Archive for the ‘Lib Dems’ Category


Grant Shapps on BBC Sunday Politics

In boundary changes,Lib Dems,Tories on October 14, 2012 by dadge



Tory Conference Special

In boundary changes,Lib Dems,Tories on October 9, 2012 by dadge

I’m at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham this week and I’m enjoying myself touring the fringe events. It’s a good opportunity to ask a few questions about the soon-to-be defunct(?) boundary review…

Bye Bye Boundary Changes – Bye Bye General Election Victory?

Is it all the Lib Dems’ fault?

Have the turkeys banned Christmas?

MPs put themselves ahead of the party?

Was the new law too aggressive?

Can anything be salvaged?

What are your answers? Don’t keep them to yourself!


Two wrongs don’t make a right

In boundary changes,House of Lords,Lib Dems on July 16, 2012 by dadge

I’ve voted Liberal Democrat many times, and I was happy at the prospect of a Tory-Lib Dem coalition, but the party is losing all respect and the coalition is descending into farce.

For over a year, commentators have been suggesting that Lib Dems might vote against the 2013 boundary review, but I dismissed this as naive prattling. Therefore it’s with increasing dismay that I’ve started hearing the same idea coming from the horse’s mouth. I suppose this is a result of increasing frustration at the way the coalition cookie is crumbling.

Some in the party are sore at what’s happening to Lords reform (after already having suffered humiliating defeat over AV) and, from a position of extreme weakness, are looking for a way of asserting themselves. But they only have themselves to blame: the package of constitutional change they got into the coalition agreement was half-baked.

To wit: no-one really wanted AV. And we don’t want a House of Lords elected by PR that’ll be more representative than the House of Commons. We don’t want a House of Lords with 15-year terms. We don’t want a House of Lords full of party apparatchiks. And we don’t want an elected House of Lords with unelected bishops. I support the coalition but I would run a mile before voting for the bill that Nick Clegg has laid before parliament.

Menzies Campbell has been on TV saying he’s against he’s “against tit-for-tat politics” but counters this by saying that “if you’re a Lib Dem MP whose seat has been carved up as a result of the boundary proposals, then the idea that you would simply march into the lobby in support of the Conservative government’s particular anxiety to obtain this piece of legislation is one that may be very hard to swallow. I don’t believe that it will be accepted that we will simply form up in the way that some people think. I think there’ll be a lot of hard talking going on.”

It’s not hard to see what’s wrong with this line of argument. First, he’s suggesting that MPs might vote against the boundary changes for personal reasons. Second, he’s saying that the boundary changes are nothing to do with me, guv. So desperate is he to dissociate himself from the policy that he refers to the coalition as “the Conservative government”!

Don’t forget we’re not comparing like with like here. As far as the Lib Dems are concerned, the Boundary Review bird has already flown. They voted for the bill two years ago, and all that’s going on now is that an independent commission is enacting the reforms they supported. I think a judicial review is required to check that that commission is doing its job properly, but once the review is complete the job of parliament is simply to rubber-stamp the new boundaries. Anything else is politicking of the worst kind, the kind demonstrated by the Labour Party in 1969.


Full steam ahead

In boundary changes,Labour,Lib Dems,Tories on April 23, 2012 by dadge

Kevin Meagher wrote, on 5/1/12:

Boundary review, reviewed

Something […] that will bite the dust in 2012 is the parliamentary boundary review. This was a rash promise by Cameron to slash 50 seats in order to “reduce the cost of politics” at the height of Westminster’s expenses scandal. The figure was entirely arbitrary, so the new proposed boundaries are a dog’s breakfast. And the electoral advantage the Tories confidently predicted is not looking as attractive as first thought.

The seats of six cabinet ministers would be axed, including Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam seat and George Osborne’s berth in leafy Knutsford. The last election was fought on fresh boundaries so there is, technically, no need to fiddle again for a decade. Eventually the government’s political antennae will twitch and the whole thing will be dropped. There is too much political fixing needed to keep everyone happy. The government has better things to worry about.

My response:

1. The figure of 50 seats was not “entirely arbitrary”. Both the decision to cut, and the decision that it would be 50, were made on the basis of Tory research on how best to make the system work more to the their advantage. “Reducing the cost of politics” was a convenient smokescreen.

2. The new seats are a “dog’s breakfast” but this is because of the radically new rules being used by the Boundary Commission, again decided on by the Tories to make the system work more to their advantage. The new system has at its heart the concept of “cracking” – which you should be au fait with – which tends to favour the Tories.

3. The new seats will be somewhat better for the Tories than the current ones. DGMW, the FPTP system will still favour Labour for the time being, but the precedent the changes are setting will gradually erode that advantage over the years.

4. Pickles and co. made the changes a priority in order to reduce and eventually eliminate Labour’s built-in electoral advantage as quickly as possible. They want to redraw the boundaries every five years in order to achieve this. At some point they must’ve briefed their MPs about the rationale behind this, and the fact that some of them will have to suffer for the benefit of the party. Trouble is, some of them will go rogue e.g. Dorries.

5. Considering how important the changes are to the Tory Project, there’s no way that Cameron will drop the whole thing, and the LibDems are too weak to challenge it, even though by supporting the changes they are tying the noose even tighter round their own neck. The opposition to the project must come from Labour, but instead of mounting an effective campaign, Greg Cook went round the country in the autumn licking the Boundary Commission’s arse.


Everything Cumbria

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

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

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

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.


Local leaflets

I’m trying to remember to scan all the election literature we’ve received…

Con 1 Con 2

Lab 1 Lab 2 Lab 3

LibDem 1


Posted April 27, 2010 by dadge