May 10th, 2006


Northern Ireland Boundaries, part one

The new boundaries for the 18 Northern Ireland parliamentary constituencies are to be announced at the end of next week. That will be fun...

Meantime, I've finally got around to looking at the plan to merge the current 26 local councils in NI into a mere seven, since that too will provide some redistricting excitement. My good friend Conal Kelly sent me this map of the basic reform some time ago:

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Obviously there will be some adjustments to this map before the new councils come into being. I can fairly confidently forecast, for instance, that the Newcastle area (and maybe even Downpatrick?) will be moved from the South East to Southern districts, and in compensation the large but thinly populated part of Lisburn council that used to be in County Down pre-1973 will move from East to South East. Also since the new parliamentary boundaries to be published next week will further extend the Belfast parliamentary constituencies into the suburbs, it would seem sensible for Belfast City Council to do the same: prime candidates for absorption being Twinbrook/Poleglass, chunks of Castlereagh, and maybe also Glengormley.

So it is premature to do anything like merging the votes cast in the 2005 elections, and census results from 2001, and trying to work out what the new councils would look like if the people voting for them were to vote exactly the same way as in 2005. That hasn't stopped Conal Kelly from doing the first two, and me from doing the thrid step, as follows:

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As ever, for more information on election in Northern Ireland see my website.

Anyone in or near Belfast...

...I would like someone in or near Belfast to do a couple of hours' research for me in the Belfast Central Library or Linenhall Library (I expect that either will do). I just want copies of obituaries and any other pieces about a person who died in 1993. I will compensate you for your time and expenses (ie photocopying and postage). Shout if you are interested.

Coming travels

Apart from Germany next week, am now likely to be in the UK in three weeks' time: invited to a conference in Bath on the 31st, will do various meetings in London on the 1st (and, I hope, the Tun that evening) and then finishing up in Oxford on Friday afternoon.

Anyone likely to be around?