Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Labour Lords a Sleeping

Now some may call it pillow talk as a result of the all night sitting of the House of Lords. But it does appear as if some of them weren't half talking some nonsense through the night.

While I was sleeping one of my friends posted on Facebook that some Labour Peer has said:

"[Labour] now claiming that no present or future seat crosses county/local government boundaries."

This echoes something that was written yesterday for the Guardian  by Lewis Baston:

"The new boundary rules, as I have written at length elsewhere, are likely to produce a complicated and flawed new political map of Britain. The government's insistence on constituencies being a maximum of 5% away from the average size of 76,000 electors means that county boundaries will be crossed, local government wards split between parliamentary constituencies, and seats drawn up in defiance of community identity and sometimes of common sense."

May I draw both of their attentions to the seat where I have lived for most of the past decade and indeed stood as a candidate in both times it has been contested; Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

It does actually reside across two local authority areas, West Lothian and Falkirk Councils, but the multiplicity is worse than that. In Scotland of course we have Scottish constituencies, there was a danger on the first draft of the Scottish Parliamentary Boundaries that there would be three different constituency MSPs to be dealt with. In addition we have members for the regional list, two of which Lothians and Central Scotland already cause a split in Linlithgow and East Falkirk.

There are also two Health Boards (Lothian and Forth Valley), two police forces (Lothian & Borders and Central), the education is administered by Unitary Authority area so again two etc. So the hard working MP has to be sure just where in the constituency a constituent comes from to beware of addressing this matter to the right authority. Sadly the postcode of the constituents address is not going to be a guide. Though by in large the EH postcodes tend towards Edinburgh and Lothians and the FK ones towards Falkirk and Central, what about poor Bo'ness with its EH51 postcode?

Of course the fact that such confusion affects one of their own MPs fails to impress their Labour Lordships and Ladyships, as does the fact that this boundary review was carried out as part of Labour legislation. But it does seem to have interested them no end in the wee small hours as a reason to take up time to delay the 'Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill'.

If this is one erroneous argument being used by them that I have picked up in a cursory glance heavens knows how much else I might find if I actually look, that is merely time wasting and filibustering.

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