Have your say on bound­ary changes

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - STANDARD VIEW - Greg Parker Niths­dale View Thorn­hill

Sir – There ap­pears to have been lit­tle lo­cal com­ment or de­bate about the Bound­ary Com­mis­sion for Scot­land’s pro­posed changes to the con­stituen­cies in which we live and the fi­nal date for re­spond­ing (De­cem­ber 11) is rapidly ap­proach­ing.

Read­ers will re­call that the con­sul­ta­tion is tak­ing place as the UK Gov­ern­ment seeks to re­duce the num­ber of MPs to 600 and make all con­stituen­cies have elec­torates of be­tween 71,031 and 78,507.

In our re­gion the BCS con­tin­ues to tinker with con­stituency names and slice up wards (Lochar and Mid and Up­per Niths­dale). The lat­ter sim­ply ap­pears to be to meet the seem­ingly pretty ar­bi­trary but legally re­quired elec­torate num­bers, rather than take ac­count of our com­mu­ni­ties.

That may be okay for the num­ber crunch­ers in their Ed­in­burgh of­fice but is more of a con­cern for lo­cal peo­ple who feel part of nat­u­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

The orig­i­nal pro­pos­als were for one con­stituency in our re­gion to be called Dum­fries and Gal­loway and is now for it to be Gal­loway and Dum­fries.

The other was to be called Cly­des­dale and Eskdale but the pro­posal is that it now be called Dum­friesshire and La­nark­shire South East.

De­spite past and cur­rent con­tro­ver­sies about par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, I’m still baf­fled as to why the num­ber of MPs is be­ing re­duced whilst the pop­u­la­tion grows in­creas­ing the num­ber of peo­ple they rep­re­sent and their caseloads.

Also, why the House of Lords has been al­lowed to grow to around 800 whilst re­main­ing un­elected, un­ac­count­able and, all too of­ten, el­e­va­tion to the Lords be­ing the re­ward for party faith­ful­ness or do­na­tions.

I’m also still try­ing to fathom out why forms of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion have been considered ap­pro­pri­ate for elec­tions to the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and lo­cal elec­tions here in Scot­land but the first past the post sys­tem is main­tained for the UK par­lia­ment, which in ef­fect means that mar­ginal con­stituen­cies hold the real power,

Those mis­giv­ings about our democ­racy will, I hope, be dealt with at some point but the im­me­di­ate need is to make sure that we try to in­flu­ence the Bound­ary Com­mis­sion for Scot­land in their cur­rent con­stituency pro­pos­als as it will be a good while be­fore we get an­other chance. Their web­site is www.bcs2018.org.uk and they can be emailed at com­ments@ scot­tish­bound­aries.gov.uk.

Seat of power The Houses of Par­lia­ment where the num­ber of MPs is to be re­duced

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