Parliamentary Boundary Changes – When 3 Become 2
I suppose it was to be expected that eventually, after decades out in the wilderness, the Conservatives would force Parliamentary Boundary changes upon the nation in a bid to make sure that they remain in power for a very long time to come.
The Tories now have the added pressure of protecting their yellow friends, the Liberal Democrats, who could become all but extinct when our nation has the chance of exacting revenge on Clegg and his cronies through the ballot box for their widespread treachery in accepting their 30 pieces of silver.
On 5th May 2011 [the same day as the all out council elections in Stoke-on-Trent] we the nation, get to vote on an Alternative Voting system which could spell the end of the “Ëœfirst past the post’ system for general elections.
The referendum on AV is a part of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill which also contains proposals for a review of parliamentary constituency boundaries.
The Bill has been approved by MPs and despite the best efforts of Labour’s Lord Falconer of Thoroton, who nearly succeeded in getting the bill deferred which would have resulted in the Bill missing it’s February 24 2011 deadline, the House of Lords voted in favour.
The Labour Party had promised a referendum on AV in their manifesto but have voted against the bill in protest at what they see as a rigging of the Parliamentary Boundaries in favour of the Tories.
The Bill proposes, amongst other things, a reduction in the number of MPs from 650 to 600. It also recommends that each seat has around 75000 constituents; a proposal which the Labour Party argue would cost them around 20 seats.
But what of the implications for the 3 Parliamentary seats for Stoke-on-Trent, Stoke-on-Trent North, Stoke-on-Trent Central and Stoke-on-Trent South?
Talking to various sources in the know, there is a strong feeling that Stoke-on-Trent would lose a constituency, probably Central.
Stoke-on-Trent North would take in parts of the leafy suburbs of the Staffordshire Moorlands with a cut off around the Council ward of East Valley/Milton.
Stoke-on-Trent South would probably expand to take in the affluent parts of Staffordshire County Council, such as Stone, Hilderstone and Meir Heath and would end just after what is currently know as the Abbey Green council ward.
The net result is the City will almost definitely lose one Member of Parliament and the Labour Party will need to be at the top of their game and the polls to return the status quo of total domination of the Labour Party across the constituencies of our city.
The Labour party would probably insist that one of the two Stoke-on-Trent Constituencies be an all woman short list which leaves two candidates to fight it out for the other remaining nomination.
If that decision had to be taken now, despite his elevation to a senior post on the opposition benches, I feel that the party locally would opt for the charismatic Tristram Hunt as opposed to Rob Flello.
Talking to local party activists, I think that after the actions of Rob Flello post general election in the so called reorganisation of his office staff and the subsequent departure of senior, enormously well respected employees, Mr Flello’s popularity among his own is at an all time low.
In contrast to that, I understand that Tristram Hunt has built a great team in Stoke-on-Trent Central and that meetings are now enormously well attended and very interesting and engaging for party members.
I’m told there is little or no campaigning going on in Stoke-on-Trent South organised by Mr Flello’s team, whereas in Stoke-on-Trent Central Tristram and his team are out at every available opportunity knocking on doors and meeting the public and gauging their opinions.
So in summary, I liken the current situation to the pre championship fight build up between heavyweight boxers David Haye and Audley Harrison.
Both promised that the contest would be close with little between them.
In truth only one came out fighting, looked mean and lean and took the opportunity to stop his opponent at the earliest convenience.
The other had little to offer, never landed a telling blow and lost the support of his army of fans.
Enough said? I leave you to draw your own conclusions..