Politically Correct by Alan Vincent

Boundary changes will fix bias to Labour Party

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 14th September 2016, 11:26 am
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 3:58 pm
Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council
Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council

This week we will see the proposals from the latest round of Parliamentary Boundary changes which will affect our local constituencies.

Not only will the boundaries be re-drawn but the number of seats will shrink from 650 to 600, reversing the incremental growth in seats we have seen since 1922.

The idea behind the reduction is to lessen the cost of politics by seeing 50 fewer MPs. This will mean each MP, with a couple of notable exceptions, will represent a greater number of constituents.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

In redistributing seats, the aim is to level the playing field. Wales for instance is currently over-represented compared to England, similarly city seats tend to have fewer voters per MP than shire seats.

This creates a bias in our voting system that favours the Labour Party, who get more MPs for fewer votes than other parties.

This is democratically unfair and has given Labour an unfair advantage. Pre SNP surge, using the website electoral calculus, if both Conservatives and Labour polled 30 per cent each, Labour would have 57 more MPs than the Conservatives.

This cannot be right for democracy under our current system – PR, alternative vote, STV systems aside and open for another debate – this needs ironing out.

The new regulations cater for an on-going review every five years to ensure all Parliamentary seats are within a few per cent of tolerance of an average number of voters, ensuring one vote is worth pretty much the same as someone else’s vote in another part of our country.

Having looked at the proposals I believe they seem very fair locally; creating three Fylde and Wyre seats of roughly the same size.

Blackpool North will join with Fleetwood and take in all of Thornton.

Blackpool South will take three town centre wards from Blackpool North and two from Fylde. While Fylde will take the four wards on Poulton.

The old Wyre and Preston North seat will become a North Lancashire seat, but not including Lancaster. Some tinkering around the edge, some major changes, but equal size Parliamentary seats should be a democratic concept we all embrace.

Library closures are political

So, what we thought was going to be the case came true. Labour’s public consultation on their library closure plan was a sham.

Nothing changed, despite the public outcry, despite the petitions, despite the submissions, despite the hard work of the friends groups, and despite the alternative plan suggested by Wyre Conservative Councillors.

Labour are bulldozing ahead with the massive closure plan which will see Thornton and Cleveleys Libraries shut.

This is despite the county’s annual underspend of short of £1m, or the £15m they forgot about, or the fact their annual budget is just over £2bn, or the fact that an alternative Conservative budget in March showed a balanced budget without any library closures.

The old saying where there is a will there is a way should apply here.

If there was a will for Labour at Lancashire to keep our libraries open then a way would have been found.

It is clear in my mind why Thornton and Cleveleys libraries are to shut, and that is political, pure and simple.

With elections coming up, Labour need a big hit to attract votes in an area that does not normally vote Labour.

However, I am more convinced than ever that this ploy will backfire.

Local people don’t like having the wool pulled over their eyes, and this is exactly what Labour are doing.

Still on track

People who live in the north of the Fylde coast have been very patient over the last umpteen years waiting for an A585 relief road.

We were all very grateful when the Cameron Government, at the behest of our hard working local MPs Paul Maynard and Ben Wallace, announced a £50m scheme for a dual carriage way which will by-pass the current road from Windy Harbour to the Skippool junction.

Since the announcement you may be forgiven for thinking not much has happened, but I can assure you behind the scenes plenty has.

Highways England hasdrawn up extensive plans and have put plenty of effort into progressing the scheme.

I and others have had regular updates from our MPs as they’ve kept the pressure on. The public consultation has now opened, with two options published. These options will be discussed before ministers make a decision.

There is also an open exhibition being held on September 21 at the Civic Centre in Poulton between 4 and 8pm, which I urge people to attend.

This road improvement has been long awaited and looking at the proposals I firmly believe they will improve considerably the congestion on the A585 making life better for residents, commuters, and businesses.