on map).

 

Version 2

cheshire 2

Revised electorates:

City of Chester 78,709

Runcorn 78,284

Eddisbury (Northwich) 77,755

Crewe & Nantwich 78,845

Congleton 73,820

 

Version 3

cheshire 3

Revised electorates:

City of Chester 80,135

Runcorn 77,768

Tatton (Warrington South & Knutsford) 79,967

Eddisbury (Northwich) 77,120

Congleton 73,820

Crewe & Nantwich 78,845

 

And finally, an attempt to put the Halton and Warrington seats back how they are, if that’s what you prefer…

The basic point is that a single ward-split, as well as allowing Chester and Ellesmere Port to be unsplit, gives plenty of choice about how to configure seats elsewhere in the county.

cheshire 4

Revised electorates:

Halton (Runcorn & Widnes) 79,618

Warrington North 77,975

Warrington South 80,257

Tatton 80,336

Articles

Save Denton!

In boundary changes,Manchester,North West on November 22, 2011 by dadge

One of the quickest campaigns to get going in response to the boundary review was Andrew Gwynne‘s campaign to “Save Denton”. Not that the Commission has recommended splitting Denton, you understand, but I suppose it’s better to be safe than sorry.

I’m afraid Denton is split under my counter-proposal, and being a reasonable sort of chap, I’ve had a look at how that might be avoided.

It would involve crossing the Stockport-Tameside border twice instead of once, but there are two three reasonably good solutions:

Version 1

Ashton 79,780
Longdendale 77,000 (est.)
Stockport West & Denton 79,038
Stockport East 77,549 (est.)
Cheadle 72,826

Dukinfield and Mossley are in the Ashton seat:

The Longdendale (a.k.a. Stalybridge) seat includes Marple, whilst Bredbury, Romiley and High Lane are in the Stockport East seat.

Version 2 is almost the same except Bredbury is in the Longdendale seat and Marple is in Stockport East:

Update: Version 3

Ashton & Stalybridge 79,814 (includes Dukinfield & Mossley)
Denton & Reddish 74,223 (includes Droylsden & Audenshaw)
Hyde & Marple 76,309 (includes Bredbury & Romiley)
Stockport Central & Hazel Grove 79,543 (est.)
Cheadle 76,304 (est.)

North East Cheshire in 1922

Articles

Is Halton the whipping boy?

In Birmingham,Cheshire,Merseyside,North West,redistricting on October 20, 2011 by dadge

One of the consequences of the 5% Law is that particular communities get, what’s the best word, leeched? cannibalised? to satisfy the needs of the Boundary Commission. Depending on which metaphor you prefer, their blood or their body parts are removed to give life to constituencies in bigger neighbours. (The technical term I use for this is tacking.)

The relationship of Cheshire to Halton (a council formed from the towns of Widnes and Runcorn) is a case in point. In order to satisfy the requirement for electoral equality – and god forbid that anyone might split a ward instead – the Commission and the political parties have all come up with plans that butcher/drain the district.

Halton has an electorate of 92,550 so at least 12,000 voters do have to find a home in another constituency, and currently some Runcorn wards are in the Weaver Vale seat. That seat’s being abolished, so another home needs to be found. In my plan Cheshire is “full up” so I’ve put some Widnes wards in the St Helen’s South seat.

Whether you like that or not, at least I’ve maintained the principle of only dividing Halton between two seats. Dividing Halton between three seats, as under the Boundary Commission or Lib Dem plans, or four (!) seats, as under the Tory and Labour plans, is unfortunate to say the least, and is not a product of any deep thought about the ties that particular wards have with neighbouring areas*, but simply about making the numbers up in other seats.

*Notice that some of the areas that the main proposals link Halton with are hardly “neighbouring” at all, such is the desperation that is caused by the mania not to split any Cheshire wards. The Commission links Ditton with Bromborough (20 miles), Labour link Beechwood with Chester (15 miles), and the Tories link the eastern edge of Runcorn with Alderley Edge (20 miles).

