Saying “different things”, South Antrim

Hair of the DogmaThere was a brief note on ConHome:

Boundary changes blow

“David Cameron’s slim hopes of pushing through boundary changes that would deliver the Tories 20 extra safe seats have been dealt a blow by the Ulster Unionists.” – The Times (£)

 Malcolm hadn’t seen this elsewhere, apart from below the fold on page 17. So he thinks The Times pay-wall should give way:

Unionists deal blow to Tory boundary plan

Roland Watson Political Editor

David Cameron’s slim hopes of pushing through boundary changes that would deliver the Tories 20 extra safe seats have been dealt a blow by the Ulster Unionists.

The Tories need support from across the minor parties if they are to see through the changes after Nick Clegg said he would no longer support them following the defeat last summer of his plans to reform the House of Lords.

But William McCrea, the DUP MP for South Antrim, said he would not back the changes, which would cut the number of MPs from 650 to 600, and in Northern Ireland from 18 to 16.

Mr McCrea also told The Times that the boundary review process should be halted quickly to prevent public money being wasted.

Government sources who have tried to canvass support from the DUP said that “different Unionists say different things”.

The Tories would need all of the eight DUP MPs and six SNP MPs to have the chance of overhauling the 312 combined tally of Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.

Mr Cameron had been pressed by the 1922 Committee to force boundary changes through before the election, thus boosting Tory hopes. But Labour and Liberal Democrat peers are expected to win a vote today that would delay any changes until 2018.

William-McCrea-291x275Dr McCrea may have the dogma, even if the hair has AWOLed over the years. Explaining the abstruse connection must await the end of this post.

The devil is in the numerical detail

Anyone with half a wit knew that, once Clegg had pulled the plug, the baby was out with the bath-water. Subsequently Paul Goodman came up on ConHome to regurgitate his calculations, which amount to 320 for the Tory gerrymander and 321 against. His punch-line acknowledges potentially-defaulting Nadines:

On the darker side, the biggest Commons obstacle to the new boundaries could be Conservative MPs themselves.  More gain than lose from the changes, but not all losers can be guaranteed to vote for their likely or certain removal from the next Parliament.

Doing the maths while minding mice at the crossroads? [See The Hair of the Dogma, page 171, and all is apparent.]

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3 Comments

Filed under Britain, ConHome, David Cameron, DUP, Elections, Flann O'Brian, Nick Clegg, Northern Ireland, Northern Irish politics, Times, Tories.

3 responses to “Saying “different things”, South Antrim

  1. Pingback: Still with the parliamentary accountancy | Malcolm Redfellow’s Home Service

  2. PaddyM

    The proposed changes take three current DUP seats (East L’Derry, represented by the charming Gregory Campbell, North Antrim, represented by Baby Doc, and South Antrim, represented by Boxcar Willie above) and compress them into two. (Strictly speaking East L’derry becomes the new Glenshane, but it also becomes safely nationalist, forcing Gregory to follow Coleraine itself into the new Coleraine/North Antrim if he wants to continue his parliamentary career.) The Paisley bailiwick of Ballymena then moves into the new “South” Antrim, creating an unwinnable selection battle for Boxcar. Hence the opposition.

    For similar reasons (the dismemberment of the party leader’s seat of South Belfast), the SDLP will oppose this tooth and nail.

  3. Malcolm Redfellow

    Nice neat overview, PaddyM. Much thanks for your input.

    Even more so since I can now draw a neat logical line between flying B29s over Korea (Lecil Travis Martin’s day-job in the early days) and the homeopathic homophobe of Magherafelt. Sadly, the latter is unlikely to be “inducted” into the Grand Ol’ Opry.

    Do you think, if I asked nicely, Marietta Bible College would send me a doctorate? Or would I have to submit “a Doctornial Thesis” [sic]? I am very touched that this venerable institution (refused recognition by the State of Ohio) will “train persons for Christian service” including “bus workers” and offer a “course elective” for “School Camping”. My mind boggles.

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