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BBC gives me a shout-out

here. I appreciate being their own election guru.

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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
burkesworks
Jul. 10th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
Cool! Hey, could you give Mr Fitzpatrick's North of England counterpart a push in my direction?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 10th, 2010 08:20 pm (UTC)
boundaries
Nicholas,why should Dodds 'be concerned' as said by Jim Fitzpatrick on the BBC website? Any change to Belfasts parliamnetary map will only strenghen his majority.
A 3 seat Belfast will bring in large areas of Newtownabbey into North Belfast which will strenghten his majority.
And whilst a two seat Belfast will mean Dodds cannot win a 'North and West Belfast' seat you talk about, he will win whatever new seat crops up in Newtownabbey as a result. This will include areas like Rathcoole,Cloughfern ect where the DUP are strong which are in the current Norh Belfast seat. Therefore,the DUP will not lose two seats overall as said by you on the BBC website in either a two or three belfast seat model.
nwhyte
Jul. 10th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
A 3 seat Belfast will bring in large areas of Newtownabbey into North Belfast which will strenghten his majority.

Not true, I'm afraid. A three-seat Belfast will bring in large chunks of what is currently West Belfast into his seat, which will do anything but strengthen his majority. In the three-seat scenario, no more of Newtownabbey comes into North Befast - quite probably some of it gets taken out!

And whilst a two seat Belfast will mean Dodds cannot win a 'North and West Belfast' seat you talk about, he will win whatever new seat crops up in Newtownabbey as a result. This will include areas like Rathcoole,Cloughfern ect where the DUP are strong which are in the current Norh Belfast seat. Therefore,the DUP will not lose two seats overall as said by you on the BBC website in either a two or three belfast seat model.

Newtownabbey is currently split between three seats, South Antrim, East Antrim and North Belfast, all currently held by the DUP. Effectively, one of those three seats will be abolished. Since all three are held by the DUP, they lose one overall.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 10th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
Thanks for your reply Nicholas.I understand what you mean now...except for one thing.
You said 'A three-seat Belfast will bring in large chunks of what is currently West Belfast into his seat'.
But if this is true, what happens to the current West Belfast in a three seat model?
nwhyte
Jul. 11th, 2010 06:06 am (UTC)
Re: boundaries
If there are three seats in Belfast, North and East Belfast respectively absorb big chunks of West and South, and the bits left over become a new SouthWest Belfast. Because of the location of Belfast Lough, no other three-seat solution is possible.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
Sorry to disagree Nicholas but bringing in large chunks of West Belfast doesn't work due to the "knock on" effects for other constituencies.

If you keep North as present and just extend it south then you'll need to add the rest of the Court/Shankill district along with Falls, Clonard and Beechmount.

(South) West then can take in South Belfast as far as the river. But that still isn't enough, so to make up the numbers to at least the 76000 minimum it needs to either gain the rest of Derriaghy ward along with Seymour Hill and Lambeg or it needs to cross the river to take in Rosetta and Ballynafeigh.

In the former case East would need to take in all of Castlereagh except the 7 wards in Castlereagh East. In the latter case it could also exclude Braniel and Moneyreagh.

This though is where the ripple effects come in. To allow for those changes you have to have an Newtownards - Down district seat, which in turn has large knock on effects on Newry and Armagh, South Down, Upper Bann and Lagan Valley, the first three of which can be left alone in other circumstances.

Quite apart from the disruption in the south east of Northern Ireland that that would cause, unnecessarily extending North Belfast to take in the Lower Falls makes no sense and would be bitterly resisted by both Sinn Fein and the DUP at any local enquiry. Taking any of Newtownabbey out of North would be even worse as North would need to gain even more of West with consequent effects for other seats.

As I said on on another thread there's an alternative, a three seat Belfast could mean North Belfast expanding into Newtownabbey to take in all except the 5 Ballyclare wards and Jordanstown, Monkstown and Rostulla. Those Newtownabbey wards, plus Oldpark, Castle and Glencairn ward would make for a much safer DUP seat than at present. West losing Lagmore and Glencairn, while gaining Crumlin, Woodvale and Balmoral is unlikely to ruffle shinner feathers as much as losing the Lower Falls would. Finally the remainder of South and East could shed bits of Castlereagh which would allow Upper Bann, South Down and Newry Armagh to survive relatively unscathed. I firmly believe that those changes, part of an overall 15 seat scheme which I posted on the other thread would be more likely to survive public reviews.
nwhyte
Jul. 11th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
I confess I have not gone through the numbers as thoroughly as you seem to have done. But the fact is that the current four Belfast constituencies together only have enough electors for 3.12 seats out of fifteen for the whole of NI. A three-seat Belfast therefore cannot expand further into Newtownabbey - indeed, a three-seat Belfast would probably have to contract rather than expand, though the three surviving seats would of course each be bigger than any of the current four.