And the same thing is happening around the country, where, for example, instead of reviewing Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds on their own, with a couple of split wards in each, the Commission is leeching their smaller neighbours.

If splitting wards causes a bit of suffering to the communities in these cities or in Cheshire, isn’t that at least fairer than causing suffering to the communities in their neighbouring areas, whose only crime is to live nextdoor, and where towns are being divided just in order to make life a bit easier for the Commission and its political allies?

If you’d like to make a comment to the Commission about its policy with regard to tacking, you can email them.

Articles

Everything Cumbria

In Cumbria,Labour,Lib Dems,North West,redistricting,Tories on October 17, 2011 by dadge

Proposals:
Boundary Commission
Carlisle 79,030
Workington & Keswick 80,266
Kendal & Penrith 79,685
Copeland & Windermere 77,712
Barrow 73,677

Liberal Democrats
Carlisle 79,030
Penrith & Cockermouth 75,525
Whitehaven & Workington 80,314
Westmorland & Lonsdale 78,526
Barrow & Furness 76,975

Conservative
Carlisle 79,030
Penrith & Solway 76,325
Workington & Whitehaven 78,284
Westmorland & Lonsdale 76,274
Barrow & Furness 80,457

Labour
Carlisle 78,966
Penrith & The Border 74,211
West Cumberland 79,311
Westmorland & Lonsdale 77,425
Barrow 80,457

I haven’t checked the figures, though I can see that the Labour electorate for Westmorland & Lonsdale is wrong.

Not much difference between the parties really – they all agree that the Commission is wrong to continue to try to have separate Workington and Whitehaven seats. The Coalition proposals are very similar to that posted by greatkingrat on 2nd September. I can’t see much connection beween Penrith and Cockermouth, but that’s a minor problem compared to the faults in the Commission’s plan, to wit:

1. Barrow seat contains an unconnected part (the Grange area)

2. There isn’t much connection between the Lake District and the towns on the coast

3. Kendal and Penrith have been put together but cut off from the areas they serve to their west.

I think any of the three party counterproposals would be better than that. It’d be good to keep Appleby in the Penrith seat, but I can’t see a way to do it.

Edit: I’d forgotten about this, by Philip Davies, which is very nice:

 

The public enquiry into the new boundaries continues tomorrow (Tuesday 18 October) at Carlisle Civic Centre, but the message to the Commission seems pretty clear already.

Articles

Conservative counterproposals – North West England

In Cheshire,Lancashire,Manchester,North West,redistricting,Tories on October 16, 2011 by dadge

Although the Tories’ ideas are, on the whole, a bit better than both the Commission’s and Labour’s, it’s still disappointing that they’ve endorsed the Commission’s methodology. I suppose it’s difficult for the governing party to discredit in any way a supra-governmental (or is it extra-governmental?) body, but on the other hand they are the people who are best placed to do something about the incompetence of the Commission.

Endorsing the Commission’s methodology brings them into direct conflict not only with common sense, but also with their local organisations and MPs. At the Chester hearings, MPs and party members lined up to criticise their own party’s counterproposals regarding Poynton, Henbury, Ellesmere Port, and Chester itself, inasmuch as those counterproposals endorse the Commission’s plans. Shame on their craven central office for hanging them out to dry! Why leave it to your individual MPs and councillors (as well as those few members of the public who understand the process) to suggest that the emperor is parading in the altogether?

Because of Cheshire’s unique position at this Review (a non-metropolitan county with wards of over 10,000 electors each) the counterproposal is bound to be a failure if it doesn’t split any wards. Without splitting wards, the obvious idea of moving the Groves, Weaver and Boughton Heath wards clockwise into the seats they really belong in is made impossible by the fact that it would give Chester an electorate of  80,769. The Guide to the Review does say that ward-splitting may be justified under exceptional circumstances and Cheshire has the most exceptional circumstances in England!

