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Flashcards in Electoral Geography Deck (20):

What is gerrymandering?

manipulation of electoral boundaries for partisan advantage


Where does gerrymandering happen a lot?

- example- 3rd Congressional district, Maryland
- get away with it because both parties do it and boundaries change frequently
- Voting Rights Acts 1965 used as an excuse


How is party politics linked to territory?

- Areas linked to Labour or Conservative
- I.e Inner London is a Labour area
- However, often overexaggerated- i.e South is Tory and North is Labour


How are some areas better represented than others?

- Different amount of people per MP
- Isle of Wight - 110,000 people and 1 MP
- Western Isles- 22,000 people and 1 MP


Conservative Party "reduce and equalise" policy?

- Since 2003 Conservative policy has been:
- Reduce the number of MPs to 600
- Require constituencies to be equal in terms of the number of voters


Lib Dems action on the reduce and equalise policy?

- LD blocked it in 2005


How did David Cameron justify the reduce and equalise policy?

"Cut the cost of politics"
- Reduction of 65 MPs would save £15.5million
(Cameron, 2009)


How many people will be in each constituency?

- Between 72,810 and 80,473


What percentage of constituencies will see changes?

- 70% will see significant changes


How many MPs will there be?

- 600
(down from 650)


How will constituencies see changes?

- Large constituency disappearing into other constituencies- i.e. Ilford South
- New constitiency being created - i.e. Beverley


How many constituencies will be unrecognisable?

(Johnston, 2010)


What are the three ways to analyse the Conservatives' plans?

- Equality (number of politicians)
- Localism (Regional and community cohesion)
- Corruption (Partisan advantage)


Argument that there are too many MPs in Parliament?

- Very big compared to the rest of the democratic world- both in absolute and per capita terms
- Other countries do it will fewer MPs- we're wasting money


Argument that there aren't too many MPs?

- We may have more MPs but we have fewer local government representatives
- Is 50 maybe too many to get rid of
- Don't want to overwork MPs- quality work
- Oversimplified


What are the issues with the new constituencies? (x7)

- Crossings of major local authority borders
- Geographically large constituencies in rural areas
- Odd-shaped constituencies because of ‘edge effects’
- Some constituencies effectively ‘squeezed’ out of existence
- Occasional linking of wards to ‘make up the size
- Will constituencies have to keep changing to keep up with population changes- registration issues and less identification with the constituency- less likely to vote?
- Will there be knock on changes on Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly constituencies


What an example of a strange new constituency?

- Mersey Banks
- Two wards with Halton merged with two Cheshire wards
- Loss of community
- How is one MP supposed to represent such different areas


Argument that the plans will lead to advantage for the Conservatives?

- More Labour seats extremely impacted by the changes


Argument that the plans will not lead to advantage for the Conservatives?

- Current system is biased towards Labour- in 1997 Labour needed 32,300 for a seat while Conservatives needed 58,100, Labour do better in urban areas where constituencies tend to be smaller
- The new design was done by a non-partisan committee


Why do constituency sizes vary so much?

- Scotland and Wales guaranteed a minimum number of seats despite their smaller population and population growth than England
- Constituencies don't cross local authority boundaries unless completely unavoidable
- Geographical issues such as islands- don't want to break up communities
- Reviews only occur every 8-12 years and take a long time