LABOUR Representatives in the Stroud district including former Stroud District Council leader Geoff Wheeler and county councillor Steve Lydon (Dursley) have come up with a way of altering the Boundary Commission’s proposals for Gloucester and Stroud, and thereby keeping Quedgeley in the Gloucester constituency and Dursley and Nailsworth in the Stroud one.
This involves “giving” Quedgeley back to Gloucester, and allocating the overwhelmingly Conservative voters of Painswick and Bisley to the Cotswolds constituency, where their votes are plainly not needed as the Cotswolds already has one of the largest Conservative majorities in the country.
Labour would then incorporate the historically large Labour vote in Nailsworth and Dursley back into Stroud from the Cotswolds and Thornbury constituencies respectively, in order, of course, to increase Labour’s chances of winning back the Stroud seat at the next general election.
Not surprisingly Stroud Conservative MP Neil Carmichael is against this proposal!
Both the Labour and Conservative parties must think that the rest of us are thick and cannot see behind the real reasons for their schemes. This is nothing other than a brazen attempt by both of them to gerrymander constituency boundaries to their own electoral advantage, dressed up with whatever spurious and seemingly well meaning argument they can conjecture.
The same thing happens with proportional representation, where the Labour/Conservative duopoly is once again the only voice in the political firmament in favour of retaining the first past the post system. Why? Because it benefits their longstanding duopoly, not the electorate.
Of course Quedgeley – together with Longlevens and Hardwicke – should be in the Gloucester constituency, and Dursley and Nailsworth should be in the Stroud one. This could easily be achieved by halving the number of MPs and doubling the size of constituencies. But somehow I don’t think that Richard Graham, the Conservative MP for Gloucester and his Stroud colleague Neil Carmichael will be voting for that!