Feathers are going to get ruffled by this process - after all, at least three people will lose their jobs at the end of it, and most likely they will be from the two largest political parties - but there's only so much you can do within the numerical constraints. Anyway, I bet the Shinners would be perfectly happy if some of their absurdly high majority in West Belfast went to toppling Dodds in North Belfast.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
'A three-seat Belfast therefore cannot expand further into Newtownabbey'.
Why not?If east and south antrim combine (which seems likely)then it seems only logical that all the newtownabbey wards (except Ballyclare)in those two seats should be shedded and go into north belfast.I think Nicholas you will find that find that a north belfast seat including the entire Oldpark,castle,university,antrim line and macedon DEA's will be within the new constituency quota target.Of course, north belfast will lose the few court wards it currently has as a result of these changes to south west belfast.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 11th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
"A three-seat Belfast therefore cannot expand further into Newtownabbey"

Oh but it can. Indeed it's the only logical way to deal with the Belfast seats while keeping in mind the overall picture. I've drawn boundaries for all of NI based on 15 seats and a +/- 5% deviation, I've tried other options and they simply don't work outside Belfast.

A three seat Belfast can extend further into Newtownabbey and it does so by shedding Castlereagh wards and Lagmore. The exact boundaries for each of the three seats are

1) North with all of Newtownabbey except Ballyclare DEA, Jordanstown, Rostulla and Monkstown, Oldpark, Castle and Glencairn = 78,188 voters (1.8% below quota)

South West: Court (except Glencairn), Lower Falls, Upper Falls, Poleglass, Twinbrook, Dunmurry, Collinglen, Kilwee, Balmoral = 78,895 voters (0.9% below quota)

South East: Laganbank, Pottinger, Victoria, Castlereagh East, Cregagh, Downshire, Wynchurch, Lisnasharragh = 80,315 (0.9% above quota)

Those boundaries are logical enough on the ground. They are very close to the quota. They avoid splitting the Falls up, keep most DEAs together (though that's a minor consideration) and most crucially of all avoid major knock on effects to the constituencies of Newry Armagh, Upper Bann and South Down. The alternative to that, if you leave the Castlereagh wards in Belfast seats is that you have to have a Newtownards & Down district seat, which in turn dismembers South Down, Upper Bann and Newry & Armagh. Proposals along those lines were, as you know, rejected in 1995.

Of course as part of that solution something has to give and with all of Newtownabbey being split between North Belfast and East Antrim, you end up with an "Antrim and Lisburn" constituency. That's not exactly illogical though since it follows clear lines of communication.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 12th, 2010 01:53 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
'Of course as part of that solution something has to give and with all of Newtownabbey being split between North Belfast and East Antrim, you end up with an "Antrim and Lisburn" constituency.'
Does this mean that east antrim will gain the ballyclare DEA and that the remainder of South Antrim will join with Lagan Valley turning into the 'Antrim and Lisburn' seat you talk about?
If so,this sounds quite logical and reasonable.The 'Antrim and Lisburn' seat proposed by you sounds quite like Molyneux's old South Antrim seat.
Also,Ballyclare would fit in quite nicely to a larger East Antrim as the town is,in many ways,similar to and has strong links to other East Antrim towns like Larne,ect.Certainly,even with things like local accents(!),Larne would have more in common with Ballyclare than with,for example,somewhere like Carrick which is already in East Antrim.
(Anonymous)
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:50 pm (UTC)
Re: boundaries
Hmm.The Belfast 3 seat model you have proposed here makes you wonder why Dodds seems so concerned about boundary changes in the city.
From his perspective he should be delighted,because these changes you propose to Belfast,if they became reality, would certainly keep the North Belfast seat in his hands for a long,long time,and Gerry Kelly's hopes of being an MP may be quashed forever.
Furthermore the South West seat you envisage will abolish another nationalist seat (SDLP's South Belfast),and even from a SF perspective things are not all rosy as Adams will find himself with a much smaller majority due to absorbing SDLP voters and unionists in Balmoral.
And,we can be certain that a South East seat will have either an Alliance or DUP MP.
So,from a nationalsit perspective,such changes to belfasts parliamentary landscape would be disasterous.As of 2010,unionists were in danger of having no MP's in the city by 2015,but boundary changes you envisage would probably guarantee two out of three unionist(or at least two non nationalist) MP's in Belfast.
Cheer up Deputy Dodds!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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