***

I had to laugh when, after reading this:

“We disagree with the principle of crossing the Mersey at a point with no transport links. The proposed Mersey Banks seat appears to be in conflict with the Commission’s own guidance, contained in the Guide to the 2013 Review, on detached parts. Our plan enables the Mersey Banks seat to extend eastwards
towards Runcorn rather than crossing the Mersey at a point with no links.”

…I noticed that their Warrington South seat has two unlinked parts! And their Tatton seat almost does as well, the only link between Runcorn and the rest of the seat being Newton Lane. It’s also difficult to see the link between Cliviger and Pendle, but the general pattern in East Lancs is good.

Their proposals make some headway on addressing the excessive border- and town-splititng of the Commisssion’s proposals, but they leave some new problems: Reddish, Chadderton, Royton, Clayton and Bredbury are all split, and arrangements in North Manchester are not ideal.

Articles

Chester hearings report

In Cheshire,News,North West on October 15, 2011 by dadge

Well, it was an interesting afternoon, and the 3-hour round trip was definitely worth it. I arrived just after 1, just in time to see the current and former MPs for Macclesfield, David Rutley and Nick Winterton, giving their talks.

At 1.45, just after I’d been told that I was about to be called to speak, the phone rang from Birmingham for my live interview with Ed Doolan on Radio WM. I was a bit distracted, but it went okay. My presentation to the hearing went well, I think (It was certainly different!) and the speakers who immediately followed me mentioned that they supported what I’d had to say. I didn’t have any notes for my talk, so you’ll just have to imagine what I said 🙂 but it included my counterproposals for Cheshire.

David Rutley, Nick Winterton and some local colour

Other speakers included Richard Soper, Charles Fifield, Laurence Clarke, Derek Twigg MP, Terry Largan, Gareth Anderson, Stewart Gardiner, Chris Ward and Gabor Bartos.

Gabor, a former mayor of Poynton, spoke about how the town had been “faithful” to Cheshire when the Tories threatened to put it in Greater Manchester, which reminded me immediately of the story of the Sopron plebiscite. Poynton, Cheshire’s answer to Sopron? Now, there’s a thought.

There weren’t many members of the public who’d “just come in off the street” as it were, but there were a few, which was good to see, and the AC made them especially welcome.

I had a slight run-in with the MP for Halton, Derek Twigg, when I noticed that he was criticising the Commission for proposing to split Halton between 3 seats. I asked him what his thoughts are on his party’s counter-proposal, to which he replied “I haven’t come here to discuss that.” And no wonder! His own party proposes to split Halton between 4 seats!

That, plus the fact that I criticised Labour’s proposals in my talk, plus the fact that the event was dominated by Tories, meant I started to feel a bit like I was turning into a Tory…*

The reality is that the Tories must take most of the blame for getting us into this mess into the first place. They’re the party of government and they and the Commission were responsible for laying down the terms of reference for the current Review. It’d be nice if Stephen Mosley and David Rutley now try to dig a bit deeper into finding out whether it really was their government’s intention to make the Review so farcical.

Mark Savill, the Assistant Commissioner, appears to be very good. I’m not sure how he was briefed, but he seemed interested in all the metadiscussion about whether wards can be split and whether the 2011 wards can be used.

It was noticeable that he would not allow any discussion of counter-proposals, except when they were being presented by a speaker. This seemed a shame (How can the Commission evaluate them if they aren’t discussed?) but I sense the reason is that it’s to avoid confusion. All the counter-proposals will be made available early next year, but it would be good to be able to discuss them as well as just to comment on them.

Anyway, one man cleverly got round this restriction by changing his phrasing from “What Labour proposes…” to “If anyone proposes…”. Ha!

*At least I wasn’t wearing a suit. If you haven’t seen Zelig, I recommend it.

