Sunday 5 February 2012

Sunday, February 05, 2012 Posted by Jake 12 comments Labels: , , , , , ,
Posted by Jake on Sunday, February 05, 2012 with 12 comments | Labels: , , , , , ,

Gerrymandering, the process of gaining electoral advantage by changing the demographics (the type of voters) in a constituency, is a tactic used by some of the best democracies - the worst resorting to the much simpler ballot-box stuffing technique. There are two obvious ways of manipulating the demographics:

The first is to move the boundaries of the constituency to exclude those you don't want and envelope those you do. 

This "re-districting" is a favorite tactic in the USA, with its meandering congressional districts exemplified by Congressional District 12 in North Carolina. In 2003 the "Texas Eleven", eleven state senators, went on the run to prevent the state senate having a quorum to pass a re-districting that would gnaw on their own electoral prospects.
File:North Carolina 12th Congressional District (National Atlas).gif

The other way, instead of moving electoral boundaries to include/exclude certain voters, is to move the voters. Westminster City Council tried this in the 1990's. According to Hansard, the leader at that time, Dame Shirley Porter, prepared a note for the then Prime Minister

“We in Westminster are trying to gentrify the City. We must protect our electoral position which is being seriously eroded by the number of homeless we are being forced to rehouse . . . I feel that the problem is so serious you should look at this yourself . . . I am afraid that unless something can be done, it will be very difficult for us to keep Westminster Conservative”

Which is one consequence - intended or unintended - of the £26,000 benefits cap rushing through parliament. This time not restricted to a single city council.

By including rents in this cap, the inevitable consequence is that families on benefits will have to move to cheaper areas. Within London, and within the nation:

This proposal brings potential benefit to both Labour and Conservative parties by concentrating their presumed supporters. 

Less clear how this helps the Lib-Dems though.


  1. Too upset to comment. Totally let down by the Government.

  2. What government? bunch of inadequate numbskulls
    They're tearing the heart out of the country


  3. My fear is that people won't be able to move to alternative areas anyway (not that they should) because local councils now have policies in place whereby you have to prove your longstanding local connection before they have an obligation to you.

    Then if people are absolutely forced to move they will lose so much, all their networks of support, schools, all sorts of things.

    It's total persecution of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Britain.

  4. Be like " The Hunger Games " soon

  5. 26k is quite a lot to sit around on your arse all day and also quite a lot more than many honest hardworking people earn in the private sector.

    1. Yes. Yes it is.

    2. No, actually it isn't. The poverty line is £16K.

      The problem is wages are too low, benefits are not generous at all.

  6. This government says they make work pay. BUT. It beggars belief when if a person moves from one part of the country to say London, they get a job, but it does not pay much, they have to rely on working tax credits and housing support to live where the job is. Then they make it harder for someone to get working tax credit and freeze housing support. that then mean the person can no longer afford to take the job. NOW. MP's get housing support. Only they call it allowance. An MP is a job like any other. So why are MP's allowed no limits on what they can claim, but 'hard working people' are restricted on the help they can get?

  7. I think most people will think an income net oftax £26,000 to be reasonable. I do feel for those looking for housing in London (benbenefits or not) but think that's a consequence of supply and demand not political manipulation as the piece suggests.

  8. This is why Scotland has to vote YES and get away from the mind games played by Westminster

  9. I think some people completely misunderstand benefits. First of all the governments takes back 20% on majority of purchases, secondly benefits are taxable and thirdly vast numbers on 'benefits' are working. The issue isn't too high benefits it's scammed workers being paid crap pay.

    Regarding London and the class cleansing policy of this government - they are a bunch if bigots who cheat and lie to get into power to pass laws that impoverish millions, killing a few in the process, whilst off-shoring their own ill gotten gains and planning their own protection from the next crash they themselves will cause. Oh yes and also removing rights to challenge them at the same time. They really are not nice people.
    Cora Blimey

  10. so which area will see higher land values based on this gerrymandering


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