31 January 2008

For once, I am actually looking forward to Valentine's Day

No, my expectations of romantic success haven't shot up, but the 14th is when the Boundary Commission for Scotland publishes its provisional proposals for the First Periodical Review of Scottish Parliament Boundaries. ASwaS has already picked up on this, and I'm now getting excited to the point where I'm toying with the idea of taking the 14th off work, using the extra flexitime hours I've accrued by getting a lift with someone who gets there at 7:30, so I can go through it.

Anyway, the principles guiding the review are as follows:

1. The new boundaries have to pay attention to Council area boundaries.

2. However, as far as possible, the constituencies have to have more or less equal electorates, so some Councils have to be grouped together.

3. In some cases, though, practicality and common sense may mitigate against these rules actually working in practice, so the Commission can throw them out the window when necessary (the Highlands and Islands).

4. Orkney and Shetland have their own rules: they're guaranteed one seat each.

5. The Western Isles are not, but common sense and the actual practicality (or lack of it) of a seat that covered the Western Isles and a large tract of the Highlands might just save the seat.

6. For the first time, and as a result of the new larger STV wards, Council wards are no longer necessarily the building blocks for Constituencies. While I imagine that the Commission will use them as a template to a large degree, don't be too surprised if you see wards split into two for review purposes.

So what do we know about the review? We know that Glasgow will lose one of its nine seats (by the way, anyone who tells you that Glasgow has ten seats is in error... despite the name, "Glasgow Rutherglen" is almost entirely in South Lanarkshire, so there!). However, for every loss, there's a gain: ASwaS has been looking at where it might be, and I rather fancy the idea of a seat straddling Aberdeenshire and Angus. That will make a mouthwatering prospect for the SNP.

And then there are the Regions, but we won't know about them until the Constituencies are settled.

I'm a total geek. I freely admit that. And right now, I can barely contain myself.

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