Articles

Labour counterproposals – North West England

In Cheshire,Labour,Lancashire,Manchester,Merseyside,North West,redistricting on October 13, 2011 by dadge

After another eye-straining session with MS Paint, I’ve done maps of Labour’s proposals for constituencies in Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire:

There are a few minor innaccuracies in their report (e.g. I’ve already found a couple of electorates that are wrong) but this their list as they presented it:

Bootle & Kirkdale 74046
Knowsley* 79334
Liverpool Riverside 76061
Liverpool Walton & Edge Hill 78563
Liverpool West Derby 74732
Sefton Central 77093
Southport** 77555
St Helens North* 75688
St Helens South & Whiston* 78612
Wavertree & Halewood 79659
Birkenhead 74605
Wallasey & Hoylake 76171
Wirral South 77735
North West Cheshire 75507
Congleton* 73820
Crewe & Nantwich* 78845
Ellesmere Port & West Runcorn 76208
Macclesfield 78711
Mid Cheshire 73971
North Cheshire 74092
South West Cheshire 73436
Warrington North 74877
Widnes & Warrington West 80283
Altrincham & Sale West 74199
Cheadle & Poynton 74618
Hazel Grove & Bollington 73260
Ashton-under-Lyne 73668
Blackley & Broughton 79909
Bolton South** 78550
Bolton West 80265
Bury Central & Heywood 74646
Denton & Reddish 74223
Leigh* 77001
Makerfield* 74856
Manchester Central 78616
Manchester Gorton* 74681
Manchester Withington* 73656
Oldham East & Saddleworth 80433
Oldham West & Middleton 80295
Bury South* 75140
Rochdale* 77699
Salford & Eccles* 76863
Stalybridge & Hyde 80177
Stockport 72884
Stretford & Urmston** 77813
Wigan* 76779
Worsley & Eccles South* 73409
Wythenshawe & Sale East* 75602
Bolton North & Darwen 80132
Rossendale & Ramsbottom 78380
Blackburn 78049
Blackpool North & Fleetwood** 80400
Blackpool South** 80402
Burnley & Nelson 80105
Chorley** 79612
Clitheroe & Colne 79877
Fylde** 78304
Garstang & Carnforth 80344
Hyndburn & Padiham 79376
Morecambe & Lancaster 80278
Preston 79330
South Ribble 80058
West Lancashire 79205

Labour’s counterproposal is a curate’s egg: good in parts. As I was drawing the map, now and again I’d think “That’s a good idea”, but a minute later it’d be LOL OMG YCBS…

Labour’s mantra may be “minimum change”, and their proposals may indeed be less radical on average than the Commission’s, but it seems that beacsue they’ve been concentrating on getting certain areas the way they want them, some areas have been left to go hang. The mincing of Runcorn is a case in point, and their Middleton seat vies with the Commission’s as to which is more risible. I thought the idea of putting Cheshire’s northern boundary back to where it was before 1933 was quite sweet, until I noticed there’s a big hole in the seat where they’ve tacked Lymm onto Altrincham.

In the north of the region they’ve done a better job, but what’s with the two new seats of Preston-Central-with-random-bits-of-South-Ribble and Preston North & Morecambe Bay?

towns split between 2 seats: Formby**, West Kirby, Chester, Ellesmere Port**, Cheadle Hulme, Bredbury**, Middleton, Rochdale**, Eccles*, Preston**

towns split between 3 seats: Runcorn, Warrington, Sale, Oldham, Bolton, Bury

orphan wards: Heswall (Wirral)**, Beechwood (Halton), Cholmondeley (Crewe & Nantwich)*, Lymm (Warrington), Poynton (Macclesfield)**, Bollington & Disley (Macclesfield), Atherton (Wigan)*, Tottington (Bury), Chipping (Ribble Valley)

districts divided between 4 seats: Wirral**, Halton, Warrington, Stockport*

districts divided between 7 seats: Cheshire East

* same as current constituencies

** same as Boundary Commission proposals